Snow­storm buries Pa­cific North­west

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL / NATION - BY GENE JOHN­SON

SEAT­TLE — Res­i­dents of the Pa­cific North­west took to neigh­bor­hood hills with skis, sleds or even just laun­dry bas­kets Satur­day to cel­e­brate an un­usual dump of snow in a re­gion more ac­cus­tomed to win­ter rain.

Some ar­eas re­ceived more than a foot of snow, and me­te­o­rol­o­gists say more is on the way early next week. Hun­dreds of flights were can­celed in Seat­tle and Port­land, and heavy snow drifts closed ma­jor high­ways in east­ern Washington. Around 50,000 people lost power.

Res­i­dents cleared out gro­cery store shelves and left work early Fri­day af­ter­noon as the storm ar­rived. More than a foot of snow was recorded by Satur­day morn­ing in some ar­eas, in­clud­ing on the Olympic Penin­sula, in the na­tion’s lat­est bout of win­ter weather.

In Ta­coma, hun­dreds of people turned out for a snow­ball fight in a park af­ter some­one who lives nearby sug­gested it on Face­book. They took cover be­hind pic­nic ta­bles and used sleds as shields.

“This is a per­fect morn­ing to bun­dle up and play in the snow, but stay off the roads if pos­si­ble,” Gov. Jay Inslee wrote on Twit­ter.

In cen­tral Washington, blow­ing snow and drifts 3 to 4 feet deep forced the clo­sure of U.S. 2 and In­ter­state 90. The Grant County Sher­iff’s Of­fice warned that snow drifts were block­ing many roads. Air­ports in east­ern Washington closed, and nu­mer­ous car crashes were re­ported.

“Snow con­di­tions are wors­en­ing minute to minute, so don’t ex­pect travel con­di­tions to im­prove,” the sher­iff ’s of­fice wrote.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said ad­di­tional snow could fall Sun­day, and another storm was ex­pected early next week.

About 180 people spent the night at an emer­gency shel­ter set up at Seat­tle Cen­ter, with of­fi­cials go­ing out again on Satur­day to get other home­less res­i­dents to safety. Inslee de­clared a state of emer­gency over the storm. The state trans­porta­tion depart­ment said crews had to clear sev­eral trees that had fallen across roads in the Ta­coma area.

In Port­land, a tanker truck slid into a sport util­ity ve­hi­cle on an in­ter­change be­tween In­ter­states 5 and 84 on Satur­day, block­ing the ramp for hours.

Other parts of the coun­try were also wrestling with dif­fi­cult weather. Res­i­dents of Hawaii were brac­ing for coastal flood­ing amid ex­treme surf pre­dic­tions.


Sev­eral hun­dred people take part in a pub­lic snow­ball fight Satur­day at Wright Park in Ta­coma, Wash. Word of the friendly battle spread on so­cial me­dia Fri­day night and Satur­day, as a win­ter storm that blan­keted Washington state with snow moved south into Ore­gon and me­te­o­rol­o­gists warned that yet more win­ter weather was on the way.

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