SEATTLE: Residents of the Pacific Northwest took to neighbourhood hills with skis, sleds or even just laundry baskets to celebrate an unusual dump of snow in a region more accustomed to winter rain.
Some areas received more than a foot of snow, and meteorologists say more is on the way early next week. Hundreds of flights were cancelled in Seattle and Portland, and heavy snow drifts closed major highways in eastern Washington. Around 50,000 people lost power.
Residents cleared out grocery store shelves and left work as the storm arrived. More than a foot of snow (30.5 cm) was recorded by Saturday morning in some areas, including on the Olympic Peninsula, in the nation’s latest bout of winter weather.
In Tacoma, hundreds of people turned out for a snowball fight in a park after someone who lives nearby suggested it on Facebook. They took cover behind picnic tables and used sleds as shields.
“This is a perfect morning to bundle up and play in the snow, but stay off the roads if possible,” Gov. Jay Inslee wrote on Twitter.
In central Washington, blowing snow and drifts 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) deep forced the closure of US 2 and Interstate 90. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office warned that snow drifts were blocking many roads. Airports in eastern Washington closed, and numerous car crashes were reported.
“Snow conditions are worsening minute to minute, so don’t expect travel conditions to improve,” the sheriff’s office wrote. The National Weather Service said additional snow could fall on Saturday, and another storm was expected early next week.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2019