a Tale of Fire and Snow.

Snow in Seattle

This weekend I finally received an answer to a question I had been pondering for a while – “Does it snow in downtown Seattle?” I was aware that it was known to snow in other parts of Washington, but I wasn’t sure if that powdery concoction fell in the downtown area. Having previously resided in Boston and Washington, DC, I am familiar with cold, snow, and ice. But I was unsure if the cold, snow, and ice would make an appearance in Seattle. Rain? Yes. Wind? Yes. But snow?

I could reasonably assume from looking at a map that it was plausible that I would see snow on the ground in Seattle. Boston and New York are no strangers to snow, so it was reasonable to assume that it would snow in Seattle, a city that is farther north than Boston and New York. Similarly, the fact that Seattle lies near water should not be a problem since Boston, too, lies on the coast. The only issue I could think of that would affect whether it would snow or not, is that Seattle might not be cold enough. I know that it doesn’t get as cold in Seattle as it does along the East Coast (at least I hope not; there is still two months of winter yet to test this theory).

The issue of snow was answered on Sunday morning. I was lounging in my apartment, minding my own business, when a piercing noise invaded my solitude. The fire alarm was going off and I could smell a burning odor, so I figured it wasn’t a false alarm. I quickly shoved my feet, sans socks, into a pair of shoes, put on a fleece, and grabbed my keys. At the last second I dashed back into my apartment and grabbed my jacket and bag, just in case. I joined the other tenants in clopping down the stairs, shoes untied, jacket half on. After getting down to the lobby, everyone was herded outside where we were confronted with about 5 fire trucks, 4 fire EMS vehicles, the battalion chief truck, and a hoard of firefighters outfitted in their gear, all congregating in the street they had blocked off in front of the apartment building.

As we stood there, on the sidewalk and in the street, we learned that the restaurant located on the first floor of our building had a fire in the kitchen. Smoke was rising up from the restaurant and from what little we could see, the firefighters were hooking up their hoses to work their magic.

I was tired, it was cold, everyone was wondering what was happening and when would we be allowed back into our apartments, and then it started to rain just a little. Then, it started to snow just a little. At first the snow fell lightly, sticking to our coats and hair but melting and disappearing when it hit the ground. But then it started to fall faster. The flakes became larger and fluffier, and the snow slowly started to coat the sidewalk and street in a cloud of white. I wondered if I would ever get back into my apartment.

Snowy roads in Seattle

The snow continued to fall. The firefighters continued to talk into their walkie-talkies and go in and out of the apartment building and restaurant. I realized, as the snow melted into my hair and soaked the bottom of my jeans, that it can and will snow in downtown Seattle. Then finally, happiness. The firefighters did their thing and the street was soon unblocked and everyone was allowed back into the building, where it smelled like smoke and probably will continue to smell like smoke for the next two weeks.

And when it was all over, it had snowed a good inch or two and there was accumulation on roofs, bushes, and tree branches. I doubt the snow will last, although I’m sure a lot of kids were happy with their snow day.



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