Home > Oregon, Washington State, Weather > Pacific Northwest grinds to halt as twin snowstorms batter region

Pacific Northwest grinds to halt as twin snowstorms batter region

January 19, 2012

www.dailymail.co.uk

Howling winter weather hit the northwest of the country as four central states on reported tornadoes, the National Weather Service said.

A cold front combined with a warm and humid air mass contributed to the unseasonable twisters which were also spotted in Tennessee, Indiana and Mississippi, Dan Pydynowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.com said.

Damages reported from the twisters have been mostly to buildings, vehicles, power lines and trees while one injury was reported in Mississippi where a person suffered a possible broken arm after the tornado struck their home.

Whiteout: A pedestrian walks on a snow-covered street in SeattleWhiteout: A pedestrian walks on a snow-covered street in Seattle

 

Snowed in: Snow blankets cars and homes in Tacoma, WashingtonSnowed in: Snow blankets cars and homes in Tacoma, Washington

Hitting hard: State troopers in the northwest reported 95 accidents in eight hours in what many residents dubbed 'Snowmageddon' while central states dodged 10 tornadoesHitting hard: State troopers in the northwest reported 95 accidents in eight hours in what many residents dubbed ‘Snowmageddon’ while central states dodged 10 tornadoes

Around the unseasonable central states’ weather, the Pacific Northwest is receiving its own pummel of 100mph winds and near-record snowfall in some areas Wednesday stacking up to 16in.

Sheltering from the winter weather in the north east, parts of Oregon have seen winds reach as high as 110mph, bringing much of the region to a standstill.

 

From the Washington state capital in Olympia to the Oregon coast, schools were closed, roads were clogged with snow and hundreds of accidents and dozens of flights were cancelled.

In an eight-hour period near the capital, there were 95 accidents, mostly spin outs, according to a state trooper.

Cary Rheder of Newcastle, Washington, shovels snow off his car in downtown Bellevue while on his way to workCary Rheder of Newcastle, Washington, shovels snow off his car in downtown Bellevue while on his way to work

West coast freeze: The winter storm blasted the Pacific Northwest Wednesday, dumping near-record snow in some areas, hammering parts of Oregon with winds as high as 110 mph

West coast freeze: The winter storm blasted the Pacific Northwest Wednesday, dumping near-record snow in some areas, hammering parts of Oregon with winds as high as 110 mph

 

No business like snow business: Jeff Jarvis, facilities manager at the famous Pike Place Market, shovels snow at the landmark site No business like snow business: Jeff Jarvis, facilities manager at the famous Pike Place Market, shovels snow at the landmark site

The storm, nicknamed ‘Snowmageddon’ as it approached the Puget Sound region, proved less extreme than originally forecast, with the National Weather Service lowering its outlook for possible snow accumulations from up to ten inches to around six inches, meteorologist Dustin Guy said.

‘If you get off the beaten path, you’re in deep trouble,’ State Trooper Guy Gill said. ‘I saw a guy in my rear mirror. I saw headlights and tail lights and headlights and tail lights again as he spun around off the road.’

‘For the first time in my career, I had to put chains on,’ he said. ‘You stay in the path laid down on the freeway.’

Forecasters expect ‘good old rain back Friday and Saturday.’

But warmer weather could lead to icy conditions, and Seattle officials urged people to find and clear street storm drains that could get clogged and cause severe flooding.

Winter wonderland: A Metro bus drives under a canopy of snow-covered trees in Pioneer Square in SeattleWinter wonderland: A Metro bus drives under a canopy of snow-covered trees in Pioneer Square in Seattle

 

Not all bad: Seattle residents Joe Moore (right) and Sam Clement, both 12, take advantage of the winter white in Maple Leaf ParkNot all bad: Seattle residents Joe Moore (right) and Sam Clement, both 12, take advantage of the winter white in Maple Leaf Park

Olympia had about a foot of new snow on the ground by 7.30am. The city could break its record of 14in of snow in a 24-hour period, Mr Colman said. Areas south of Olympia could get 20in. ‘They’re getting hammered,’ Mr Colman said.

Tacoma had about seven inches of snow for the morning rush hour. Seattle had compact snow and ice on roads for commuters. Lesser amounts were reported north of Seattle.

Southeast Washington also is getting a good shot of snow with six to ten inches expected in the Palouse, meteorologist Colby Neuman said. ‘This will be right up with the most snow this season,’ Mr Neuman said. ‘This has been an un-snowy winter.’

Wacky way to weather the weather: Seattle-area resident Jamshid Khajavi sees the heavy snowfall as an opportunity to ski cross-country from his home in Kirkland to Bellevue, Washington, a 20 miles round-tripWacky way to weather the weather: Seattle-area resident Jamshid Khajavi sees the heavy snowfall as an opportunity to ski cross-country from his home in Kirkland to Bellevue, Washington, a 20 miles round-trip

 

Lovely night for a stroll: A winter snow inspires Lincoln neighborhood residents to take an early morning walk in Vancouver, WashingtonLovely night for a stroll: A winter snow inspires Lincoln neighborhood residents to take an early morning walk in Vancouver, Washington

High winds have begun hammering parts of the Oregon coast and causing power outages, with reports of gusts of 100mph and more. There were no immediate reports of serious damage.

Heavy snow has been falling in Washington’s mountains with up to two feet of fresh snow expected by Thursday.

Interstate 90 across Snoqualmie Pass was shut down for much of Tuesday for avalanche control work.

Tricky navigation: A pedestrian makes his way through snowy streets in Seattle. Many of the city's schools cancelled class preemptively Tricky navigation: A pedestrian makes his way through snowy streets in Seattle. Many of the city’s schools cancelled class preemptively

 

Washington residents had plenty of warning as snow showers started over the weekend. With the heavy snow in sight, Seattle and other school districts cancelled classes in advance.

Alaska Airlines announced late Tuesday that it cancelled 38 flights into and out of Seattle and Portland, Oregon, Several downtown Seattle hotels reported all their rooms were booked.

Elsewhere, shoppers stocked up on groceries. Many courts and government offices and libraries closed. Garbage collection was postponed. Senator Patty Murray cancelled her event at a Tacoma company where she planned to talk about employing veterans.

White out: A United Airlines passenger plane was de-iced at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport during the storm. Some flights were cancelled and many delayed because of the snow and cold temperaturesWhite out: A United Airlines passenger plane was de-iced at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport during the storm. Some flights were cancelled and many delayed because of the snow and cold temperatures

Pat Hansen and her 17-year-old daughter, Emily, were taking photos of the growing piles of snow outside the Capitol in Olympia Wednesday morning.

‘I love it,’ said Emily Hansen, who had the day off because Olympia High School was closed, along with most other schools in the region.

Her mom’s enthusiasm was more measured. ‘A day or two it’s fun, but after a while you start looking at accidents and slush and flooding,’ she said.

It was business as usual at the Capitol, where committee hearings were still being held, if not fully attended.

Some state employees drove into work, but others walked in, and at least one employee was seen cross-country skiing to the Capitol campus.

The 60-day legislative session began on January 9.

The governor could declare a state of emergency if conditions worsen, Reuters reports.

Grey city: The Space Needle is seen as snow flurry clouds surround downtown Seattle the day before the snowstorm hitGrey city: The Space Needle is seen as snow flurry clouds surround downtown Seattle the day before the snowstorm hit

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