Winter Operations and Snow Removal
Commercial service requires Paine Field staff to reopen the main runway and necessary taxiways within 30 minutes of a closure. That means our staff is ready to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to any winter weather event.
Snow removal operations commence as soon as possible after snow or ice begins. Paine Field uses a combination of snow brooms, snowplows, snow blowers, and deicers.
During working hours, Operations staff tracks changing weather conditions and forecasts, disseminates weather information, and monitors conditions on the runways and taxiways. Maintenance staff will be focused on ensuring equipment is ready for snow removal and pretreating priority areas as needed.
Once snow is reported, Airport Operations will close the smaller runway used by general aviation aircraft (RWY 16L-34R). The main runway (RWY 16R-34L) will also be closed to allow Maintenance staff to remove any accumulated snow. We are required to reopen the runway along with any required taxiways within 30 minutes of a closure.
What is treated or cleared at Paine Field and when:
Paine Field is responsible for snow and ice maintenance of runways, taxiways, taxilanes, and ramp areas. In addition, the airport is responsible for clearing airport roadways such as 100th St SW and 112th St SW west of Airport Rd., E. Perimeter Rd., Minuteman Dr., and Commando Rd. We will also clear roadways servicing the BOMARC Business Park.
Primary airside and landside surfaces are addressed first. Secondary airside and landside surfaces are addressed second. Snow or ice accumulations may require us to switch back to addressing primary surfaces. Our primary obligation is to keep the primary airside surfaces open and operational.
Deicing fluid works to stop ice from bonding to pavement or concrete. The airport applies deicer on the main runway (RWY 16R-34L), along with specified taxiways, taxilanes, and ramps. Application rates are based upon the type and severity of the precipitation. We will often pre-treat priority areas prior to the arrival of freezing precipitation or surface temperatures reaching the freezing point. Staff will continue to apply deicer on these surfaces to ensure the safest possible conditions.
Note: This fluid cannot be used to de-ice aircraft. Airlines use various forms of glycol.
Equipment on Hand
Paine Field has more than 20 pieces of equipment on hand for snow and ice maintenance including:
- Six snow brooms
- Three 20’ plows
- Two 22’ plows
- One 15’ ramp plow
- One 22’ ramp plow
- A variety of smaller plows
- Two snow blowers
- One 6,000 gal. deicer tanker
- One 2,000 gal. deicer insert
- Plows, brooms, and pickup trucks with attachments for landside roadways
- One friction tester to measure stopping distance for the main runway
- Lots of snow shovels and brooms and team members ready to work
- Airside deicer
- Roadside sand-salt and deicer
Airside snow removal
Snow removal on the runways takes place with three to four snow brooms in an echelon pattern down the runway to clear a 100’ width, often followed by a snowplow or a snow blower. If the snow is too heavy for the snow brooms, we will deploy snowplows. Snow blowers are used to clear around runway and taxiway lights.
The following alert levels are used to classify winter weather events at Paine Field:
Approximately 24 hours prior to the forecasted start of snow or icing conditions at Paine Field, or when the snow level in the greater Seattle area is between 600 and 1000 feet, a Snow Watch may be declared by Airport Operations. Paine Field Fire Department personnel move to Snow Watch from 0000-0600 for continuous monitoring. If snow is predicted, Airport Operations and Maintenance staff will move to our snow schedules of 0600-0000.
If snow begins to fall and is expected to require additional resources to maintain operations, Airport Operations and Maintenance staff will move to 12-hour snow schedules, ensuring 24-hour coverage for the airport.
If you have a trip planned and there is inclement weather:
Check with your airline
- Visit the airline's website or call
- Follow your airline on social media
Road conditions on the way to the airport:
Be prepared for slick roadways and give yourself extra time for your commute. Airport Maintenance crews and the terminal operator maintains 100th St SW west from Airport Road, looping in front of the terminal. Airport Road is maintained by Snohomish County Public Works and the City of Everett.
Monitor the following Twitter accounts for updated road conditions:
- Washington State Department of Transportation
- Snohomish County Public Works
- City of Everett
- City of Mukilteo Twitter Social Network
Questions about the services at the terminal:
Check with the operator of the terminal, Propeller Airports: