SEATTLE — Though the bulk of heavy snowfall ended by mid-afternoon on Sunday, impacts from the winter storm continue.
Those who don't need to travel should consider staying home, as roads are slick and snow-covered.
Across western Washington, snow-packed and icy roads are causing problems for drivers.
Now, with temperatures dropping into the teens or even single digits overnight through Wednesday, ice has formed on many roads. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) warned drivers heading back to work Tuesday should continue to give themselves "lots" of extra time on the roads, especially smaller state routes that feed into the major highways.
Washington state Troopers responded to 168 crashes in Pierce and Thurston counties by midday. On Monday, troopers responded to a total of 153 crashes.
Tuesday morning, Kris Olsen with WSDOT said, "Our crews actually made a lot of great progress overnight on the main interstates, especially on I-405, I-5 and I-90. Where I think people are going to see the most trouble of some of those state routes that feed into the interstate."
Olsen said WSDOT is operating 100 plows on 12-hour shifts since last week when snow started coming down in the region.
"They are tired, and so for drivers really, you need to give our plow drivers and our crews lots of extra room to work as they go out there and continue treating the roads, trying to remove the snow and ice," Olsen said.
Washington State Patrol (WSP) responded to a total of 184 crashes in King County between Saturday and Monday morning. Troopers also responded to another 615 incidents such as vehicles becoming stuck across the county.
On Sunday alone, WSP responded to 166 crashes in Pierce and Thurston counties, mostly due to the weather.
Traffic and law enforcement officials encourage everyone who can stay home to avoid travel.
Anyone traveling over the Cascade passes should prepare for winter driving conditions.
The westbound lanes of I-90 were closed for about two hours Tuesday morning due to spinouts and crashes. The WSDOT reopened the westbound lanes just after noon. As of 12:25 p.m., traction tires were required on eastbound and westbound I-90, and chains were required for vehicles over “10,000 gross vehicle weight.” Oversized vehicles are prohibited.
WSP Trooper John Bryant said westbound I-90 closed after a semi-truck was traveling too fast for winter conditions and struck three other semi-trucks that were chaining up. One person was taken to the hospital with a minor injury.
As of 12:25 p.m., chains are required on all vehicles except all-wheel drive on Stevens Pass, and oversized vehicles were prohibited.
Here's how you can check current conditions:
Some public transit agencies are operating on snow routes due to winter weather conditions. King County Metro announced it would remain on its snow routes through Tuesday.
Additionally, Pierce Transit is offering free rides to warming centers through at least Dec. 30.
Washington State Ferries (WSF) said nearly all routes will operate on alternate service schedules Tuesday, except for the Edmonds-Kingston route which will run on two-boat service.
WSF said the Anacortes-San Juan Islands route will run on its alternate schedule with two-boat service due to a lack of crew. Interisland travel is suspended Tuesday, and all Tillikum’s sailings are canceled.
Drivers are urged to use caution at ferry terminals due to slick and snowy conditions.
Route-by-route schedule information can be found at the links below:
The number of power outages slowly grew Sunday but remained scattered throughout the region.
Here's how to check for and report outages in your area:
Most of western Washington did not have their garbage collected on Monday due to unsafe road conditions.
Recology King County canceled all collection services Tuesday as well. Recology tweeted that “collection will resume as soon as it is safe to do so.”
To see who shouldn't expect their trash to be picked up and what to do about it, click here.
By midday Sunday, there was an average flight delay of an hour at Sea-Tac Airport as planes were de-iced and snow and ice were removed from the runways. There were a total of 475 delays on Sunday and 278 cancellations, according to FlightAware.
Delays and cancellations continued Tuesday and could very well last through the week. As of 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, there were a total of 214 delays and 203 cancelations at Sea-Tac Airport, according to FlightAware.
PHOTOS: Snow falls across western Washington on Christmas weekend 2021
How to prepare for travel
If you don't need to drive, wear extra layers, have a full tank of gas, and check your tires before driving.
Bring water, a blanket and shovel in your car, in case you get stuck.
Most importantly, slow down and give yourself more time to reach your destination.
Not all highways are plowed right away. WSDOT has a priority plow map to focus on major highways first. Olsen said plows will focus on interstates first, like Interstate 5 and 405, before moving on to major highways like US 2.
Fresh snow across the region overnight Monday means that many of the plows will need to return to the same areas to place more treatment to help melt the ice and remove the snow.
"Up north got hit pretty hard, Whatcom and Skagit County, so they've been working really hard to try to clear roads up there. And then of course, we did have more snow flurries overnight widespread across the region," Olsen said. "So, we're going to have to go back to a lot of those places that we scraped stuff off and start over again."