Under a white blanket

A winter storm brings Bainbridge Island to a very peaceful halt.

Islanders snuggled up under a white winter blanket Tuesday morning.

With a widely predicted storm covering Bainbridge with at least 5 inches of snow, islanders largely chose to stay at home.

Public schools were cancelled, leaving students who had only returned from vacation to class a day earlier free to frolic beneath the heavy flakes that continued to fall in mid-afternoon.

“When I woke up, I saw my dad’s car was all white,” said Katy Kruse, age 9, sledding with her friends and 5-year-old brother Brogan – eating snow – in a parking lot off Madison Avenue. “My mom said, ‘You’d better get ready for school,’ and I said, ‘There’s no school, I heard you talking with dad!’

“So she said, ‘Okay, get ready for snow.’”

Downtown streets were mostly free of traffic, leaving pedestrians who ventured out to savor the mellifluous crunch of snow underfoot.

The snow didn’t keep Jaime Amador and Paul Johnson indoors.

“We had to get donuts,” said Amador, pointing to a shopping bag. “Provisions, you know.”

Johnson combined the donut run with the chance to put up a sign – “We’re closed, duh” – on the door of the Classic Cycle bicycle shop where he works.

“I’m from Minnesota,” Johnson said, “and this is nothing. I find it amusing that everything closes down because of a couple of inches of snow.”

Not everyone got the day off, though. Scarf-bound and snow-covered, Liz Lindsley was walking down Madison on her way to work at Blackbird Bakery.

“We’re probably one of five businesses open,” she said. “My car isn’t four-wheel drive so I’m walking.”

Still, she was enjoying the weather.

“I think the snow is beautiful. It’s been a while since I’ve been in snow,” she said, “but I’m not looking forward to the walk home.”

Sisters Caitlyn and Nyssa Hamilton went to Bainbridge Bakers to have some quiet time together. “It’s so pretty,” Nyssa said. “You’ve got to take it while you can.”

With the forewarning of meteorologists, city public works crews had their equipment ready and were out early plowing and sanding roads, director Randy Witt said.

“The usual,” Witt said. “Getting ready for rain, have sandbags stockpiled.”

At the Head of the Bay, a predictable trouble spot for ill-equipped motorists, few problems were reported.

“It hasn’t been too bad this morning,” said Ray Adams of Ray’s Automotive. “Some cars are driving too fast, but most people are conscientious.”

As of 10:50 a.m., he had only received one call from a motorist stranded at the low nexus of Bucklin and Wyatt Way hills. “But by the time I got there, his buddy in an oil delivery truck had pulled him out,” Adams said.

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department didn’t have its first snow-related call until about 11:30 a.m., when a youth on a sled reportedly ran into a utility pole at the north end of the island. The child was transported to the Virginia Mason Clinic for treatment.

A vehicle was reported off the road and hanging “precariously” over the beach on Manitou Beach Drive around 12:30 p.m. It was unknown at press time how that call was resolved.

Fire Chief Jim Walkowski said he expected the “onslaught” of calls to begin Tuesday afternoon, when temperatures were expected to rise and turn the streets to slush.

“It’s the lull before the storm, so to speak,” Walkowski said, “although the storm’s here.”

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