Whiteout conditions making driving treacherous

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 24, 2011 at 5:29 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 6:17 PM

SEATTLE – Heavy snowfall and gusty winds created treacherous driving conditions Wednesday night across Western Washington.

Drivers in Skagit County were warned not to drive on Interstate 5 in Mount Vernon. The Washington State Patrol said snow and wind were creating whiteout conditions. At one point, a stuck semi was blocking northbound I-5 at the Skagit River Bridge and another semi was blocking the northbound I-5 off-ramp to State Route 20.

Drivers stuck on Sahalee Way in Redmond were abandoning their cars. Drivers on southbound Interstate 5 near Sea-Tac were crawling along.

For much of the day Wednesday, the expected snow storm concentrated to the north, east and south regions, but as of 7 p.m., there were still just minor accumulations in Seattle. Jeff Renner explains what happened

Overnight lows Wednesday were expected in the 20s with continued snow showers, said KING 5 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Renner. Snowfall was expected to be between a trace and two inches between Seattle and Tacoma. Get latest forecast

South of Tacoma, west of Puget Sound and north of Seattle could see up to four inches overnight. The exceptions will be along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Snohomish and Skagit counties and along the Cascade foothills, which could see up to six inches.

The other problem is strong, gusty winds expected in the San Juans, Whatcom County and northwest Skagit County Wednesday night into Thursday. Check school closures and delays

Expect icy and slushy driving conditions Thursday followed by more cold temperatures. That will mean potentially icy roads on Friday and Saturday.

Drivers headed over the Cascade passes should brace for heavy snow and difficult driving conditions. Be prepared for intermittent closures.

The Washington Department of Transportation said it did not expect a repeat of the November storm that caused the evening commute to last until the early morning hours, but they had sand, salt and snow plows ready to get ahead of trouble spots. Transit agencies also placed some of their buses on snow routes.

Some school districts played it safe and canceled school Wednesday, and some businesses told their workers to go home early.

 

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