Winter Storms: Help from your Seattle Government

A big storm is hitting Seattle again and your city government is working hard to keep you safe.

SDOT snow plow clearing the road for travel (photo from Seattle Times, Feb 13, 2021)


City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management (OED): OED 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 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): Drivers from SDOT are plowing and salting the roads. For SDOT’s winter weather info, CLICK HERE. For a map or 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.

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. 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: If you are in need of shelter, call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-9274. For families with minor children, call YWCA’s late night shelter 24-hour intake line at 206-461-4882 inside Seattle or call 206-245-1026 for families anywhere in King County. Women can go to First Presbyterian Shelter at 1013 8th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104. Our city government typically opens additional emergency shelter for adults when temperatures drop to dangerous levels including:

  • City Hall (after 8:00 p.m.)
  • Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center
  • Bitter Lake Community Center
  • Garfield Community Center


If it’s snowing, try to have some fun, 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)
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