Storms set area records

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

November came in with torrential rains and left with snow, frigid temperatures and freezing rain.

According to the National Weather Service, the month broke a 115-year precipitation record set in 1891 when Benjamin Harrison was president. The water total hit 15.59 inches on Nov. 29, breaking the 15.33 inches record set in ‘91.

The region also saw a record low temperature for the month, dropping to 18 degrees Fahrenheit at Seattle-Tacoma Airport Nov. 28. The previous record was a balmy 22 degrees set in 1975, when Gerald Ford was president.

November was the wettest month of 2006 with a month to go. Coming in second was January at 11.69 inches. The rest of the months didn't even break 3 inches.

The month was host to three major storms. The first, named the “Pineapple Express” because it originated in Hawaii, hit Nov. 2 and ended up dropping more than 7 inches of rain in five days including 3.29 inches Nov. 6.

This drenching was followed by a mid-month wind and rain storm complete with gusts greater than 40 mph that knocked down trees and cut power to about 20,000 customers in Pierce County.

Nice November ended with one of the earliest snowstorms in years and record-setting low temperatures.

The Bonney Lake Public Works Department was kept busy with the weather, particularly during last week's snowfall.

Starting Nov. 26 the snowstorm hit the mountain passes with near blizzard conditions tangling the trek for folks trying to get home after Thanksgiving.

The Seattle Seahawks played Green Bay on Monday Night Football Nov. 27 and the Pack was greeted with snow, freezing temperatures and treacherous driving conditions.

The next morning Sumner, White River and Enumclaw school districts shut down. Snow and ice covered state Route 410 and the surface streets around Bonney Lake were a slippery mess.

Public Works Director Dan Grigsby said the city's snow crew went into 24-hour shifts to clear the streets of snow and sand.

“The crews were out for two days, 24 hours each day,” Grigsby said. “They did a great job covering the whole area.”

Grigsby pointed out the city does not salt streets because the state will not allow the process. Salt causes corrosion on the underbody of cars and gets into the storm water system causing problems in streams and rivers.

Bonney Lake has two sand-spreading trucks and three snowplows.

Grigsby has some experience with snow. He came from the Ogden, Utah, Public Works Department and he was stationed in Iceland for three years in the Navy as an officer in the military's public works.

“In Ogden we had 28 snowplows,” Grigsby said. “In Iceland, with the wind, the snow was going horizontal.”

The city clears snow from streets on a priority basis beginning with schools, main arterials and hills.

The city asks residents during a snowstorm to:

€ park all vehicles and trailers off the streets until the snow is pushed to the curb;

€ clear snow from sidewalks as soon as possible, but not later than 12 hours after snow has ceased to fall;

€ do not place snow removed from driveways or sidewalks onto the street.

Dennis Box can be reached at

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