City keeping an eye on inclement weather; Bloodworks Northwest donations needed / Weather report

With harsh weather barrelling through the region, the city of Mercer Island’s police and Public Works teams have been keeping close tabs on the stormy situation for any issues in the local area.

According to the city during the last week, the Island accumulated a tinge of snow and a plethora of ice, and workers stepped into preventive mode by applying liquid de-icer to known frozen spots.

“Mercer Island police have responded to multiple ice-related collisions — make sure to slow down and leave plenty of room between vehicles,” the city noted on Sunday.

On the schools front, the Mercer Island School District closed all of its buildings on Dec. 1 because of the regional snowy and icy weather, according to its web site and social media platforms.

In addition, the district canceled all of its programs, preschool, transporation, after-school activities and athletics on that day.

In a pop-up message on the district site, administrators explained that they decided to shutter the schools on Dec. 1 because: The snow impacted their preparations around the schools; school districts around the region were closing due to the weather, which impacts the district’s staff; and out of an abundance of caution due to the conflicting weather forecasts for the remainder of the day.


In its weekly community newsletter, the city offered copious tips for residents to safely deal with the wintry weather in the now and on the horizon.

Drivers are reminded to keep essential winter items like an ice-scraper, jumper cables, antifreeze, blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries and more in their vehicles. To prepare for driving on icy roads, people should check their tires for adequate tread, and once they’re moving they should drive slower and increase their following distance, watch for slick spots and more. For more information, visit

“If you’re heading out of town, stay on top of WSDOT road conditions, especially the passes this time of year,” the city added. For that information, visit

When its snow and ice response plan comes into play, the city noted that it utilizes six plows — three with sander units — and one truck mainly for liquid de-icing. During snowy and icy scenarios, the Public Works department aims to sand, plow and de-ice public streets “that allow traffic to enter and leave the Island safely.” Priority routes are those roadways that access Interstate 90, schools and Town Center.

If residents notice icy roadways and other issues that city workers can handle, they can dispatch a report to


The recent snowy weather has led to a 30% decrease in scheduled blood donations since hundreds of donors couldn’t make their Bloodworks Northwest appointments. In addition, several blood drives were cancelled due to the inclement weather.

Amid the storms, Bloodworks Northwest has put out a call for citizens to give blood or platelets if they can safely travel to donor centers.

“Regardless of the weather, there is an ongoing need for blood to help cancer patients, victims of traumatic injuries, and many others who require transfusion support,” said Dr. Kirsten Alcorn, co-chief medical officer at Bloodworks Northwest. “Our Type O supply is 800 units below operational levels leaving us with less than an emergency one-day supply of transfusable units.”

To schedule an appointment, visit


When winter weather douses the Island terrain, the school district will apprise parents and students of school closures and delays via emails or texts by 5 a.m. through the School Messenger or FlashAlert systems. District families can download the FlashAlert mobile app, and click “Skylert” on their Skyward accounts to receive information through School Messenger.

Other ways the district will relay information to the school community will be on its website, social media platforms and through local radio and television stations.

“Weather this time of year can be unpredictable, so we know our communication tools need to be predictable, to help our community navigate the inclement weather,” the district noted, adding that a planned district closure will take place from Dec. 19-Jan. 2 for winter break.

The school district superintendent stands at the forefront of the closure and delay process when snow is forecasted. The procedure begins with the superintendent monitoring the weather overnight, and then the district’s maintenance, operations and transportation staff step into the equation by driving Island roads and assessing driving conditions beginning at 3:30 a.m. On those days, the staff consults with the city’s police and maintenance departments, who are also monitoring road conditions, and checks for possible utility failures.

“The superintendent makes all decisions to change school operating schedules based on the weather impact on schools and road and driving conditions,” the district notes.

For more information, visit