Metro and others respond to frigid weather; Emergency Snow Network activated
King County Metro shifted bus service to snow routes Sunday, Dec. 26, due to widespread snow accumulations, challenging road conditions and available regional workforce levels. The National Weather Service predicts ongoing freezing temperatures through the week and the possibility of additional snow accumulation.
The Emergency Snow Network (ESN) will be effective at 4 a.m. Monday, Dec. 27, until further notice. Metro will reassess daily whether snow clearing efforts have adequately improved road conditions and determine if there is sufficient staffing and buses to restore service and operate the broader all-day transit network.
Customers will be able to board service on about 60 core bus routes and shuttles primarily serving key arterials and transit centers. The network prioritizes service based on equity and high-ridership demand and to serve areas that avoid steep hills. The routes were developed in coordination and collaboration with jurisdictions and take advantage of designated snow plow plans, including the City of Seattle.
“Shifting to the emergency snow network positions Metro to equitably and safely serve customers on a core system for those who need transit most,” said King County Metro General Manager Terry White. “Road conditions continue to be a challenge across the system, and our staff are working around the clock to retrieve and chain buses. With several days of freezing temperatures in the forecast, transit customers should prepare for reduced service levels until road conditions improve.”
Metro will be monitoring performance of this network and making adjustments as needed to improve operations. Customers in outlying areas and neighborhoods should prepare for reduced or temporarily unavailable bus service on Monday and for several days due to inclement weather, difficult travel conditions and topography.
Emergency Snow Network – Bus routes operating (starting Monday, Dec. 27 and until further notice)
RapidRide A, B, C, D, E and F lines, routes 3, 4*, 5, 7, 10, 21, 24, 31, 32, 36, 40, 44, 45, 48, 60, 62, 65, 67, 70, 75, 101, 102, 105, 106, 120, 124, 128, 131, 132, 148, 150, 160, 161, 165, 168, 181, 184, 230, 231, 239, 245, 250, 255, 271*, 331, 345, 348, 372, Sound Transit Express routes 522, 545, 550, 554, DART 773, 775, 903, 906, 907 and 930. Shuttles: routes 24, 90, 106, 255, 348, 554 and RapidRide C Line.
* Route 4 between Queen Anne/Seattle Center and Downtown Seattle; Route 271 between Eastgate and UW only
ESN – Access paratransit
Access Services is currently providing only life-saving and emergency trips depending on conditions and availability. On Monday, Dec. 27, Access also will move to the ESN to mirror fixed route services. Access’ main objective under the ESN will be to provide life sustaining medical transportation. During this time, customers who are not certified to use Access that need to connect to life sustaining medical services can call 206-205-5000 to request services between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Access will also be working closely with fixed route services to help support customers who are stranded due to breakdowns or weather conditions.
ESN – Water Taxi
Water taxi service to West Seattle is currently suspended on Sunday, Dec. 26, due to high winds. With calmer winds in the forecast, regular service is expected to resume Monday. The West Seattle water taxi shuttles are expected to operate if the Water Taxi is operating and if staff and road conditions allow. Customers can receive service updates by subscribing to alerts.
ESN - On-demand services
Via to Transit in south Seattle and south King County, and Ride Pingo to Transit in Kent are temporarily not operating due to roadway conditions.
What Riders Should Know
- During this period of adverse weather, we encourage people to avoid traveling if at all possible.
- Riders who intend to use Metro’s services Monday, Dec. 27, should visit the Emergency Snow Network webpage to view details about routes in operation and to identify their options.
- Posted timetables on Metro’s Schedules and Maps page are a good point of reference for the 60 ESN routes that are operating, but unforeseen roadway and weather conditions may result in delays or unplanned reroutes.
- Customers should be aware that Puget Sound Trip Planner and third-party apps will not reflect ESN service and will not be accurate for planning itineraries on ESN days. However, once intending riders know which ESN route they want to use, other Puget Sound Trip Planner features, such as maps, bus stop locations and timetables for ESN routes are valid. Puget Sound Trip Planner and other apps are still accurate for planning trips or getting schedules for regular service days.
- Masks are required on all public transportation.
Metro has tools to help riders plan winter trips.
- Visit MetroWinter.com for information on how to travel during snow and other difficult weather. If snow routes are implemented, riders can click on the regional map to access status updates on their routes.
- Transit Alerts: Riders should sign up or update route subscriptions to receive Transit Alerts via text and email for their bus routes. Routes can change quickly depending on snow accumulations.
- Real-time updates show whether a bus trip is operating, when it’s due to depart or if it’s been canceled.
- Text for Departures allows riders to text their bus stop number to 62550 and receive the next bus trips headed their way or a cancellation notice. Riders can save 62550 in their phones in advance. During a storm and rough road conditions, Metro’s real-time departure information can become less accurate.
- “Next departures” is available on both the Puget Sound Trip Planner webpage and the Puget Sound Trip Planner App. Riders can check these sites to see whether their trip is reporting its position and estimated arrival time.
- Masks are still required on public transportation, with the added benefit that they also keep your face warm in winter weather.
- Follow @kcmetrobus on Twitter to see the latest travel tips and service information.
Travel advice during winter weather
- Whenever there’s a chance of snow, we ask riders to bundle up, pack their patience, and have a plan for traveling during adverse weather. This is important because sometimes routes get changed or modified as we respond to conditions.
- If a rider’s usual bus route moves to a snow route, it may not serve stops on hills and generally will serve stops at main arterials, transit centers and shopping centers.
- We also urge riders to monitor news media during severe weather for announcements or information from counties, cities and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
- Be prepared with weather-appropriate clothing and footwear when traveling during storms. Remember, visibility is vital when the weather’s bad and when it’s dark. Riders can use a flashlight or a phone to signal buses while waiting at a bus stop. They might also consider carrying water and snacks. And as always, we ask riders to use crosswalks.
Metro customer service call center, offices
- Pass-sales office: Depending on road conditions and staffing availability, customers should prepare for the possibility that the service counter opens later than 8 a.m.
- Lost & Found: Customers can call Metro Customer Service at 206-553-3000 between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday for Lost & Found inquiries.
- Call us or contact us online:
- Call us at 206-553-3000, Monday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. for trip planning and lost & found inquiries and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for ORCA information and customer comments. You can also use our online comment form.
CIty of Seattle is responding to weather conditions too
With snowfall accumulation between 3” and 6” in parts of Seattle, some city services have been impacted. The National Weather Service expects some continued snow accumulation, and the City will face extremely cold temperatures until at least Wednesday. The extreme cold temperatures will present a risk of icy conditions.
With significant snow fall accumulation, the City is urging residents and businesses:
- Avoid and postpone road travel whenever possible.
- Salt and shove sidewalks adjacent to their property to ensure they remain safe and accessible. Not only is it the law; it is the right thing to do.
On Friday, December 24, Mayor Durkan signed an emergency order to help increase the number of frontline workers during the surge of Omicron. Under this winter weather emergency, Mayor Durkan’s emergency order provides incentives of at least $150 for frontline workers and human service providers who will be working in person and staffing emergency shelters and warming centers during the holidays and surge of Omicron.
Working with providers and city staff, the City of Seattle announced four additional shelters that will open overnight today and tomorrow and additional capacity at regional shelters like Shoreline.
The following are updates from City departments and partners:
*UPDATED * Seattle Department of Transportation: Starting Saturday, crews began patrolling and pretreating roads, overpasses, and bridges ahead of Sunday morning’s snowfall. Currently, SDOT has over 35 storm response vehicles operating on 1,200 miles of snow routes and will continue 24/7 operations as needed. Top priorities are protecting public safety and clearing critical routes to hospitals and emergency centers, while making sure people have reliable access to transit. The online Storm Response Map shares real-time information on which roads have been recently plowed. The technology transferring information is not functioning on a few snow response vehicles at this time and will not be repaired until the storm has passed, so more routes are being treated than shown.
Don’t drive if you don’t have to during the snowstorm and after due to likely icy conditions. Monday, December 27, will be treated as a holiday for on-street parking to discourage unnecessary driving during the storm response. It will be a free parking day, and time limits will not enforced unless specifically stated.
SDOT urges community members:
- Clear sidewalks next to your property and lend a helping hand to your neighbors who may not be able.
- If you must drive, please slow down and be careful. Watch out for others and leave plenty of room from snowplows and other vehicles.
- Make sure your car is safe for winter driving and pay attention to road closure signs.
- Be cautious, low temperatures mean icy streets and sidewalks.
- Sled in our parks, not in the street.
- Visit the SDOT Winter Weather webpage or read this blog post for more ideas. Visit MetroWinter.com for King County Metro transit updates.
Day Centers and Warming Centers: The City of Seattle has designated a series of facilities as warming centers across the City.
- Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes (Operated by Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle): 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104. Opened Sunday, December 26 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm as needed through January 2, 2022. 5thAvenue Entry and meals provided by Operation Sack Lunch.
- Seattle Center Armory, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109, Campus Map (seattlecenter.com), Opens daily at 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, 206-684-7200
- Compass Housing Alliance Day Center (adjacent to night shelter, open as staffing capacity allows), 77 S Washington St, Seattle, WA 98104, Monday to Friday 9;00 am to 4:00 pm, 206-474-1000
Opening Monday, December 27:
- International District/Chinatown Community Center: 719 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104. Hours vary daily. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 11:00 am- 9:00 pm; Tuesday and Thursday: 10am-7pm; Saturday: 10:00 am-7:00pm (5:00 p.m. in normal closing);
- Magnuson Park Building #406: 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Printable Park Map. Monday and Tuesday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm; Saturday 10am-7pm (normally closed).
- Northgate Community Center: 10510 5th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125. Open M-F: 9:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am-7:00 pm (normally closed) 206-386-4823.
- Rainier Beach Community Center: 8825 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118. Hours vary daily Monday-Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 7:00 pm (normally 6:30 p.m.), Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 pm, 206-386-1925
Additional day centers, which are existing programs that are open year-round to support people experiencing homelessness, including during severe weather response, are on the King County Homelessness Authority guide and City’s Hygiene Map which can be filtered to show locations across the city. Anyone in need of day or evening shelter, including youth and families, can call 2-1-1 for intake and referral help.
*UPDATED* Shelter and Outreach: The City of Seattle, along with providers, will now open six Severe Weather Shelters to serve community members nightly who are experiencing homelessness.
- Winter 2021 severe weather night shelters and day warming locations list
- Visit the City’s shelter and warming centers map
Shelters are accessible via Metro, and the City of Seattle and King County Regional Homelessness Authority have partnered on rideshare transportation options. The HOPE Team in addition to first responders (including SPD and SFD) are also transporting individuals to sites.
The City of Seattle continues to work with providers and the King County Regional Homelessness Authority to evaluate if additional spaces can be staffed:
- NEW: West Seattle (Operated by American Legion Post 160 and faith-based network volunteers): 16-beds, adults 18+, now open 24/7, 3618 Southwest Alaska Street, Seattle, WA 98126, 206-932-9696
- NEW: Seattle City Hall (Operated by Urban League): 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104. Open Monday, December 27 at 7:00 pm as 24/7 shelter, meals provided by OSL.
- NEW: God's Lil Acre (Operated by Lake City Partners): 12517 33rd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125. Opens tomorrow 12/27 as a day center at 9AM then opening as overnight shelter at 9:00 pm – 7:00 am.
- NEW: Seattle Mennonite Church (Operated by Lake City Partners). 3120 NE 125th St, Seattle, WA 98125, 206-361-4630. Open tonight December 26, 9:00 pm – 7:00 am.
- Seattle Center Exhibition Hall (Operated by Salvation Army): 301 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA 98109. Enter though main entrance off Mercer Street and go down the stairs. Serves 100+ people, all genders, 18+ years, non-aggressive leashed dogs and cats under owner control allowed. On Saturday, December 25, this shelter served 59 individuals
- The Armory opens daily at 10am for day warming.
- Served directly by Metro Bus routes 3, 4, 5, 8, 16, 28, RapidRide E Line, and nearby routes include: 1, 13, and RapidRide D Line.
- Compass Housing Alliance Shelter in Pioneer Square: 210 Alaskan Way South, Seattle, WA 98104. Enter at the corner of So. Washington and Alaskan Way. Serves 80+ people, all genders, 18+ years, service animals only at this location. On Saturday, December 25, this shelter served 28 individuals. Day Center also available at this location.
- Served by nearby public transit services (1-3 blocks away): Seattle Streetcar, Link Light Rail, routes 21, 29, 55, 56, 57, 101, 102, 111, 113, 114, 120, 121, 115, 150, 162, 177, 190, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, 550, 554, RapidRide C, ST 590, ST 592, ST 594, ST 595, ST 577, ST 578, PT 410, PT, 415, PT 417, PT 422, PT 424, and Washington State Ferries.
- King County Regional Homelessness Authority has worked with cities across the county to open additional emergency shelter. This includes St. Dunstan’s Church serving as Shoreline Emergency Shelter (722 N 145th St, Shoreline, off Aurora), for single adults and couples, 8:30pm – 7:30am.
The City’s HOPE Team, working in coordination with a broad network of outreach partners over the coming days, will conduct outreach to community members about shelter options. Outreach coordination includes helping people connect with transportation shelter locations, which accept people throughout the night until they reach capacity. City staff are working with the YWCA and Mary’s Place to coordinate sheltering of families with children, and youth shelters have existing capacity for guests. Additionally, case management services for high-risk Aging and Disability Services clients are ongoing.
·People, including youth, in need of shelter should call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-9274
·Parents or guardians caring for one or more child 18 years or younger can get emergency shelter help by calling the King County Coordinated Family Intake Line at 206-245-1026, 8am – 11:30pm, 365-days a year.
·The YWCA’s women and family shelter intake line can be reached at 206-461-4882.
Throughout the year, the City and HSD has been working hard to stand up new 24/7 enhanced shelters and tiny house villages over the fall and winter, opening 350 new non-congregate shelter spaces in the last three months alone. The City anticipates funding over 2,800 total shelter spaces by the end of the year, a 700 shelter unit increase over last year’s levels (Q4 2020) and more than 1,000 increase over 2017 levels. Additionally, 92% of City-funded shelter spaces are now 24/7 enhanced with wraparound onsite services – this compares to 75% pre-pandemic (Q4 2019).
Seattle Center: Seattle Center Armory will maintain regular hours today, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., and serve as a warming center throughout the day. Winterfest performances have been cancelled. Seattle Center Monorail is out of service today because of weather conditions.
*UPDATED* Seattle City Light: Seattle City Light crews responded to an outage in the Haller Lake/Bitter Lake neighborhood this morning at 8:30am affecting 2,943 customers. Power was restored to all customers by 11:15am. The cause was a tree branch in the wires.
Seattle City Light is prepared with necessary equipment, supplies, chains for trucks, etc., to respond to any outage. Should there be widespread outages, SCL has crews on standby ready to respond and work 24/7 until every single customer is back on. Tips for staying safe in case of an outage:
- Be prepared for potential power outages with blankets, flashlights and batteries. And don’t forget to charge your devices so you can call if you need assistance, can keep an eye on the status with our online outage map (www.seattle.gov/city-light/outages), and follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
- If you see a downed power line, stay at least 30 feet away and call 9-1-1.
- Avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by never bringing generators, camp stoves or barbeques indoors.
Seattle Preschool Program (SPP): Parents are encouraged to follow their preschool provider’s inclement weather policy. Preschool sites operated by Seattle Public Schools (SPS), including full-day programs, SPP, and Head Start should refer to SPS's adverse weather guidance posted on their website.
Finance and Administrative Services: Facilities, fleets and logistics teams in the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) are actively engaged and supporting deicing operations at various facilities across the City. FAS teams have emergency generators on standby and ready to access should power disruptions occur. Fleet Management crews are operating 24/7 in support of SDOT’s efforts. Additionally, FAS’ Customer Service Centers remain open per their regular schedules at this time and will close only if conditions require.
*UPDATED* Seattle Public Utilities: SPU transfer stations are closed today due to unsafe road conditions.
As a reminder, SPU urges:
- Protect indoor sink pipes that are against exterior walls by opening under-sink cabinet doors to allow indoor heat to circulate.
- Allow one indoor faucet to slowly drip cold water. Select the faucet that is the farthest from your front door.
- Protect water pipes from freezing in exposed or unheated areas (attics, basements and garages) by wrapping them with tape and insulating materials.
- Drain and remove all outdoor hoses and cover faucets for hose bibs.
- Know where your shutoffs are located. If an emergency occurs, you’ll need to know how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.
If you suspect your pipes are frozen, follow these steps:
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using towels soaked in hot water wrapped around the pipe, an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, or an electric hair dryer. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device. Do not use electrical devices if there is standing water.
- If a water pipe breaks, immediately close the main shut-off valve to stop flooding. The shut-off valve can be indoors or outdoors, usually in a basement, crawlspace or garage.
- If you cannot turn off the main shut-off valve, SPU customers can call (206) 386-1800 and a crew will turn off the water at the meter for a service charge.
*UPDATED* Seattle Parks and Recreation: All parks are open. Community centers are closed on Sundays, as are most pools. Ballard Pool will be open today from 10am-3pm, and Madison Pool is closed. Crews are on standby to address tree failures, and support city efforts to clear sidewalks. Please check online for details about specific sites and programs. Golf course are open for pedestrian use; there is currently not enough snow (less than 6”) to sled without damaging turf. In the event of snow, stay out of heavily wooded areas as trees are more prone to failure when soil is very wet and branches are weighed down with snow.
*UPDATED* The Seattle Public Library: Seattle Public Library branches will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Due to staffing shortages and snow, all SPL are closed on Sunday, December 26. Beginning on Monday, December 27, libraries plan operate on regular service hours over the next week, dependent on weather impacts. Please go to https://www.spl.org/hours-and-locations for additional information on closures.
Seattle Fire Department: The Seattle Fire Department has the following updates:
- Remember to heat your home safely by keeping flammable items at least one foot from baseboard heaters, and three feet from portable heaters and fireplaces. Generators should never be used indoors. More tips on Fireline.
- Sidewalks may look clear but could be icy when the cold weather hits. Make sure to wear shoes with good tread, reflective gear at night, and keep hands free from pockets in case you need to break a fall.
- SFD's Health One Unit may be utilized to help transport unsheltered individuals to severe weather shelters beginning on Dec. 27, depending on department staffing levels. SFD’s Mobile Integrated Health Program Manager is working closely with other entities in the City for other transport options for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Due to Winter Weather, No Residential Collection on December 27
Due to winter weather conditions, there will be no residential garbage, recycling, or food/yard waste pickup in Seattle on Monday, December 27.
Monday customers will be collected Tuesday, if conditions allow, and services the remainder of the week will be postponed by one day, if conditions allow.
SPU Transfer Stations will be open for limited hours, 10am to 4pm, on Monday, December 27.
If your materials are not picked up by the end of the following day, please put them out on your next regularly scheduled pickup day. Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling, and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day. For service updates, please check back here or follow SPU on Twitter.
In the event of snow and/or ice, City emergency planners urge residents to prepare their homes for cold weather, build emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles, and not to drive unnecessarily. Additionally, for up-to-date information pertaining to impacts in the City of Seattle, please sign up for alerts at Alert.Seattle.gov.
South Seattle College will be closed on Monday
South Seattle College and its co-locations are closed Monday, Dec. 27, due to inclement weather. Limited student services available remotely.