Enumclaw weathers winter storms well

The three-week stretch of snow, ice and freezing temperatures has been the talk of the town, but everyone seems to have survived the wintry blast relatively unscathed.

  • Tuesday, January 6, 2009 1:49pm
  • News

The three-week stretch of snow, ice and freezing temperatures has been the talk of the town, but everyone seems to have survived the wintry blast relatively unscathed.

Some roads became temporary ice rinks and a few days of school were lost, but it appears the Plateau withstood the cold weather and occasional gusty winds.

As late as Friday, the city of Enumclaw was plowing roads, focusing on what are determined to be “priority routes.”

There wasn’t a lot of accumulation, but the anticipated snowfall was “right to the level where we would start plowing,” said Chris Searcy, head of the city’s Public Works Department.

He said the city’s infrastructure survived the winter ordeal, even though residents weren’t always happy.

“Citizens weren’t completely pleased with the situation on the streets,” he said, referring to the plowing that left snow piled around parked cars and in front of driveways. “But we have to put the snow somewhere” when it’s scraped from the streets, Searcy said.

The city’s only victim to the freezing temperatures, he added, was a water pipe at the Enumclaw Expo Center that resulted in some minor flooding.

Additionally, “we’ve seen a few potholes start showing up,” Searcy said.

“Any time you get a hard freeze like that and then a thaw, you’re going to have some trouble,” he said.

Unlike some jurisdictions, the city of Enumclaw will not take too big of a financial hit because of the snow and ice, according to City Administrator Mark Bauer. He said the city traditionally provides money in the budget for potential weather emergencies.

Searcy said there will be some internal juggling of funds, however, due to the need to keep roads cleared.

He said Street Division employees traditionally handle plowing duties, but workers in other divisions logged some overtime hours keeping things cleared in the downtown core during the days immediately before Christmas. Dollars will have to be shuffled, Searcy said, to reflect where that money was spent.

Students in the Enumclaw and White River school districts will be making up the days lost prior to winter break. The winter weather impacted things as late as Monday, when Enumclaw operated according to schedule, but with some limited bus transportation.

The snow and wind occasionally made it tricky for those attempting to travel between Enumclaw and the upper reaches of state Route 410.

The latest weather-related road closure came Friday morning when state Department of Transportation crews blocked the highway at the road leading to Mud Mountain Dam. High winds knocked over trees that were blocking the road. The closure lasted just a couple of hours, from about 8:40 to about 10:40 a.m.

The same thing had happened New Year’s Day, when DOT crews escorted motorists attempting to make their way from Crystal Mountain to Enumclaw.

The morning of Dec. 31, a fallen tree had caused problems at SR 410 and Corral Pass Road. That situation was cleared up quickly, according to WSP reports.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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