December 25, 2008 in City

West Side to get a break soon

A little snow today; no rest elsewhere
By GEORGE TIBBITS Associated Press

Governor declares state emergency

 OLYMPIA – On Christmas Eve, Gov. Chris Gregoire proclaimed a state of emergency in Washington due to the state’s ongoing series of winter weather and storms.

 Gregoire notes snowfall has reached record or near-record level in 30 of Washington’s 39 counties.

 The proclamation enables the state to respond quickly to local requests for emergency support and assistance arising from new storms.

 As part of the proclamation, Gregoire has temporarily waived the rules that limit the number of hours that a truck driver can haul bulk milk from farms to dairies. The waiver will be in effect for 10 days and is designed to help the state’s dairy industry to avoid losses of nearly $1 million per day if the milk is lost.

 State actions to storm requests are being coordinated through the State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray.

Associated Press

SEATTLE – A week of heavy snow, jammed airports, closed roads and cabin fever had many Washington residents wishing for that traditional Northwest holiday: a rain-soaked Christmas.

For much of Western Washington at least, rain and the possibility of ice-free streets was on the way, the National Weather Service promised Wednesday, but not before one more snowfall due Christmas morning.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, more than two dozen people were treated for eye irritation Wednesday after de-icing fumes entered the cabin of a Boeing 737-800 waiting at an airport gate, Sea-Tac spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt said.

The plane, Alaska Airlines flight 528 to Burbank, Calif., with 143 passengers and six crew members on board, was being de-iced for departure, she said. “Some de-icing fumes made their way into the plane and it’s a pretty good eye irritant.”

Airline spokeswoman Caroline Boren said paramedics treated 25 people, with the most serious treatment being an eye wash. They were 18 passengers and the six members of the crew, plus one off-duty flight attendant. The seven employees were taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out as a precaution, standard procedure for the airline after such incidents, Boren said.

All the passengers were put aboard another plane to Burbank. Officials were investigating how the fumes got into the plane, Boren said.

The last of an estimated 4,000 passengers who had been stranded by weekend storms at the airport were gone by Tuesday, Betancourt said. More snow was falling at the airport south of Seattle, but she said the only delays or cancellations were because of problems at other airports.

Like many in the state, she was tired of the snow.

“I’ve lived here 16 years and this is the first time I’ve thought, ‘I wish it would rain,’ ” she said.

The weather service said she could get her wish, at least briefly. It said 2 more inches of snow were expected in the Seattle area Wednesday before the showers changed to rain later in the day. More snow was possible overnight and on Christmas before warming temperatures bring more rain into the weekend.

For the Cascade Range and the eastern half of the state, the winter weather will be unrelenting. The weather service posted a winter storm warning for the Cascades and Olympics, most of Eastern Washington and parts of northwest Washington.

Up to 18 inches of snow will fall in parts of the Cascades.

Elsewhere in the state, the weather service forecast up to 4 inches of snow in Bellingham by this morning, 4 to 7 inches in Pullman, and 4 to 8 inches around Moses Lake and 3 to 6 inches at Wenatchee.

Seattle awoke to light snow falling on mostly commuter-free streets, as many motorists apparently opted to stay home the day before Christmas.

© Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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