Snoqualmie Valley still digging out from record snow, forces full week, district-wide school closure

UPDATE  |  FEBRUARY 14TH, 1:45PM: The Snoqualmie Valley School District announced that schools would remain closed on Friday, February 15th – making it a full week closure for all SVSD schools. With next week being mid-winter break, students will not return to school until February 25th.

The SVSD announcement: “This has indeed been an extra-ordinary week for our district families and staff, as well as the entire community.  We understand the frustrations and challenges that school closure have on families and truly appreciate the patience and support that many have expressed. We are also grateful to the team of devoted (and exhausted) staff members who have braved the elements this week to drive throughout the district to assess road conditions, chain and maintain district vehicles, dig out buses, shovel entrances and portable ramps, operate plowing equipment, mend leaks, de-ice sidewalks, and more. Even with additional contractor services helping move deep snow from fire lanes, bus loops and parking lots, this is slow and laborious work, to clear 12 campuses. We are making progress on several campuses, but much work remains. Tomorrow’s closure also takes into consideration unsafe driving conditions that remain in many neighborhoods, as city and county crews continue their road work. Thank you again for your patience and understanding for this unprecedented situation. The safety of students and staff will always be our top priority.”

North Bend Elementary School on 2/13/19

ORIGINAL STORY: As the Snoqualmie Valley continued digging out from record snowfall – with some areas reporting three feet after 4 storms rolled through – the Snoqualmie Valley School District cancelled classes again on Thursday, February 14th.

SVSD students have not been in the classroom since February 8th – and even that day was only for about three hours as district officials called a conference schedule early release to get kids home before the second of four storms hit. The District was also closed February 4th and 5th due to snow and then had two shortened days that week due to inclement weather and road conditions.

Late Tuesday, the cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie each declared a formal state of emergency after the most powerful of the storms brought 1-2 feet by Tuesday morning. Residents were asked to stay off roads and move vehicles as snow plows – some called in from other cities and agencies – worked to clear roadways. As of yesterday, some residents were still reporting being stuck at home due to impassable side roads.

North Bend Mayor Pro Tem Trevor Kostanich said, “We understand the hardships everyone is going through and know this storm has left many stranded in their homes. The safety of our residents and emergency access is our first priority as we still have hundreds of homes without access.”

He added, “We have called upon and been supported by our neighbors from the City of Issaquah, Eastside Fire & Rescue, King County, WSDOT, and the National Guard. Our city has made it their mission to clear streets as quickly as possible and coordinate continuous efforts to gain access to all homes that are still snowed in.”

Garden CT SE on Snoqualmie Ridge was plowed Thursday morning, 2/14/19.

The Snoqualmie Valley School District shared photos of the snow they were dealing with on school campuses and facilities. North Bend Elementary and Mount Si had front entrances blocked by large snow drifts.

According to a February 13th SVSD announcement, “District staff on the Operations and Transportation teams have been working to clear school entrances, fire lanes, bus loops and parking lots, as well as to dig out school buses – but much work remains given the significant amount of snowfall. We have also hired additional contractors to help with snow removal efforts. In addition, there has been some roof damage at Mount Si High School causing leaks inside the old building. We will continue to monitor the storm clean-up progress and make a determination by Thursday at 3PM as to whether SVSD schools will be able to serve students on Friday.

The district said it is also working to develop a plan to make up for the loss of instructional time and will communicate with families, as soon as there is information to share.

On Wednesday, King County Emergency Management activated a non-emergency hotline for people dealing with the recent snow event. Residents can call 206-296-3830 for assistance with transport for medical appointments, fuel, food, shelter and evacuation assistance. Visit www.kcemergency.com for more resources available.

Residents are asked to clear snow from around storm drains to prevent local flooding as snow melts and to remove snow from around fire hydrants in case of emergencies.

Top top it all off, there is now a wind advisory in place for the Snoqualmie Valley today, running through 4PM for strong gap winds. East winds are predicted to by around 15-30mph with gusts up to 50mph possible. The east wind is having a warming effect, though, and this morning had pushed temps into the upper 30’s.

Who’s ready for spring?

North Bend 9Elementary, 2/13/1
NBE entrance, 2/13/19
MSHS Main entrance, 2/13/19
MSHS main entrance snow drift
SVSD bus yard

Comments

  1. http://Jackie says

    Every road on the ridge was drivable by Wednesday morning, but the city/district couldn’t plow two elementary school parking lots all week?

    Maybe if I send the district’s list of excuses to my bank, they’ll give me back the $1,000 I have to spend on childcare this week. Probably not though.

    • http://Chris%20Anderson says

      Snoqualmie Ridge is neither the center of the Snoqualmie Valley nor the center of the universe, despite what your pathetic sense of entitlement may tell you.

    • http://Steve%20Haas says

      Jackie,
      Did you even take the time digesting the information presented in this story before commenting?
      First, the school district has not two schools with parking and associated access roads to clear, but 12 campuses. Did you look at the pictures included in this article that illustrate the awesome amount of snow that has fallen and drifted around each of those 12 schools?
      Second, As mentioned somewhere, this has been described as a “70 year event”. Do you expect the school district and our towns in the valley to purchase and maintain the equipment needed to quickly deal with a storm of such proportions? Keep in mind that such equipment will spend much of it’s life slowly rusting away at the city shops or the school bus barn as it will be rarely needed. Beyond that, what additional level of school or city taxes are you willing to accept to pay for and maintain this equipment? I was raised in Michigan’s Copper Country, or the shores of Lake Superior; winter snowfall totals in excess of 300″ were common. An overnight storm of 16″ resulted in streets being cleared by 6:30 in the morning – plenty of time for the school buses to make their runs and get kids to school on time. But . . . the difference is the city, township, county dealt with situations like this multiple times each year, _EVERY_ year! That justified the additional capital and operating costs and we were glad to pay the extra taxes. How much in additional taxes are _YOU_ willing to pay each year so your kids can make it to open schools, every day, all winter? In my opinion, the schools and different government agencies have done an awesome job of managing cost vs probability; The lighter trucks with plows have done an admirable job most of the time.
      Third, The ridge, downtown Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, and all the outlying neighborhoods are all pretty tight communities, with ample opportunities for networking. Why are you not in contact with other parents in you immediate neighborhood? A bit of networking and you would have found several families in the neighborhood willing to take your kids for a day at a time. Had you taken the time to get involved in the communitity and get to know your neighbors? A simple post on one of the many Facebook Groups covering the Upper Snoqualmie valley would have yielded any number of near by parents that would have been more than happy to share child care duties with you during the storm. That thousand dollars in extra child care you paid out could have been completely avoided if you were involved with the community!
      Best regards,
      Steve Haas

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