Snowiest storm in 5 years leaves much of Puget Sound region blanketed in white
SEATTLE -- It was finally our turn.
Left out of a number of winter storms that left several inches of snow in Portland and Vancouver this winter, Seattle finally joined the foray with its strongest region-wide winter storm of the season. In fact, it was the strongest storm Seattle had seen in over five years!
Snow totals ranged from about an inch or two in the heart of Seattle to over a foot in southeastern King and Pierce County. Frederickson (15") and Graham (14") were the leaders, with 14" while Bonney Lake has 13" and Eatonville was right around a foot. It made for a snow day across the region as over 150 schools canceled classes, including Seattle, Auburn, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Issaquah. Lake Washington, North Thurston, Olympia, Puyallup, and Tacoma.
The snow was fun to play in for the kids, but the heavy, wet snow was too much for many trees, which sagged under the tremendous weight, taking out a number of power lines with them. At the storm's peak, about 110,000 customers without power, including over 103,000 from Puget Sound Energy and 11,000 from Seattle City Light. By 11:30 p.m. those numbers had dropped to around 1,200 for PSE and about 80 customers for City Light.
In the Bridle Trails area, a massive tree fell on the edge of John Batts’ front yard.
It wasn’t that tree that cut power to his home Monday morning. It was another one up the road that fell hours later.
Both trees landed across the road, which caused drivers to take turns as they bravely passed by or underneath.
Batts told KOMO News he’s typically one of the last people to get power restored when his lights go out. The longest he’s ever gone without power was seven or eight days.
“I hope it’s not gonna be that long,” Batts said with a chuckle.
Right now, there’s no estimate yet on when all of Puget Sound Energy’s affected customers will have their lights back on. Crews should have a better handle on the situation sometime Tuesday afternoon, a spokeswoman told KOMO News on Monday night.
In Seattle, a man was injured when a snow-laden tree fell on him at a Green Lake area dog park, emergency officials and witnesses said. Crews responded to the scene, in the 5700 block of West Green Lake Way North, about 12:20 p.m. after receiving reports that a tree had fallen and trapped someone under it. A Seattle Fire Department spokesperson later said one person was injured at the scene. He was taken to the hospital and is expected to fully recover.
At Sea-Tac Airport, dozens of flights were canceled. Alaska Airlines says they had to cancel 82 flights due to snow and icy conditions, affecting about 10,000 passengers trying to leave Seattle Monday.
Spokesperson Bobbie Egan says they've had trouble getting some of their staff to the airport, and significant delays were caused by deicing.
"It's taking 30-45 minutes to deice a single plane, which is a significant issue to get planes out," Egan said Monday morning. "It's a messy scene and we apologize for that, but it's a severe event at Sea-Tac. If you don't have to travel today, please don't. Stay at home and we'll take care of you."
Up in the mountains, heavy snow across the passes has created unstable conditions, and WSDOT closed I-90 between North Bend and Ellensburg for several hours due to high avalanche danger. Nearly 20" of snow had fallen in the pass overnight on top of 34" that had fallen in the previous couple of days.
The roadway reopened just before 2 p.m.
In the lowlands, some roads were so slick, drivers had to abandon their cars, especially along the higher Eastside foothills. In Redmond, police say seven Metro buses became stuck on a hill across seven blocks of 152nd Avenue Northeast, blocking intersections.
And near Sammamish, NE Tolt Hill Road between 280th Place NE and State Route 202 was closed due to a slide and downed trees.
Snow covered roads also meant several neighborhoods would have to forego garbage pickup service.
Snowiest Seattle Storm in Over 5 Years
Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport reported 7.1" of snow as of 10 a.m. Monday, making it the snowiest storm since the great snow and ice storm of January, 2012.
The 5.1" measured Monday alone makes it the snowiest day since Jan. 18, 2012 (6.8") and the snowiest February day since 6.3" fell on Feb. 17, 1990.
In Seattle's hilly Queen Anne neighborhood, children and parents took advantage of the neighborhood slopes to sled and use boogie boards to snowboard. Snow angels and snow creatures were also being made.
"It's awesome, especially because I had a life-skill test today and now it's delayed until Thursday," said Allette Franklin, 12.
Her 11-year-old friend Josie Kinney agreed. "It's almost a miniature Christmas," she said.
Nearby, Stephanie Krammel was making a snowman with her daughter.
"This doesn't happy very often in Seattle, and nobody knows what to do because the roads are normally a mess. A snow day in Seattle . is very rare and very fun, I would say," she said.
Snow showers remain in the forecast for Monday and even a few isolated showers could linger into Tuesday. But the snow won't last too long -- a big warm up is coming for Thursday as we tilt back to a warm and rainy pattern.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.