What happens when it snows in Seattle? “Snowmageddon”!


By Diane McGovern

So, just how much snow does it take to bring the city of Seattle to its knees (if it had such things)? Not much. Seattle has lots of steep hills, but we normally don’t get much snow in the Puget Sound area. If we do get any measurable snow it’s usually gone in a day or two. That’s why the city only has 39 snowplows. (And why I haven’t given up my front-end-heavy but rear-wheel-drive ’97 T-bird [“suicide machine”] – but probably will soon if this keeps up.)

Tip: Don’t drive your RV in downtown Seattle if it’s snowing.

Second tip: Don’t schedule the Seattle RV Show during a series of snowstorms and record cold temperatures. Oops – too late! Better luck next year – really.

Skaters on Green Lake, 1916; Photo property of Seattle Public Library (click to enlarge)

As a resident of the Seattle area for 72 years, I remember tunneling through the snow with my sister in the winter of 1950. And our mom liked to recount how, when she was growing up, she loved to ice skate on 259-acre Green Lake, just north of downtown Seattle and a couple of blocks from where she lived. (It hasn’t frozen that solidly for many decades.)

A week ago some local areas got up to 8-10” of snow, and then this past Friday we got several more inches on top of it. As I look out the window (Sunday), it’s snowing again, heavily, with more expected through tomorrow with temps in the teens and single digits, then off and on snow and cold for the rest of the week. (We’re currently under a Winter Weather Advisory, on Feb. 10.)

Daniel Silvermint, a transplant to Seattle from Minnesota, posted his impressions of Seattleites preparing for “Snowmageddon” on Twitter recently. Here are some of his hilarious observations:

• “I’ve never witnessed anything quite like Seattle grocery stores when locals are preparing to brave 4-5 inches of snow. Like, people are stocking up on emergency tomatoes and leaving water jugs on the shelves.”
• “And antique stationery sets in case email servers go down.”
• “Oh no. They’ve started looting. People running out of stores with armfuls of Yerba Mate tea.”
• “Wild packs of Goldendoodles are roaming the streets.”
• “PCC (a local food cooperative) is still fully stocked. Too expensive even for the looters.”
• “People are burning first drafts of their novels for warmth.”
• “Society is breaking down. Rival Pokémon Go teams are establishing enclaves and fighting over territory.”
• “People are bartering monogrammed yoga mats for just a single slice of cauliflower pizza.”

Photo: KOMO (click to enlarge)

• “It’s like Mad Max but with Amazon Prime vans.”
• “I awoke to the sight of Dickensian orphans picking through my compost. I don’t even know where they found those flat caps. The snow is still 10 hours away.”
• “Paper money is worthless. Cans of hard cider brewed from obscure fruits you’ve never heard of are the new currency of the land.”
• “Venturing back out to stores to survey the desolation. Gloves are still in stock. I don’t think #Seattle knows about those yet.”
• “Gluten-free breadlines.”
• “People have been lined up outside the Trader Joe’s for hours, waiting for them to open. I think they have the new Harry Potter?”
• “The snow has started falling eight hours ahead of schedule. People are resorting to the politest cannibalism I’ve ever seen.”
• “People are running low on food, but are still well-stocked in edibles.”
• “They just ate Howard Schultz.”

• “Everything is closed. Everywhere is abandoned. Writing groups are still meeting, though. You can’t keep submitting the same chapter, Doug!”
• “People enduring literal Seattle Freeze.”
• “No one living on a hill will ever be heard from again. Years from now, puzzled archeologists will explore the ruins.”
• “People are gathering basic supplies. Growlers are full, and they’re tying hoodies together to make rope.”
• “Snow flurries have started in earnest. First time I’ve seen someone using an umbrella in Seattle.”
• “People are crocheting beanies as fast as they can.”

Photo: KOMO (click to enlarge)

• “My district has announced that schools will reopen never. Please educate your children however you see fit.”
• “People are singing to keep their courage up. But no one can agree on a song.”
• “The inspiring thing about Seattle residents is how they pull together in a crisis. Why, just now I witnessed a young man letting several others huddle inside his beard for warmth.”
• “You’re all making me feel very welcome here. I love Seattle. It’s a shame we’ll all be dead by morning.”
• “Or possibly later today.”
• “I have never seen trees look this confused.”
• “Night has fallen, and the roads are blocked by an inch of snow. Indie board games are helping us forget our hunger, but they’ll run out soon.”
• “(Siri, can you eat lip balm?)”
• “Significantly less snowfall than expected so far. Rioters are milling about, looking embarrassed. Lots of people pretending to read their phones.”
• “Never mind, the riot is back on. People here *commit*.”
• “I just saw a toddler putting chains on his tricycle.”

• “I was about to eat someone, but I had to let him go when he told me he wasn’t grass-fed. Not to be a snob, but come on – we’re not there yet.”
• “A snowplow just went by, but honestly I think they were just skipping town. They’ll be the only survivor when this is done.”
• “Presently, everyone in Seattle is (1) dying and (2) hoping it’ll eventually snow the predicted amount because we were expecting to have Monday off.”

Photo: KIRO7.com

• “Just saw a woman knitting with icicles. She will be among the survivors.”
• “I was afraid to go outside today. For all I know, there could be polar bears hiding under all those inches of snow. Tiny polar bears. That, like, *really* hate being stepped on. I don’t know how any of this works.”
• “I was fine when ski bandits cleaned out University Village (local shopping mall). I chuckled with the rest when that army of Dungeness crabs rose from Puget Sound and began their reign of terror. But now I’m starting to worry that snowdrifts will claim my herb garden. This just stopped being funny.”
• “Reports that confused residents are sprinkling pink Himalayan salt on their front steps are categorically untrue. Most households only have a few pounds in reserve, and we’re trying to ration.”
• “I just met a bundled traveler from a distant land. Perhaps some kind of merchant? I asked where he was from. ‘Next door,’ he said. A fascinating people.”

Thanks for the laughs, Daniel!

Source: KOMO.com


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Robert Snideman
2 years ago

My daughter and her husband live down in Olympia. Yes, they got the same snow. But, they both grew up in Michigan, so they know how to drive in the white crap, and they have a 4 wheel drive Jeep. They have become the neighborhood saviors, being the only way to get to the store, pick up kids, just getting around town.

Patricia Seaton
2 years ago

This is a very funny column. I had joked to a family member who lives in Seattle that they would have to fly in workers from the Midwest who know how to deal with this sort of thing. But that was before our own Snowmageddon in the Redding, CA area.

Billy Bob Thorton
2 years ago

So much for the global warming crowd to digest. Hopefully the cycle has changed, and this will be a more common event. Snow pack in the mountains, filled reservoirs in the West. All good on the western front, even the high Sierra. Who woulda thunk.

2 years ago

I live in Western PA. It’s the same here. You’d swear people never saw snow before. A few inches and everything shuts down.
I can remember when schools only closed because you couldn’t find the door.
People that do drive in the snow can’t see where they are going because of the glare from their WHITE KNUCKLES gripping the steering wheel.
The local Walmart has a waiting list for parking spaces. People are running out of bread, milk and toilet paper!
I lived in Cleveland for seven years and remember waking up to over 20 inches one morning. Cleaned off my truck, (2 wheel drive) , and went to work.
Now, since I’m retired, I just fire up the snowblower and clear the sidewalks in our neighborhood.

2 years ago

16 1/2 inches of snow in Maple Valley this morning measured on top of the table on our deck. Born and raised here, never remember this much snow before. Glad to be retired. Beautiful to look at.

2 years ago

It’s about the same story when it snows in metro Atlanta . . . People just freak out. Best snow I remember was 3-13-93 when we got about a foot of it. Fortunately, I had 4WD back then and it was a weekend. Oh, and they called it “Snowmageddon,” too.

Morgan Borrowman
2 years ago

If you sneak across the border to BC you might be able to buy a touque….much warmer than a beanie.

Tommy Molnar
2 years ago

Can you just imagine what this would be like San Francisco!

2 years ago

Being sent to our Washington State relatives. Lol.

Chuck Woodbury
2 years ago

Geez, Diane. This is hilarious!