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Snow Advisory

Attention citizens the Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area. As we have now received 1/16th of an inch of snow, municipal code N-774290.4.c is in effect, requiring all drivers currently on the roads to drive their vehicle into a ditch at the earliest convenient moment. If you are unable to do so, because your nearest ditch is already filled with vehicles, you may instead precipitate either a rear-ender or a fender-bender. Your compliance will ensure that local news stations have no difficulty obtaining footage for their "BlizzardWatch '05!!" coverage, which began three days ago and will continue until the last sludgy lump of ice has melted from the median of I-5.

Residents should also be aware that all chit-chat, small talk, and informal shit shooting must, by law, be confined exclusively to weather-related topics for the next 48 hours. We thank you for your cooperation.

Posted on December 01, 2005 to Seattle


Oh dude. Snow in Seattle. You better stock up on canned goods and beer now, because the whole city is gonna be shut down. On the plus side, it's always fun watching morons try to push their car when the wheels don't get good enough traction to make it uphill.

Posted by: lala on December 1, 2005 5:03 PM

Funny how, when it "snows", people just disappear from work...and then tell the lowly administrative assistants to "hold their post" until closing. Is that a managerial perk? :)

Posted by: Libby on December 1, 2005 5:07 PM

You (lala) are getting way ahead of yourself. It is only Dec 1 and the weather has not been below freezing until just today, so the ground is not frozen. This is the type of snow that gets all Seattle-ites in a tizzy yet melts as it hits the ground; effectively it is rain. Perhaps it will accumulate a bit in surrounding areas, but not here in the city. Maybe some of the melt will freeze into ice overnight, and we can feel like we have a real winter here!

Posted by: Mr Charlie on December 1, 2005 5:20 PM

Haha, I still remember the "blizzard" of '96, when a whole inch of snow knocked Seattle out for a week. I wanted to write a letter to Bill Gates to ask him to please buy the city a second snowplow and some salt.

Posted by: otherthings on December 1, 2005 5:33 PM

Residence = Residents

Posted by: Nit Picker on December 1, 2005 9:31 PM

You forgot the part where no one is permitted to purchase anything but milk, bread and toilet paper.

Posted by: Athena on December 1, 2005 9:50 PM

It snowed here in Vancouver too!

Posted by: J on December 1, 2005 10:57 PM

Heh... what is it about snow? I remember the "blizzard" of '96--we lived on Queen Anne Hill and had just came home with a brand new baby (who surprised us 5 weeks early.) We had NOTHING in the house for a baby. Which meant, IZ hiked down hill for diapers and all things baby--and then hiked back up the hill. All because Seattle has two snow plows. :)

Here in Astoria, the talk about town has been snow all week. But we are only deluding ourselves.

Posted by: Wende on December 1, 2005 11:34 PM

1/16" of snow. Ooooh, I hope FEMA have got their shit together by now.

Posted by: Anonymous on December 2, 2005 12:21 AM

1/16" of snow. Ooooh, I hope FEMA managed to get their shit together since summer.

Posted by: Lung the Younger on December 2, 2005 12:23 AM

Sorry about that.

Posted by: Lung the Younger on December 2, 2005 12:24 AM

I have dutifully parked my car at the bottom of the hill and walked to the top, falling twice on my ass for effect. Watch for me on King5.

Posted by: Stephanie on December 2, 2005 12:59 AM

It's good to know that small amounts or even just forecasts of snow have precisely the same effect on people in Seattle as it does on people in North Carolina…

Posted by: Mac on December 2, 2005 5:16 AM

Also: for those unwilling to ditch their vehicles, please remember that driving at excessively slow speeds is also acceptable behaviour. If three hundred people are late getting into work because of you then the municipal code has sufficiently been executed.

Thank you.

Posted by: Kelly on December 2, 2005 5:19 AM

I fear to say it, but over in Spokane we have *gasp* several inches.

Surely the end of times is upon us, . . .

Posted by: Aaron on December 2, 2005 5:20 AM

YAY. My mother is flying up to Seattle today. I am so glad I got this warning so she will know what to do.

Posted by: Vicious Kind on December 2, 2005 8:10 AM

The problem with the Blizzard of '05 coverage is that, if the local news is anything like Denver's, the weather coverage will expand to cover the 7.23 minutes it doesn't already consume on the evening broadcasts.

Posted by: Lost Poke on December 2, 2005 8:55 AM

White stuff. Falling. From. The. Sky.


And don't tell me about th big snow of '96. I remember the "big snow" of '88, (or was it '87), and also lived on Queen Anne. Back then, people didn't worry about a ditch, they just abandoned their cars wherever they were, including the middle of I-5.

I can still recall a car cruising over the top of my street, (which was a pretty steep hill), realizing that he had a serious problem, sliding down the length of it, through the blind intersection at the bottom, slamming into the curb, skidding along it, and plowing into the parked car sitting there. The driver then casually got out, shut his door, and walked away. Insane.

Posted by: Windopaene on December 2, 2005 9:19 AM

It's a sure sign of global warming!

Posted by: Bob on December 2, 2005 9:42 AM

At least you got snow, all we got down here in portland was the hype

Posted by: Eric on December 2, 2005 9:50 AM

Dude, I have icicles on my house here in Bellingham. Well, OK, only two. But still.

So much for our maritime climate.

Posted by: Melancholic Lefty on December 2, 2005 10:13 AM

I was in school at UW during the blizzard of '96. I'd flew into Sea-Tac on the 26th of December because I had to meet the marching band to fly out to the Holiday Bowl on the 27th. My plane was supposed to arrive at 11:00PM. We got to Seattle an hour late, and then had to wait on the plane for an hour and a half because there was no electricity at the airport to extend the jetway. I got my bags at about 1:30AM, and couldn't get ahold of my ride. The great decision was whether to wait at the airport for the band, or to take the bus back to the U-district in time to meet the band at 7:00AM. I chose to ride the bus since my uniform and instrument were at a friend's apartment. 5+ hours later, I arrived in the U-District at 6:50AM. I dragged my suitcase across a street covered in more than a foot of snow, and barely caught my friend before he left to catch the band busses back to the airport. By 9:00AM, I was back at the airport. They had the de-icing equipment break twice before the plane was prepped to go. I think we finally took off at 1:30PM.

Posted by: Jen on December 2, 2005 11:13 AM

Okay, okay, people in Seattle freak out about snow and drive poorly. Well established. I won't argue against it. Fine.
But...BUT! Two things:
1. How can you expect people to be calm, skilled, and comfortable about something that happens maybe one time a year? How WOULD we get used to it?
2. There are an awful lot of hills. I'm married to a midwesterner and Chicago snow snob who rails on Seattleites all the time but everything is flat there. I'd be great driving on snow if gravity wasn't trying to constantly kill me.

Posted by: John on December 2, 2005 11:40 AM

I was visiting relatives in '96...and we were staying in Bainbridge. And there are no plows there at all, it seems. It took 3 whole days to get the parking lot of the apartment complex plowed so we could leave, at which point we fled the island (with many traumatized-looking people sharing our ferry) to find something to do. Which there wasn't. There were lots of abandoned cars on the way, though.

Posted by: rabbit on December 2, 2005 1:28 PM

But John, when I lived in Seattle, people drove like idiots whenever it rained, too. :)

Posted by: Wende on December 2, 2005 1:40 PM

So do you get a spike in the birthrate in the greater Seattle area after this kind of blizzard? Takes about a foot of the white stuff to create that effect here in New England. As Athena points out, you're only allowed to buy milk, bread, and toilet paper during such emergencies (we sometimes add batteries and bottled water in our region), and that leaves folks at home with few distractions and a shortage of family planning supplies. ;)

Posted by: Elizabeth on December 2, 2005 2:03 PM

Perhaps I'm just being argumentative, but how often do you notice people when they *don't* drive like idiots. Do you ever see people and say "Wow, nice driving there, buddy!"? So people drive like idiots in the rain and snow. Probably in bright sunlight as well. I've traveled around the country, sometimes in the rain, and I don't often think "oh my, look at that shrewdly executes, well-calculated lane change". I just notice the jerks and fools.
And there are a lot of factors in driving around Seattle: lots of topography to struggle through, lots of rain, the aforementioned hills, the lack of mass transit meaning that the roads are choked with cars (they may be Priuses but it's still a car on the road). It seems like the only two ways to deal with such a mess is to drive like a maniac (in the NYC cabbie or LA commuter model) or drive like a timid hamster, which is what you see a lot of around here.
Or maybe people are just sucky drivers. That's possible too.

Posted by: John on December 2, 2005 2:05 PM

Being from South Florida, I can attest to people driving like idiots in bright sunlight.

Posted by: Tinabug on December 2, 2005 2:37 PM

I moved to Arizona from the Midwest recently, and the other night the weatherman gave a "My coffee is steaming" advisory. If it ever snows here, I'm calling in sick.

Posted by: Sarah on December 2, 2005 3:09 PM

As a former Pacific Northwester, I miss the newscasters on location on the side of the road.
"Tracy, I'm here at I-5 and the Sunset highway and it is TREACHEROUS. I've almost been hit several times and we're advising all to JUST STAY HOME." Then the requisite tight shot of the light powdering on the asphalt. We moved to Flagstaff, got a 110 inches of snow last year, and my kids are miffed because they only got three snow days out of the whole thing. Had this been Portland, we would have been getting FEMA dollars. Damn.

Posted by: Jen on December 2, 2005 4:46 PM

I think this is the same PSA they run in South Carolina when a few flurries float down.

Posted by: Jennifer on December 2, 2005 8:34 PM

I left my job a little early yesterday, but it was only because I haven’t lived in Seattle long. So when people started freaking about the snow, I believed we were really in for catastrophic weather.

Posted by: Lynn on December 2, 2005 11:04 PM

I think it's hilarious how much people (who don't get much snow) freak when it does snow 1/16". All I wish for y'all is to wake up in January somewhere like Winnipeg (Canada), when it's minus 30, and the snow banks (created by snow plows) are over your head. The good news is - it's a dry cold........

Posted by: Karl on December 3, 2005 7:03 AM

As a Chicagoan, I can tell you "Snow Snobbery" is very much ingrained in our culture here. Our weatherfolks delight in taking time out of the forcast to show us highlights of say, Seattlans (ites?), plowing their cars into ditches.

Of course I should also point out that we have the opposite problem of drivers who swear they can drive better in snow.

I know I can!

Posted by: Mark on December 3, 2005 9:42 PM

Snow! When I lived in L.A. it would always make the national news when it snowed. But people there are always driving their cars into ditches (when they are not driving others off the road and into ditches), snow or no snow. I'm sure people drive their cars very politely in to ditches in Seattle.

(I love the post below, by the way.)

Posted by: Ozma on December 4, 2005 12:58 PM

Here in Ballard, I noticed a car on the corner of my street that was up on the sidewalk with a busted axle. Don't know if he/she hit a slick spot or is just a really bad driver.

And having lived in the Midwest for several years, I have to disagree with the New Englanders. Through years of observing the runs that all of the local groceries had on milk, bread, and EGGS when the local forecasters predicted any snowfall, we concluded that the typical Midwesterner is prepared to live on a diet of nothing but French toast during bad winter weather. Toilet paper? Good God, you can't eat toilet paper!

Posted by: C. on December 4, 2005 12:58 PM

Day 2 - Vancouver Blizzard 2005 - Revenge of the Commuters

Chilled Vancouver commuters faced their second day of winter hell today, as an additional 1/4 centimeter of the peculiar white stuff fell, bringing the lower mainland to its knees and causing millions of dollars worth of damage to the marijuana crops. Scientists suspect that the substance is some form of frozen water particles and experts from Saskatchewan are being flown in.

With temperatures dipping to the almost but not quite near zero mark, Vancouverites were warned to double insulate their lattes before venturing

Vancouver police recommended that people stay inside except for emergencies, such as running out of espresso or biscotti to see them through Vancouver's most terrible storm to date. The local Canadian Tire reported that they had completely sold out of fur-lined sandals.

Drivers were cautioned to put their convertible tops up, and several have been shocked to learn that their SUV's actually have four wheel drive,
although most have no idea how to use it.

"The government has to do something," snarled an angry Trevor Warburton. "I didn't pay $540,000 for my one bedroom condo so I could sit around and be treated like someone from Toronto."

Posted by: Bill on December 4, 2005 4:14 PM

hahaha, it's so true! We here down in Oly got TWO inches and I personally saw three cars drive into a ditch/stop sign. At least I got to finally use the "emergency speed dial" function on my phone. Because dialing 9-1-1 is three times harder than just pressing the "help" button.

Posted by: June on December 8, 2005 9:56 AM

Hello, I found this link in someone else's blog... Just wanted to say hi and that I laughed my ass off at this. It also perfectly describes North Carolinians. When my husband and I moved here from NY, we went grocery shopping and found that milk, bread, eggs, and bottled water were sold out. We asked someone why, and they were all, "OMGITZGOINGTOSNOOOOOOOOOOW". We got home and checked the weather. Flurries. MAYBE an inch. SO many car accidents when it actually snowed.

Posted by: Andrea on December 8, 2005 11:44 AM

and THAT is exactly why I hurry home when it snows. I want to get off the road before all the crazy drivers have a chance to kill me.

Posted by: obsoletepostergrrrl on December 13, 2005 8:03 AM