Snow problem at allFun outpaces inconvenience as the island is blanketed in white.
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:38 PM
"The snow was scenic, the moisture content badly needed, the inconvenience minimal.It was the perfect storm.The eight inches of wet snow that blanketed the island Thursday night and into Friday morning was the largest snow event since the thousand year slush of 1996-97 dropped two foot-deep loads on the area over a few days.This time, everyone was ready.We mobilized early and quickly, and stayed ahead of it, said Lance Newkirk, Bainbridge Island's assistant director of public works who took charge of the snow-removal efforts.City crews had plows on Highway 305 by 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Newkirk said, and worked all night on the highway lanes and the island's major arterials.Newkirk said the department had four large and two small plows on the job, the latter used for critical parking lots at the ferry terminal and city hall, and to clear some heavily traveled sidewalks.The most serious traffic problem occurred right after midnight when a car skidded and blocked the road at Bucklin Hill Road and Eagle Harbor Drive. The car was moved promptly, and the intersection was then plowed, preventing any further disruption.The morning commute was generally smooth, city officials said, although much lighter than normal.A lot of folks chose to stay home, Newkirk said.While there were several fender-benders and cars in ditches, there were no accidents serious enough to prompt an ambulance call, fire department executive director Ken Guy said.We had a couple of normal medical calls - nothing weather-related - and a minor chimney fire last night, Guy said Friday. Our biggest ordeal was putting chains on everything and getting ready to go.Scattered power outages were reported - hitting most businesses on Madison Avenue, but few if any on Winslow Way - but electrical service was restored by noon, according to Dorothy Bracken of Puget Sound Energy.Town and Country did brisk business Friday morning, as did its latte stand as those downtown ventured through the snow and slush for caffeine.Newkirk reported downed trees at Battle Point Drive and North Tolo Road, on Bjune Drive near the Commons, and at Roberts Road and Sunrise Drive. But he said the problems were not nearly as severe as they have been in the past.Puget Sound Energy's overhead vegetation management program seems to be working, he said. There are less outages than there have been in previous years.Northland Cable Vision manager Mark Graves also reported scattered outages, mostly power-related.We have about 90 power-supply points around the island, he said. If the power is interrupted to them, they will run on battery for a while but then go down. We have some generators we can use, he said.As of early Friday afternoon, Graves said cable service was mostly restored. Spot outages remained in the Manzanita and Sunrise Drive areas. Some individual residences might have outages, he said, where the snow pulled down individual cables.This was pretty mild, he said, especially compared to 96-97 and the windstorms of 1999. High wind hurts us a lot more than heavy snow.Local kids took advantage of the island's first serious snow in a few years to head out for sledding and other activities.One big draw was the eighth hole of the Meadowmeer golf course, where the fairway dips down into a formidable gully.Covered with snow, it made the perfect sled run - broad, steep, long and well away from the road.Anything that would skid over snow was dragged out of the garage - including snowboards and skis, sleds, plastic discs, inner tubes, even an air mattress and a kayak. By mid-morning, a crowd of about 100 had turned out - kids, parents, dogs - for a neighborhood frolic, spinning and tumbling pell mell down the hill. This is the hotspot, said Jamy Wagner, there to watch her children Erinn and Cameron make countless runs down the slope.Fishing into her pocket for a camera, she posed the children against the white backdrop.I should do my Christmas card for next year right now, Wagner said. "