Washington braces for more snow, as it recovers from weekend blizzard

Posted at 1:02 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-11 15:02:11-05
Seattle Winter Storm
A winter storm watch is in effect from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon in the west central region of Washington that includes Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. (photo credit: Elaine Thompson/AP)

This has already been the snowiest February in Seattle in 70 years, and there’s more of the white stuff to come, according to the National Weather Service.

West central Washington residents will be waking up to 1 to 3 inches of snow Monday morning, with some areas possibly seeing an even thicker blanket, the NWS said. That’s after some areas around the Seattle area were covered in more than 10 inches of snow on Saturday, almost giving the city more snow in one day than it usually gets in a year.

A winter storm watch is in effect from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon in the west-central region of Washington that includes Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow is expected to fall on the area throughout the day Monday, before possibly giving way to freezing rain, rain or sleet, the weather service said.

The South Washington Cascades may see up to 36 inches of snow through Monday and into Tuesday morning, as a winter storm warning stays in effect, the weather service said.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. By midweek, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said, it could get gradually warmer with a few sun breaks possible.

Travel nearly ‘impossible’

Travel in western parts of the state could be “very difficult to impossible” Monday with snow-covered roads and limited visibility, the National Weather Service said.

The Washington State Department of Transportation urged drivers to slow down late Sunday after a state patrol vehicle was hit and pushed into a second patrol vehicle on I-90 in the Spokane Valley. A trooper was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Trooper J. Sevigney, a spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol shared on Twitter.

Travel conditions have been hazardous in the state since Saturday. Blizzard conditions left hundreds of drivers stranded on a Washington highway over the weekend.

Gov. Jay Inslee, in declaring a state of emergency on Friday ahead of the winter storm, urged residents to “stay off the roads.” That warning continues as the weekend storm moves out, with local police departments urging drivers to stay inside on Monday unless they absolutely have to leave their homes.

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where a record-breaking amount of snow fell over the weekend, is open. But travelers are advised to check in with airlines for canceled flights and the airport warned that checkpoint waiting times may be longer. More than 200 flights into or out of Seattle-Tacoma on Monday have been canceled.

Emergency shutdowns

Public schools across Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia have canceled classes on Monday. The state legislature said it also is taking the day off, canceling all scheduled committee hearings.

The King County Metro transit service will continue offering abbreviated service through Tuesday, using routes on roadways that have been plowed and treated for snow.

Seattle Monorailsaid it will not open as usual at 7:30 a.m. Monday and will instead assess conditions to determine if and when it can open.

Moderate snow in the Midwest

Elsewhere, light snow and a “patchy freezing drizzle” is expected to sprinkle across Illinois on Monday, according to the National Weather Service, making for slippery driving conditions and limited visibility.

“With winds forecasts to gust 20-30 mph, parts of northern Iowa and Illinois will see visibilities reduced to less than half a mile with blowing and drifting snow in the region,” Javaheri said.

Cities including Des Moines and Cedar Rapids may be covered by up to 8 inches of snow, while Chicago is forecast to see up to 2 inches of snow Monday night and into Tuesday morning, according to Javaheri.

-Christina Maxouris reporting for CNN

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