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Keep storm drains clear, prepare for winter snow and ice, and Snohomish County adopts $1 billion 2020 budget


Last updated 11/15/2019 at 1:17pm

Photo courtesy of Snohomish County

Snohomish County asks that residents to keep storm drains clear of debris to prevent flooding.

Keep storm drains clear to prevent flooding

Fallen leaves, pine needles, litter and other debris can block storm drains and lead to flooding. Make sure to keep storm drains clear so water can pass through them unobstructed. When the rains fall, check if your route has been impacted. Information about county road closures can be found online on the county's website. To report issues to county road staff, call 425-388-ROAD (7626) or email [email protected] Snohomish County also provides up-to-date information about river conditions. The Flood Information Center serves as a "one-stop" source for real-time river level and rainfall depth data in the county and can be found online.

WSDOT: Prepare now for winter snow and ice

With winter fast approaching, now is the time for travelers to make sure they're prepared for driving in inclement weather.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) urges all travelers to start preparing themselves and their vehicles before traveling on snow and ice. Drivers can check out WSDOT's winter driving web page for tips and information. WSDOT also asks travelers to always "know before you go" and get the most up-to-date roadway information before heading out.

"Our crews are ready for winter and work hard to keep roads clear, but as last winter showed, any part of the state can experience severe weather and we need the public's help as well," said WSDOT Maintenance Operations Manager James Morin. "Most pass closures are due to spin outs or crashes from vehicles traveling too fast or not having proper winter equipment. Preparing early and staying informed about conditions and restrictions can help keep traffic moving during storms."

To check conditions and prepare for winter weather:

• Download the WSDOT mobile app.

• Follow WSDOT's regional and pass accounts on Twitter, the agency's Facebook site and online travel alerts.

• Sign up for email and/or text updates about road conditions – including Snoqualmie Pass delay text alerts.

• Download, print and carry the WSDOT Winter Driving Guide.

• Get your vehicle ready and plan extra time to cross all mountain passes, including heavily traveled routes such as Snoqualmie Pass,

Stevens Pass and White Pass.

• Chains and know current traction and chain requirements for mountain passes, which are also available on highway-advisory signs,

highway-advisory radio and by calling 511.

• Preset your radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for WSDOT's traffic-information stations.

Alternatives to chains

Although some vehicle manufacturers recommend against the use of tire chains for certain models, that doesn't excuse travelers from state traction device laws. These requirements exist to help keep all traffic moving safely during extreme winter conditions.

The Washington State Patrol provides an online list of approved, alternative-traction devices that meet state traction requirements. All travelers are reminded to carry chains or approved alternatives whenever crossing mountain passes to be prepared for changing weather conditions and avoid a costly ticket. Failure to obey a tire chains sign can mean a ticket of up to $500. Special chain enforcement patrols will be keeping an eye on mountain passes this winter.

Studded tires

By law, studded tires are legal for use in Washington state only from Nov. 1 through March 31. This applies to all vehicles in Washington, even those traveling from other states, and no personal exemptions or waivers exist.

WSDOT estimates studded tires cause between $20 million and $29 million in pavement damage to state-owned asphalt and concrete roadways each year. Motorists are encouraged to visit a tire dealer to learn more about their options, including stud-free, winter tread traction tires. These type of tires are different than all-season tires, are legal year-round and do not cause the same roadway damage as studded tires. More information about studded-tire restrictions and requirements can be found in the FAQ on the WSP website.

Snohomish County Council adopts $1 billion 2020 budget

There is no general property tax levy increase in the $1 billion 2020 Snohomish County budget that the council passed Tuesday. It is also the first-ever $1 billion budget for the county. "This recent election says loud and clear that voters are facing tax fatigue and we must be responsive to that," Council Vice-Chair Nate Nehring said. 

The budget fully funded the Prosecuting Attorney's "Justice Initiative" aimed at making the streets safer and added $1.6 million to the county's rainy day fund. It decreased expenditures by trimming overtime requests, delayed hiring of certain full-time employees, and removed drone purchases and trainings, according to a statement from the county.


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