The day FWay stood still



“It’s way too quiet in here today,” said a waitress at Coco’s restaurant, which had far fewer diners than usual for a Tuesday morning.

The solitude at the Pacific Highway South eatery was typical of the pace of life in Federal Way during and after a snowstorm that started overnight and continued into Tuesday afternoon. The winter assault kept many people at home and forced schools, government offices and some businesses to close.

Obvious signs that people were out and about as little as possible were parking lots that were virtually empty all day at shopping centers.

Customers weren’t the only scarcity at stores as several inches of snow fell and streets became increasingly slippery; many employees couldn’t get to their jobs. Some who did show up couldn’t make it back home, staying overnight Monday and Tuesday in hotels rather than risking driving or being unable to return to work the next day.

Warmer temperatures started turning the snow and ice to slush Wednesday, and the usual winter conditions –– mainly rain –– were forecast for the rest of this week and beyond. Officials advised that the combination of melting snow and rain could cause local flooding. They said storm drains, plus downspouts and gutters on homes and businesses, should be cleared to help the water drain away.

During the height of the snowfall, major affects were on:

• Roads and mass transit. King County road crews worked around-the-clock shifts, paying the most attention to major arterials, Metro Transit, school bus and emergency routes, and freeway entrances.

City crews sanded and plowed Federal Way streets.

Metro Transit buses stayed on sanded streets. Sound Transit buses were running, but with some delays.

The state Department of Transportation worked on keeping Interstate 5 and other highways passable. Forty-five plows and trucks were available in King County.

• Schools. Public schools were closed Tuesday and Wednesday. So were Highline Community College and Green River Community College.

• Government and public facilities. The city of Federal Way canceled all daytime activities offered by the Recreation and Cultural Services Division and closed Kenneth Jones Pool. Tuesday’s City Council meeting was rescheduled to the next night.

King County Superior and District courts were first to close Tuesday, followed by the county assessor’s offices and parks and recreation facilities, including the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center. The rest of county government, except the Sheriff Department and road crews, called it a day at 1:30 in the afternoon Tuesday and were back to normal the next morning.

• Commerce. Businesses that opened Tuesday generally had fewer customers and workers. Some used contingency plans to keep going. The Mirror, for instance, moved its press deadline for Wednesday’s edition up more than 12 hours. The change allowed more time for a truck from the printing plant in Burlington to take papers to Federal Way for eventual delivery to readers.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565,

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