Given the relatively temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest, even in the middle of Winter snow is a fairly infrequent occurrence around here. During most Winters here we rarely get more than 2 or 3 snow events, and most of them are relatively minor (at least unless you’re trying to drive in them, in which case you’re pretty much dealing with a horrendous mess no matter how much or how little snow actually ends up on the ground.) Every so often we do get a major snowstorm here, but these are relatively rare, with the last really significant one being back in December of 2008. The one we’ve got going on here right now doesn’t seem to be quite that bad (at least not here in Downtown Bellevue, I understand most of the really big snow totals happened to the North and South of here,) but it was still enough to close down all the schools and make a mess out of the roads.
Fortunately, living in a walkable Downtown area means that even in the snow it’s not too terribly difficult to get around, even while leaving the car safely parked. Even then, given a recent unexpected change in my employment situation (not that big a deal really,) I don’t really have anywhere to be right now anyway, so I can just stay at home and not have to worry about any of this. Even so, after a while cabin fever does start to set in a bit, so I did took the opportunity to go for a little walk this afternoon and see how Bellevue is faring underneath all the snow. After the jump, a look at a few scenes from a snow day in Downtown Bellevue.
One of the biggest surprises of the day is that in spite of all the snow we got here (which was only a fraction of the snow that some places got, especially further south) it really didn’t create a whole lot of traffic issues that I could see. I’m guessing that this was mostly because the vast majority of people just stayed home (traffic on 405 and on the Downtown streets was for the most part pretty light,) but even the ones who did venture out into the elements didn’t seem to be having too much trouble getting around In fact, the only cars I saw having trouble at all were rear wheel drive cars such as this BMW parked at the top of the 405 offramp. Obviously not the ultimate driving machine in this weather…
For the most part, the roads (and the sidewalks) were pretty slushy, and a number of the outdoor stairways in Downtown were blocked off, presumably to keep people from cracking their skulls on things while trying to climb them.
The Bellevue Transit Center, normally a beehive of activity on any given weekday, was practically deserted today. In spite of this, the busses still seem to be running (albeit on revised snow routes that keep them off of big hills they might have trouble climbing in the snow.) The truck parked on the sidewalk here was full of tire chains, several of which were being applied to busses parked at the Transit Center.
If you were looking for a place to sit down today, your options might have been a bit limited.
Surprisingly, in spite of the weather, Bellevue Square was open (albeit with an early closing time,) as were a majority of the stores in the mall. And although the crowds were probably smaller than you’d expect on a typical weekday, the place wasn’t exactly deserted. I suppose it beats being stuck at home if you can get there…
This should give you a pretty good idea of what Northeast 8th Street looked like for most of the day. I did see some plows going through here, but with the base layer of ice from last night underneath the snow, it didn’t look like the plows were having too much success clearing things off.
Downtown Park had a surprisingly large number of people as well, presumably out to take advantage of the rare opportunity to play in the snow.
For some reason, I find that fountains seem to look really cool in cold temperatures when ice forms in them. Probably not a great thing for the fountain itself, but as long as the water keeps flowing at least it shouldn’t be able to freeze up in the pipes.
The combination of ice and snow seems to form some unusual patterns on the surface of the ice that forms in the waterways at the park.
After spending some time wandering around a bit and stopping by the grocery store to grab a few things (shockingly, nobody had cleared out the canned goods aisle, although the store did seem pretty busy,) I headed back home, taking a different path this time. By this time, the sidewalks seemed to be getting even slushier than they were on the way out, making for a somewhat tricky (but not especially dangerous) walk up the hill.
Admittedly, I haven’t been much of a fan of the snow over the years (at least not since I left high school,) but I do have to say that I don’t mind it quite as much these days, at least as long as I don’t have to try to drive in it. If nothing else, it gives me some actual Winter weather to get away from when I head off to somewhere nice and sunny next week… Oh, did I mention I was headed off to somewhere nice and sunny next week? Although with the way most Winters turn out around here, I could probably get away with “Less Dreary” and still do pretty well. Oh well, at least we don’t get these types of snowstorms too often. Then again, I suppose if that happened we might even learn how to deal with them eventually.