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Skykomish mayor explains why there was no emergency shelter open during snowstorm

Some people who were stranded on US 2 near Skykomish questioned why the town did not open an emergency shelter, even though it has a plan for one.

SKYKOMISH, Wash. — Some people who were stranded overnight on US 2 near Skykomish questioned why the town did not open an emergency shelter, even though it has a plan for one.

Skykomish Mayor Henry Sladek said the town has a protocol for opening a shelter at a local school with cots, supplies, and a generator, but the “totally unusual circumstances” of Sunday’s snow made opening the shelter nearly impossible.

Hundreds of cars were stuck on Highway 2 and town staff and first responders were not able to reach the school to open the shelter, Sladek said.

“People couldn’t even get down there, our town was a mess, roads were blocked,” he said.

RELATED: US 2 over Stevens Pass closed until at least Tuesday morning

The shelter also would not have been big enough for all the people who might’ve needed a place to stay, Sladek said. Skykomish has supplies for about 150 people and Sladek said far more than that were stranded and in need of help.

The shelter is primarily for a flooding event and is meant to house most of the people in Skykomish who would have to evacuate when a rising Skykomish River forces them from their home, Sladek said.

In the absence of a shelter, Steve Larner, owner of Sky Deli and Pizza, opened his business to those who were stranded, even though he didn’t have power. He provided stranded drivers with a place to use the bathroom and get a drink of water. He also sold sandwiches and pizzas, which he cooked on his gas-powered BBQ grill.

“We fed at least 200 people last night and into this morning, we didn’t get home until 2:30 am,” Larner said.

RELATED: Timeline: Icy roads and below freezing temps for Seattle region Tuesday