Winter Storms: Help from your Seattle Government

When a big storm hits Seattle again, your city government is working hard to keep you safe.

  • For the latest info from the Mayor’s Office (November 29, 2022), CLICK HERE.
  • For the National Weather Service, CLICK HERE.
  • For a summary of advice and help, please keep also reading this blog post…Please be safe out there!


City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management (OEM): OEM typically activates its Emergency Operations Center to facilitate the Mayor’s ability to coordinate all relevant city government departments during a major event, such as a winter storm. For example, the Mayor activated the center for the February 12, 2021 snow storm after several days of monitoring weather forecasts and preparing various crews of city government workers and their equipment (such as snow plows).

Sign up for “AlertSeattle” for emergency alerts by CLICKING HERE. For the National Weather Service, CLICK HERE.

Tips: For general safety tips during a major storm, CLICK HERE. For example, beware of sidewalks and roads thawing and then re-freezing into more slippery conditions.


Buses striving to operate on limited “Snow Routes” (photo from Seattle Times, Feb 13, 2021)

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT): If road conditions seem unsafe, consider staying home or limiting travel, if possible. Drivers from SDOT are plowing and salting the roads. For SDOT’s winter weather info, CLICK HERE. For transportation tips from SDOT (2021), CLICK HERE. For a map (2021) of roads/routes SDOT plans to plow/salt, CLICK HERE. SDOT drivers are often supplemented by drivers from our two city-owned utilities: Seattle City Light (SCL) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), discussed more below.

King County Metro (buses): For alerts and descriptions of limited bus service such as “Snow Routes,” CLICK HERE and HERE.

Sound Transit: For service alerts for light rail and Sound Transit buses, CLICK HERE.


Seattle Public Utilities: Pick up for garbage, recycling, and yard waste are often delayed when there is a major storm. For more info on SPU’s blog, CLICK HERE.

Seattle City Light: To report or view electrical power outages, CLICK HERE. For general advice from Seattle City Light on being prepared in case the power goes out temporarily, CLICK HERE. If someone in your home is dependent on life support equipment, sign up for SCL’s Life Support Equipment Program for assistance during planned and unplanned outages.   

Homeowners taking responsibility for the safety of their sidewalks in front of their homes (photo from Seattle Times, Feb 13, 2021)


Seattle Police Department: During major storms, police officers will focus on Priority 1 calls as well as “welfare checks” for seniors and other vulnerable populations. Call 9-1-1 for serious traffic collisions. The non-priority phone is 206-625-5011 For other contact numbers, CLICK HERE.

Tips: For safety tips during a major storm, CLICK HERE. For example, beware of sidewalks and roads thawing and then re-freezing into more slippery conditions.


For University of Washington Medicine during major storms, CLICK HERE.

Emergency Shelter: For the most recent information on severe weather shelters being opened by your city government and other places to get warm, CLICK HERE. If that link doesn’t have what you need, consider these additional options:

  • People, including youth, in need of shelter should call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-9274. We recently opened a new Tiny Home Village in District 4 called “Rosie’s Village” at Roosevelt Way and NE 45th Street.
  • 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. 


If it’s snowing and you are willing and able, try to carve out some fun time with loved ones, too.

Sledding at Gas Works Park in our District 4. Head to the parks rather than the streets.
(photo from Seattle Times, Feb 13, 2021)

University District Farmers Market in our District 4 plows on during the snowstorm (photo by Councilmember Pedersen, February 13, 2021)

Archived Material: For info from previous Mayor’s Office (Dec 2021), CLICK HERE.

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