Snow forecasted for this afternoon

January 11, 2011

By Staff

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NEW — 10:30 a.m. Jan. 11, 2011

Snow is forecast to start falling after 4 p.m. today — just in time for the afternoon commute.

National Weather Service forecasters said the Newcastle area could receive 1 to 3 inches of snow tonight. The chance of precipitation is 90 percent.

Residents should also brace for strong winds, including gusts up to 29 mph.

The weather service has issued a winter weather advisory for the area from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Meteorologists said the temperature and the snow level should rise Wednesday. Expect rainy conditions for the rest of the day and Wednesday night.

Issaquah School District schools operate on a modified schedule Tuesday to prepare for the storm.

King County Road Services Division planners track road conditions for roads in rural and unincorporated areas during inclement conditions.

The prospect of a snowstorm during the afternoon commute has prompted the state Department of Transportation to plan for potential problems.

The agency is prepared to applying anti-icing material on dry roads and salt on wet roads throughout the afternoon and evening across the Puget Sound region. The effort involves Incident Response teams, including mini-sanders.

King County Metro Transit has warned bus riders to prepare for potential problems during the afternoon commute. The snowstorm could cause afternoon and evening trips to be disrupted, delayed, reduced or operate on snow routing.

Planners urged riders to check the winter weather website before traveling. Updates start at 4 a.m. each day.

The agency also encouraged residents to sign up for Transit Alerts to receive up-to-date information about snow operations.

If buses operate on snow routes, some streets and bus stops may be missed — and delays might occur — due to travel conditions. Metro Transit has updated snow routes from past years, so riders should check the updated routes.

The agency displays the service status of each area on a color-coded snow map:

– Green indicates buses operating on normal routes.

– Yellow indicates some, but not all, routes in the area operating on snow routes.

– Red indicates all bus routes in a designated area operating on snow routes.

Buses do not always run on schedule in snowy or icy conditions. Plus, increased ridership during inclement weather can result in crowded buses and a longer-than-usual wait on the phone for the Customer Information Office.

Riders should dress warmly for the walk to the bus stop, expect delays and wear weather-appropriate footwear.

The agency also recommends for riders to head for bus stops on main arterials or at major transfer points, such as park-and-ride lots, transit facilities or shopping centers, and to wait at the top or bottom of hills, because buses cannot stop for passengers on inclines.

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