Icy roads spawn crashes, school delays around Puget Sound

SEATTLE - Icy roads were a factor in scores of crashes and spinouts Tuesday morning in many areas of the Puget Sound region, as traffic officials warned drivers to exercise extreme care. At least two people were injured in separate crashes, according to preliminary reports.

Despite the lack of snowfall in most areas near sea level, there were reports of slick roads in the Cascade foothills, the Sumner Valley and many other areas where colder air pooled near the surface. Individual reports of icy roads came in from Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Sumner, Renton's West Hill, Redmond and Sammamish.

The National Weather Service earlier issued an advisory about black ice on roadways in Bellevue, Issaquah, North Bend, Everett and the surrounding areas, including Edmonds, Lynnwood, Marysville, Covington, Maple Valley, Monroe, Prairie Ridge, Enumclaw, Bonney Lake, Woodinville, Kirkland, Bothell, Kenmore, Newport Hills and Seattle.

One particularly bad spot was near the intersection of 87th Avenue SE and 180th Street SE, south of Snohomish, where more than a dozen cars spun off the roadway around 6 a.m. One person was taken to the hospital and 180th Street was closed at the scene for a few hours.

The icy conditions led a number of school districts to delay or cancel classes on Tuesday morning.

A winter weather advisory issued earlier was later canceled in the South Sound, but roads remained slick in many areas.

In the meantime, everyone will soon begin to feel the return of the winter chill. Modified arctic air is starting to spill back in from British Columbia, with a Wind Advisory in effect for the Whatcom County and San Juan Island areas for northeast wind gusts up to 50 mph Tuesday.

Temperatures in the mid-upper 30s Tuesday morning across the lowlands will likely stay in the mid 30s once the colder air makes its way south.

That sets us up for another few days of freezing weather. Lows Tuesday night will drop into the 20s, freezing the wet roads where rain or snow fell Tuesday morning and making for another potentially slick commute Wednesday morning.

Wednesday and Thursday will be back to the familiar routine of generally sunny but cold with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s. We slowly warm back into the 40s for the weekend and then it's goodbye to the cold for a while with as long range forecasts suggest a more typical mild, rainy pattern is in store.

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