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Originally published December 15, 2008 at 1:29 PM | Page modified December 16, 2008 at 12:37 AM

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Record low temperature set this morning

Sometime before 4 a.m., the mercury at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport dipped to 19 degrees, besting the record low of 20 degrees set for this day 44 years ago. And the cold isn't over yet.

Seattle Times staff reporters

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Downtown Seattle, caught in a deep freeze with the snowy Olympic mountains in the backround.

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STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Downtown Seattle, caught in a deep freeze with the snowy Olympic mountains in the backround.

Allen Christie, of Issaquah, clears an inch of snow off the field lines before the start of a preseason girls soccer tournament at Skyline High School. Parents were bundled on the sidelines watching their kids.

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STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Allen Christie, of Issaquah, clears an inch of snow off the field lines before the start of a preseason girls soccer tournament at Skyline High School. Parents were bundled on the sidelines watching their kids.

Arlington police and fire personnel and a tow truck are on the scene after a car skidded off 44th Street Northeast near Arlington. Roads in the area's hills remained icy throughout the day Sunday. The firetruck and other Arlington Fire Department personnel left their vehicles at the top of the hill to help others below. The vehicle that was pulled out of the ditch is behind the tow truck.

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STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Arlington police and fire personnel and a tow truck are on the scene after a car skidded off 44th Street Northeast near Arlington. Roads in the area's hills remained icy throughout the day Sunday. The firetruck and other Arlington Fire Department personnel left their vehicles at the top of the hill to help others below. The vehicle that was pulled out of the ditch is behind the tow truck.

Luke Abubakari helps a neighbor move her car up an icy road near Northeast 147th Street and 9th Avenue Northeast Monday morning in the Shoreline neighborhood.

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MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Luke Abubakari helps a neighbor move her car up an icy road near Northeast 147th Street and 9th Avenue Northeast Monday morning in the Shoreline neighborhood.

Reader reports

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Snow's not all bad: Ski areas are opening

Stevens Pass will operate four lifts today, and the Summit West base area at Snoqualmie will open Friday. Hours will be limited to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both passes. Check out conditions at area slopes

Resources

Winter driving tips

How to install tire chains:

5 reasons drivers here flake out in the snow

WSDOT | Snow removal, driving tips (PDF)

Videos

KING5 | Drivers running into problems on icy side roads

KING5 | Raw: School bus slides down Bellevue hill

YouTube | Seattle Skid Row

YouTube | Portland Ice Storm

Prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning

Warning devices may provide additional protection, but should not replace the following prevention steps:

• Never burn charcoal inside homes, vehicles or garages.

• Do not burn charcoal in the fireplace in your home.

• Never use gasoline-powered equipment indoors.

• Never use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.

• Never idle a car in a garage, even when the garage door is open.

• Never sleep in a room while using an unvented gas or kerosene heater.

• Make sure chimneys and flues are in good condition and are not blocked.

• Have fireplaces, wood stoves and oil or gas appliances checked every year by a professional.

Source: Public Health — Seattle & King County
Click here for carbon monoxide warnings in six languages (PDF).

Nickelsville copes with cold weather

About 100 people find a shelter and protection from the elements at Nickelsville, a homeless encampment located at the University Congregational United Church of Christ in University District.

Think it was cold this morning?

Sometime before 4 a.m., the mercury at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport dipped to 19 degrees, besting the record low of 20 degrees set for this day 44 years ago.

And the cold isn't over yet.

Our next best chance of breaking a low-temp record will come Friday — if the forecast holds true with an anticipated 16-degree low. That would be one degree colder than the record low of 17-degrees set for December 19 in 1990, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

What's more, there's at least an 80 percent chance of snowfall between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Thankfully, the recent cold snap across the Seattle area hasn't been accompanied by high wind.

That's good news because the cold coupled with widespread power outages would create miserable conditions for a lot of people, said meteorologist Johnny Burg.

"We get cold weather but this is definitely not normal for this time of year," he said, noting that we're averaging temperatures that are 10 degrees colder than the 36-degree average temperatures typically seen in December.

Today should be mostly sunny with highs around 30 and lows down to the teens. On Tuesday expect sun, highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s with a chance of snow.

On Wednesday, the highs should be in the lower 30s.

Check www.wrh.noaa.gov/seattle/ for the latest forecast.

The expectation of more snow this week is music to the ears of winter-sports enthusiasts, but not to beleaguered retailers counting on a final Christmas rush.

After Saturday night's initial snowfall, Puget Sound-area children scurried for sledding hills as tires spun for traction beneath blue skies Sunday.

West Seattle, King County's rural regions and Snohomish County bore the brunt of snow-and-ice-related accidents and road closures. To the south, the snow and ice were so bad in Portland that transportation officials required chains on all metro highways and briefly shut down Interstate 5.

Transportation crews are mobilizing in the wee hours this week to sand and de-ice major streets and hills. King County Metro expected Sunday night it would chain up many of its buses for icy conditions today. Officials with Metro and Community Transit in Snohomish County recommend that if your bus stop is icy, check your bus schedule for the snow route. Dress warmly in case of delays, and wait at the top or bottom of hills so the bus can avoid stopping in the middle.

In Seattle, about 75 percent of the 24th-annual Jingle Bell Run's 12,000 participants still turned out to slip and slide through city streets Sunday morning, said Kelsey Birnbaum, of the National Arthritis Foundation's Pacific Northwest Chapter.

West Seattle's Junction True Value hardware store was out of snow shovels, ice scrapers and other equipment by early afternoon.

With just 11 days until Christmas, it felt like a slow weekday at the Alderwood mall around noon Sunday, with plenty of parking and short lines, and free tables in the food court.

Kristen Parkinson woke up to 4 or 5 inches of snow at her rural Snohomish County home, but she, her husband and two kids still made the 45-minute drive to Alderwood for shopping.

The mall felt empty, she said. She figured people were scared away by the snow, but it made for a pleasant day at the mall.

"It's easier to get in and out and do your thing," she said.

Retailers said the morning was slow, but mall traffic had picked up by 1 or 2 p.m.

Saturday was busy, said Becky Keithley, store manager at Fred Meyer Jewelers, but Sunday was a different story. "At any time of the year, Saturday and Sunday are packed," she said. "We anticipated a lot more."

But it was a snow occasion for Dash Napier, 4, and his dad, Barry, of Everett. They spent Saturday night watching and talking snow. And on Sunday, they headed to Sen. Henry M. Jackson Park in Everett for Dash's first time sledding. They joined neighbors on a speedy toboggan. Later, Dash dropped onto his back and made a snow angel.

"It's fun to make footprints," he said.

Lots of kids had the same idea and flocked to the park, where some kids built an impromptu ramp out of snow at the bottom of a hill and sailed off it over and over again. Sleds included Tupperware lids, inner tubes and a sandwich-board sign advertising a sale.

In Seattle's Volunteer Park, Jon Ramsay, 9, spent the morning building snowmen with dad Doug Ramsay, flanked by a cacophony of kids on sleds, along with snowy dogs. In a white meadow across the park, 4-year-old Grace Hove and father Dean laughed in the snow, where she'd recently made snow angels.

Not far away, kids barreled down small hills on sleds until the grass peeked through.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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