Snow and ice on roads have led to many cancellations or delays in services in North Kitsap the past few days.
On Dec. 23, St. Michael Medical Center reported that due to dangerous road conditions from the ice storm, it is closing all outpatient clinics today including imaging, therapy and wound clinics. Elective surgery cases are also canceled. Patients will be contacted in the coming days to reschedule appointments or procedures.
The hospital, emergency department, cancer center and infusion services remain fully open.
Meanwhile, Poulsbo police chief Ron Harding said traffic collisions often increase, but an even bigger problem can be people who abandon vehicles.
“Folks decide it’s too dangerous to drive, having already started driving,” he said Dec. 21. They may pull off to the side of the road or just get out and leave the vehicles where they are. That causes a public safety hazard when traffic volumes increase, so police have the vehicles towed, which “doesn’t make the owners happy,” he said.
Another issue is at the human services level. “We definitely worry about our homeless population” trying to survive in this type of cold, he said. There is a nighttime cold-weather shelter at Gateway Church that provides help. “We can’t make them take us up on that offer, but we at least make sure they know about it.”
It can also make it a challenge to make it into work, but the patrol cars are all-wheel-drive so they try to help city support staff when they can, he added.
Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said that even though many people are still “hunkered down” others were enjoying the sun and even walking downtown Dec. 21. “It enhances the holiday feel,” she said of the snow.
She said the city’s public works department has worked hard to keep the streets in good shape, and even the arterials have been sanded to keep things going. Businesses have kept the sidewalks clear and have been able to stay open for holiday shopping.
Doug Bear, Kitsap County’s communication manager, said public works crews have been working on roads 24 hours a day since Dec. 19. “North Kitsap was harder hit than other areas of the county,” he said.
Bear said snow removal was the focus at first on main roads and now secondary roads. The emphasis now will be de-icing on hills, intersections and bridges – areas that “tend to ice up more than others.”
He asked that motorists continue to use caution while driving as there are still patches of compact snow and ice, and with temperatures staying below freezing roads can still be slick.
For real-time inclement weather and emergency information go to kitsapgov.com
In Kingston, the chamber reports that while some businesses were closed Dec. 20 due to snow, the roads were looking good, and they were back open Dec. 21.
Meanwhile, the snow and cold led to other problems elsewhere.
Severe Weather Shelters have been open not only in Poulsbo, but in Kingston, Silverdale and Port Orchard as well.
Kitsap Transit was offering emergency services routes only, with Dial-a-Ride services like BI Ride, Kingston Ride and SK Ride service suspended. North Kitsap was unable to serve George’s Corner.
Washington State Ferries says weather may cause sailing delays or cancellations. Many high school sporting events in Kitsap County also have been canceled.
Olympic College campuses in Poulsbo and Bremerton were closed, but virtual students services were available at Olympic.edu
Kitsap Public Health District was on a three-hour delay. Central Kitsap school district was closed with no out-of-district transportation, after-school or evening activities. Kitsap County Courthouse and offices were on a two-hour delay.