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Kitsap continues to dig out from snow storm

Motorists were taking their chances trying to scale Mile Hill Drive in Thursday
Motorists were taking their chances trying to scale Mile Hill Drive in Thursday's snowstorm.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

Most of Kitsap County was under a blanket of snow on Thursday, with an expected accumulation of one to four inches (twice that in some sections of West Kitsap) expected by the end of the day.

The snow was expected to subside on Friday but continue throughout the weekend, according to weather sources.

In Kitsap County, the courthouse, schools and city governments announced early closures after first contemplating a two-hour delay.

Friday openings were uncertain.

The county, which had prepared for the predicted snow for several days, began plowing primary roads in the morning.

County Spokesman Doug Bear said the county would repeatedly plow the primary roads until the snow let up, and then begin work on the secondary roads.

"We are advising people who really don't need to leave the house to stay inside," Bear said. "Avoid driving if possible, and plan for delays if you have to drive."

The county has provided two sources for the latest road information. The complete snow and ice control policy, along with a map that identifies primary and secondary routes, is available at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/snowplow.htm.

And the regularly updated Road Report is viewable at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadwork.htm.

Calling Public Works or CenCom to report that a road has not been plowed will have no effect, according to Bear. Public Works has its own previously prioritized schedule, and 911 should only be called in an emergency.

The county uses 24 large trucks equipped for sanding and plowing, and has eight smaller trucks used for targeted snow removal operations.

Road crews use an established priority plowing plan to coordinate plowing activities.

Throughout the storm, road crews are working continuous 12-hour shifts to battle snow and ice.

Winter weather can also create hazards on area lakes and storm ponds. In addition to the many lakes and ponds throughout the County, Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management Program maintains more than 600 stormwater facilities.

They estimate there are an additional 800-plus privately operated facilities in the county.

Since it takes about 10 days of subfreezing weather to harden the ice to a safe level, the county advises people to avoid walking on ice.

Bear said the county prepared for the expected storm by spraying primary roads with saline solution, but the volume of snow made this process less effective. "Once you get two or three inches of snow it will compact into ice once people drive on it for a while," Bear said.

Kitsap County Superior Court closed early. Any juror serving on a trial in progress should wait to hear further instructions from the bailiff, according to a taped message on the court's line.

Anyone who has business with the county over the next few days should call or check the web site (www.kitsapgov.org) before venturing to Port Orchard.

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