Grocery store hit hard before storm hit hard

BI, Kitsap officials say stay off roads

On Bainbridge Island, residents have been dealing with snow and ice most of the week, but the worst has been with the ice storm the morning of Dec. 23.

The city of BI issued an alert recommending residents stay off roads.

Joe Rutan, a Kitsap County engineer, added: “Travel is extremely challenging this morning with several roads closed due to accumulated ice. We are urging residents to avoid driving if possible. The roads are ice coated and getting around closures adds to the challenge. If you don’t need to be on the roads, please stay safe at home.”

A warmer air mass is expected this afternoon to change the ice to rain, but hazards will remain on roads most of the day as temperatures warm slowly, officials said.

Washington State Ferries issued a severe weather alert stating that the Seattle/Bainbridge route would be operating only on a one-boat schedule. “We advise travelers to take extra caution when traveling to our terminals, and to consider conducting only necessary travel if possible.”

Earlier this week, BI officials closed City Hall due to deteriorating road conditions and expected snowfall Dec. 20. Islanders have been living with temperatures in the low 20s, snow and icy roads, and the threat of a severe ice storm heading into Christmas weekend.

On Dec. 22, some neighborhoods were still struggling with ice-covered roads, but many folks were able to get out for groceries and some holiday shopping before the icy rain that came Dec. 23.

In anticipation of the severe weather, city Operations & Maintenance staff and road crews switched to a 24-hour snow and ice control plan working 12-hour shifts to focus on clearing the main roads first and then neighborhood streets. The crews prepared for the oncoming weather by pre-treating streets with anti-icer. Crews plowed their routes and treated streets with salt to keep roads reasonably clear of snow.

Mid-afternoon Dec. 22, the parking lot at Safeway on High School Road was filled as drivers rushed in and parked on the ice-covered lot to stock up on supplies before the ice storm. Not a cart was to be found inside of the store as frustrated shoppers waited for one to become available.

Throughout the store, the weather threat could be seen by the presence of salt and mud stains on the floor of every aisle. Certain sections of food were empty. Bread stock was low, and certain dairy and baking products were gone as shoppers quickly grabbed what they needed and left.

At one of the registers, a customer asked the cashier whether the influx of people was due to the storm or the holidays. The cashier said: “Both. This year we got the double whammy; a major storm and the holidays all at once. But, we’re making do, just as long as people don’t get grumpy with us.”

An empty dairy case.

An empty dairy case.

Outside, the firewood section was depleted.

Outside, the firewood section was depleted.