Road crews and skiers will be busy

A week of storms is expected to pound Snohomish County through Sunday, possibly pushing road maintenance crews to their limits and making ski bums rejoice.

With temperatures expected to hover around freezing and moisture in the skies, more snow is possible in the evenings most nights this week, said Johnny Burg, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“There is no day that has any kind of dry break for the next seven days,” Burg said. “I don’t know if it’s three separate storms or what. It’s just not looking good.”

Daytime temperatures are expected to be warm enough to melt most snow accumulation except in the mountains.

In the past week, 2 feet of snow has fallen on Stevens Pass — most of the accumulation in the last 48 hours. On top of that, forecasters were calling for 1 to 3 feet of new snow to fall between early this morning and late tonight.

“It is a ton of snow,” said Jamie Holter, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. “We’ve got lots of trucks out ready to move snow.”

At Stevens Pass, the state has deployed three snow blowers, four plows, three scoop loaders and one grader, Holter said.

Officials at Stevens Pass said the snow is light and dry, perfect for skiing or snowboarding.

“The snow is phenomenal. It’s just ridiculously good,” said Chris Rudolph, marketing manager for the ski resort about 50 miles east of Everett.

An estimated 2,500 people hit the slopes there Monday, a relatively high number for a weekday with snowy conditions in Seattle, Rudolph said.

Down in the lowlands, maintenance crews were at the ready in case the rain expected this morning ends up as snow.

“All of our trucks are in, refueled, refitted and ready to go,” said Mel Reitz, area maintenance superintendent for the state Department of Transportation.

His plow crew works in 12-hour shifts until a storm is gone. With the possibility of continuous storms socking the county through Sunday, it could be a long week.

Starting Sunday evening, state maintenance workers were out applying a chemical deicer, a liquid that bonds to snow and speeds melting. The deicer is spread on the road before it snows.

Once it started snowing early Monday morning, plows switched to spreading a mix of sand and salt as they scraped the roads clear.

Snohomish County road crews also are ready for more snow, especially in places such as Sultan, Gold Bar and Index, where early morning snow is much less likely to turn to rain this morning, said Roy Scalf, operations manager for the county’s road maintenance division. The county has 32 plows ready to go if needed.

Herald writer David Chircop contributed to this report.

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