A patriotic snow sculpture in Federal Way. Photo by Shelley Pauls

A patriotic snow sculpture in Federal Way. Photo by Shelley Pauls

14.1 inches and counting: Record-breaking snow pounds King County

Several winter storms passed through the region, dumping more than 14 inches of snow.

Snow and freezing temperatures battered King County last week, making this the snowiest February on record.

The downfall began Feb. 2 in a first storm that led to snow closures, only to melt off enough for roads to clear in the following days. However, it began to fall again Feb. 8 and has been hailed as a “snowmageddon,” again shutting down cities across the region and sparking runs on supermarkets.

As of Monday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Michalski said there had been around 14.1 inches of snow in SeaTac where measurements are taken, making it the snowiest February on record and one of the most intense in recent memory.

“It’s definitely our biggest system I guess in the last seven years,” he said.

Other storms in 2008 and 2012 brought significant snow to the region, which typically sees under an inch annually. Temperatures were expected to rise on Monday afternoon, leading to rain over the following days and a gradual melting. Michalski said there will likely be snow on the ground for the remainder of the week and no massive melt-off is expected, making flooding in eastern King County unlikely.

While King County may be thawing out thanks to warmer southwest air blowing in off the Pacific Ocean, areas farther north are expected to see more snow as frigid air continues to funnel down from Canada. These competing air currents have made it difficult to predict snowfall over the past week.

“We have kind of competing air masses at hand,” Michalski said. “This has been a really challenging forecast trying to nail down snowcast totals.”

Another storm system is on its way and expected to hit Thursday night and Friday, but Michalski said warm temperatures mean the precipitation will likely remain as rain. These winter storms were caused by a ridge that King County had been under for most of the winter, moving farther out to sea and to the north, reaching Alaska. As the ridge moved, it allowed cold air from Canada to cascade into the U.S.

With people snowed-in this past Saturday, many found ways to ride out the storm — such as sledding down closed streets or hosting a snow-day dance party in Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park. The county has also made additional shelter space available in Seattle for those experiencing homelessness.

The most recent storm has been called Winter Storm Nadia and is expected to work its way across much of the U.S., according to The Weather Channel. The Cascades are expected to see up to 3 feet of snow including over Snoqualmie Pass. Later in the week, after the storm passes through the Pacific Northwest, it could end up in the Midwest, bringing snow to Chicago and Detroit.

During the storm, the state Department of Transportation had around 100 plows and trucks clearing Interstate 5 between Canada and King County.

Kids and adults brought their sleds to Celebration Park and mingled with Federal Way police as the snow drifted down Monday afternoon. Photo by Andy Hobbs/the Mirror

Kids and adults brought their sleds to Celebration Park and mingled with Federal Way police as the snow drifted down Monday afternoon. Photo by Andy Hobbs/the Mirror

Weyerhaeuser campus draped in snow. Photo by Shelley Pauls

Weyerhaeuser campus draped in snow. Photo by Shelley Pauls

Photo by Shelley Pauls

Photo by Shelley Pauls

A snowy path in Federal Way. Photo by Shelley Pauls

A snowy path in Federal Way. Photo by Shelley Pauls

More in News

Prosecutors: Federal Way teen who fatally stabbed mother’s boyfriend will not be charged

16-year-old girl acted in self-defense during an argument over cooking breakfast, according to police investigation.

King County awards $1.5M to South King County Senior Centers and Resources to help serve diverse population

Twenty-eight senior centers will form 14 hubs for targeted senior services around the region.

Building community out of Legos at Federal Way’s Movies in the Park

Community gathers at Town Square Park for showing of “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”

Redondo Pier to remain closed through August

The Des Moines Council will discuss repair plans at the Sept. 5 meeting.

TOTE Maritime Alaska moving headquarters from Federal Way to Tacoma

Shipping company cites Federal Way’s increasing transient activity as one of main reasons for leaving.

All alumni picnic welcomes Federal Way grads

Eagles, Titans, Gators and Raiders shared memories, good times.

Desna Cup celebrates soccer, culture in Federal Way

It all started with a group of enthusiastic immigrants from Russia who created the very first Desna soccer team in 1999.

Artwork plan in progress for Kent, Federal Way light rail stations

Sound Transit selects artists for $3 million project.

Man seriously injured after car crashes into electric scooter in Federal Way

The man in his 20s was transported to Harborview Medical Center.

Most Read