EVERETT — The cold isn’t going away anytime soon.
Snohomish County residents can expect to see snow on the ground until New Year’s Day. Lows were in the teens Monday morning. A pattern is expected to repeat for much of the week: lows from 15 to 25, highs in the mid-20s to mid-30s.
“It’s not just a one-day thing,” said meteorologist Carly Kovacik with the National Weather Service in Seattle. “It’ll be persistent for a while now.”
Which spells trouble for those living on the streets.
At the South County cold weather shelter, all 20 beds were taken Sunday night, said Lisa Utter, the chair of the board running the shelter. The location has received calls in the middle of the night from people in their cars who decided it was too cold and that they needed somewhere to go.
Late Saturday, Utter got a call from someone stuck in Mill Creek. Her shelter couldn’t get transportation for someone in need of a place to stay. She suggested calling 911 and saying they would freeze. That person was brought to the south county shelter.
Two people were turned away there Sunday night.
“We just don’t have enough,” Utter said.
She noted “it’s really unfortunate” there isn’t any cold weather shelter in north Snohomish County. One of the residents turned away Sunday was from Marysville.
Utter hoped to open up two more beds Monday night with HEPA filters for COVID-19 safety.
Tyler Verda, the human services program planner for the county, was out delivering those filters Monday morning. Over the weekend, he was giving linens, blankets and N95 masks to shelters in Monroe and Snohomish.
The south county shelter plans to be open and at capacity through Friday night, Utter said.
Jenny Roodzant was out in Marysville giving unhoused residents coffee and hand warmers Sunday night. People sat shivering and shaking in the snow with blankets. Some cried when she came, Roodzant said. One called her an “angel.”
“It makes me feel terrible,” said Roodzant, social services coordinator at the Salvation Army of Marysville/Tulalip. “I worry if they’re even going to make it through.”
She said about 10 people have come to the organization each day looking for shelter.
“Our phones were ringing all day yesterday,” she said.
She tells them where they can go — Monroe, Snohomish, Everett — but once they leave the Salvation Army, she doesn’t know where they end up. They haven’t been able to transport anyone. The organization has some bus passes, but not enough for everyone.
On Monday, Roodzant reached out to churches in Marysville to see if they have space to shelter people. The Salvation Army is open for warmth and soup from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They have a hot breakfast.
“We obviously all see there is a huge need for this,” she said. “I just don’t want lives to be taken cause there was nothing here for them.”
There are 145 cold weather shelter beds in the county, Verda said. On Christmas, 81 were occupied. He expected that number to increase as the freeze persists.
Icy end to 2021
Monday was expected to be the coldest day of the week, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures could reach 32 degrees Tuesday.
Over the Christmas weekend, Everett got almost six inches of snow, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Monroe got eight inches. Bothell got over six. Up north, Sedro-Woolley was pelted with more than a foot.
Another weather system was expected to start Wednesday night, Kovacik said. That could cause a couple more inches to drop before transitioning to a rain-snow mix.
This will only reinforce snow that’s already blanketed Snohomish County, with low temperatures meaning little melting.
After New Year’s Day, temperatures are projected to sit in the 30s, with some rain and snow in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, the weather has affected operations around the county.
All Community Transit buses were on snow routes Monday.
“It’s going to take longer to get where you need to go,” Community Transit spokesperson Martin Munguia said.
Some trips were canceled. Community Transit will send out an alert by 5:30 a.m. Tuesday if snow routes will continue, Munguia said.
The Everett-based bus and para-transit provider for most of Snohomish County has been working lately to alert riders of changes due to weather at bus stops, Munguia said. Some have QR codes. And some are getting signage telling customers where they can catch their bus.
Prolonged snowstorms can cause fatigue among bus drivers, which can lead to more cancellations, but Munguia didn’t expect that with this event.
In much of the county, trash collections were canceled Monday. Rubatino, which serves Everett, wrote on its website it would “take double for you when conditions allow.”
And all Everett Community College buildings were closed. University of Washington Bothell and Edmonds College were operating remotely.
The county’s snow plowing mission continued Monday. As of 1:30 p.m., 26,455 miles of road had been plowed and 12,152 miles had been sanded. Crews had deployed over 2,200 tons of various sand materials.
Between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday, county crews reported plowing over 2,600 miles of road.
“Our crews have been working very hard to make sure that the primary routes are as clear as possible so that emergency responders can get through when they are needed,” Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder said in a news release. “Luckily we should have a break in the snowfall today and we will begin clearing secondary and tertiary routes.”
In Lake Stevens, crews were short-staffed and had two plow trucks out of commission with sudden maintenance issues, said interim Public Works Director Aaron Halverson.
“You try to prepare for anything, and then coil packs go bad,” he said. “We’ll buy more next year.”
Three trucks were out Monday afternoon clearing “priority routes,” while it may take a while to get to Lake Stevens neighborhood streets, Halverson said. He hoped to have another truck back up and running late Monday or Tuesday.
The eight staffers on duty had to work 12-hour shifts, instead of the normal eight hours. Halverson would have wanted three more employees working, but some are out of town for the holidays.
Lake Stevens could have an interactive mapping platform to show what roads have been sanded or plowed for snowstorms starting next year, Halverson said.
In Everett, crews plowed over 1,250 miles between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon.
In Marysville, most streets were still covered in compact ice and snow Monday. The city didn’t expect conditions to improve until temperatures got to at least 25 degrees.
Plowed snow can block fire hydrants, so fire officials urge residents to shovel a few feet around hydrants near their properties in case of fires.
The Washington State Patrol has been seeing lots of car crashes as people drive too fast for the icy conditions, trooper Jacob Kennett said. For example, on Highway 532 east of Stanwood, a driver lost control, crossed the center line and crashed into a plow truck on Christmas Day. The plow truck was forced into a ditch. One person in the car was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Kennett suggested people stay home and only drive if they absolutely must.
“If you don’t have to go out, stay home and enjoy your friends and family, enjoy some hot cocoa,” he said.
But if you do go out, Kennett recommended going slow and keeping a lot of distance between you and the next car, making sure you have appropriate tires to drive on icy roads, dressing in layers, keeping a full tank of gas, and storing some food and water in your vehicle.
Carbon monoxide could be a bigger threat as low temperatures mean people turn to alternative heating sources and snow blocks ventilation, said Snohomish County Fire District 24 Deputy Chief Drew Bono. Residents should clear areas around exhaust vents to stave off carbon monoxide poisoning, he said.
As for water pipes, the Alderwood Water and Wastewater District has a few tips for keeping them from freezing:
• Find your main shut-off valve and make sure you know how to turn it on and off. It’s probably on the ground floor or garage of your home.
• Disconnect hoses from outside faucets.
• Heat the rooms in your home that have plumbing.
• In unheated areas, insulate pipes and faucets.
If pipes do freeze, shut off the water at the main shut-off valve, if you have an electric hot water tank. If you can’t find the valve, call the district for help at 425-787-0250.
If your hot water tank is gas, call your gas provider for directions.
Then thaw the pipes with a hot and damp rag.
Snohomish County’s five cold weather shelters generally open when overnight temperatures are projected to dip below 34 degrees. County officials update their online listing daily to reflect which shelters are opening their doors: bit.ly/3FFfl1P.
• Bothell United Methodist Church at 18515 92nd Ave. NE will be open as a warming center Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the city announced.
• In Edmonds, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church at 21405 82nd Place W will be open this week for warming from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Those ages 12 to 17 looking for shelter should call Cocoon House at 425-877-5171.
• The Everett family cold weather shelter at 5126 S. Second Ave. serves nine families, with intake from 4 to 8 p.m. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
• The Everett cold weather shelter at 2624 Rockefeller Ave. has 75 beds. Intake is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It’s open as a warming center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact: 425-977-9686.
• The Snohomish cold weather shelter at 210 Ave. B has 18 beds, with intake from 8 to 10 p.m. Contact: 206-606-3573.
• There is a cold-weather shelter in south Snohomish County. If you have transportation, call 206-743-9843 for the shelter location. Van pickup schedule: 7 p.m. at Lynnwood City Hall; 7:05 p.m. at Lynnwood’s Trinity Lutheran Church; 7:20 p.m. at the Value Village sign west of Highway 99. The van schedule is shifted two hours later on Wednesday nights. Volunteers are still needed to run the shelter. Interested volunteers should contact Reina Hibbert at email@example.com.
• The Monroe cold weather shelter at 1012 W Main St. has 25 beds, with intake from 8 to 10 p.m. Contact: 206-606-3573
Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.
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