Dozens of crashes, road closures after snow blankets Puget Sound region
SEATTLE -- All of the snow that blanketed Seattle and other parts of the Puget Sound region Sunday evening lead to dozens of crashes and forced many slippery roads to be shut down.
It wasn’t a lot of snow – reported accumulations ranged from about a half inch to 2 inches as of late Sunday evening, but with temperatures a few degrees below freezing, it made for icy roads.
So many cars were sliding or getting stuck on a portion of South 277th Street in Kent that firefighters and police shut down the hill from L Street Northeast to 108th Avenue Southeast.
From Kent to Seattle to the Eastside, the hits just kept coming from the snow that blanketed the region on Christmas Eve.
"It’s crazy," said Michael Stevenson. "Crazy time."
Stevenson was cringing Sunday as he watched car after car slide or inch their way down a hill on 84th Avenue Northeast near Simonds Road Northeast in Kenmore.
Some car simply didn’t have enough traction to avoid impact.
So, Stevenson put his back pain aside and grabbed his shovel while other neighbors pushed or threw some cat litter out in the road.
"We were coming home from QFC just up the street here. And we got behind a bunch of these cars," Stevenson said. "I saw it and I said, ‘We better get home and get my shovels out here and start helping some people.’ ‘Cause you can see the anger that comes from all of this. It’s just… it’s no fun."
In Kent, about a handful of cars were damaged coming down a hill after hitting the center median along South 277th Street. Several people were transported to local hospitals. None of their injuries appeared to be life-threatening, firefighters told KOMO News.
A tow truck stepped in to help a Prius as it slid down another hill in Seattle.
The Seattle Department of Transportation said it had 18 plows out Sunday night to cover the arterials while 20 salt spreaders will hit transit routes in the morning.
"It’s just scary," said Annie Huang, who's visiting the area from British Columbia.
Huang got to the bottom of a hill in Kenmore and just decided to give up trying to make it to Seattle on her own.
"Scared. And I don’t want to drive anymore. But I’m stuck in the middle. I can’t go anywhere," she said. "In Vancouver, it’s snowing. But I guess there’s less hills. So, I just thought they had salted the road ‘cause it’s being announced that it’s gonna be snowing."
If you can stay off the roads until they’re clear, do it, firefighters said. But if you have to drive, be sure to carry chains, take it slow, and be patient.
It was a sentiment echoed across several Puget Sound area first responders.
- “All roads in and out of Duvall are extremely slick,” says Duvall Fire 45.
- Auburn police reported many stranded cars on Lea Hill.
- Video from Queen Anne Hill in Seattle showed cars spinning tires on just a coating of snow.
- Marysville Police closed 84th Street from 67th Avenue to the top of the hill due to slick roads.
- Kyle Ohashi with Puget Sound Fire said they had several minor crashes in the snow and were sending a Code Red Reverse 911 message telling people to please stay off the icy roads.
- As Stevenson saw plenty of times Sunday night, so many drivers just aren’t prepared for the conditions.
"It’s comical in one way ‘cause I wish sometimes people would prepare better. At the same time, it’s a terrible thing… especially tonight’s Christmas Eve. And this is gonna ruin a lot of people’s Christmas," Stevenson said. "I’m doing this just because it’s Christmas Eve and these people want to get home. I’m trying to do all I can."
Winter Weather Advisories remained in effect until 10 a.m. Monday for continued snow showers that could add up to 0.5 inches to previous accumulations. In addition, temperatures were expected to remain below freezing through the night, keeping roads icy until sunlight Monday.
Conditions will dry out later Monday and remain dry Tuesday until more flurries are possible Tuesday night.
The National Weather Service office in Seattle says it's only the seventh time in Seattle recorded history the city has had measurable snow on Christmas Eve.