SEATTLE – The National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound area south to Vancouver and warned of hazardous conditions throughout the rest of Washington state.
Blowing snow, ice and temperatures in the mid-20s turned the Monday evening commute in the Puget Sound region into an hours-long slog. Weather-related accidents intermittently tied up major highways in all directions.
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a China Airlines Boeing 747 cargo plane landing in snowy conditions Monday afternoon overshot its runway stopping point. No injuries were reported, airport spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt said. The plane overshot the runway’s designated stopping point by about 100 feet but still stopped on concrete in the runway’s safety area, she said.
Two people were killed Monday when the car they were in slid on a snowy road at Cowiche near Yakima and collided with another car, the Washington State Patrol said.
In Tacoma, a Pierce County Transit bus slid down a steep hill and overturned near the University of Washington campus. Transit system spokesman Lars Erickson said 20 people were aboard, and fire department spokesman Joe Meinecke said 12 were taken to hospitals to be checked out.
No serious injuries were reported.
Sunshine was forecast today in Seattle, with partly cloudy skies Wednesday and cold rain arriving by the next day.
For holiday travelers, “It’s a little too early to tell how much of an impact it will have,” said weather service meteorologist Dennis D’Amico in Seattle.
Many schools opened late or sent students home early Monday. Many evening events were canceled.
Many drivers opted to stay home.
Alejandro Valladares, 47, who lives in West Seattle, stopped at a hardware store Monday to buy two sleds for his kids.
“We decided not to take them to school, and I’m sure they’re going to ask me to take them out in the snow,” he said. “It’s pretty, but I don’t like to drive in snow.”
Cities and counties were plowing streets and putting down deicer, and many opened warming shelters for the homeless.
Many government offices closed early. At Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma, nonessential service members and civilian employees were sent home at midafternoon.
In the Seattle area, the weather service said the snow would be driven by north winds of 20 to 30 mph with local gusts near 40 mph. The wind and temperatures near freezing meant a wind chill factor in the teens.
A steady snowfall covered the Everett area, said Snohomish County spokesman Christopher Schwarzen.
“Right now, we have about a dozen trucks out, but we’re mounting every plow and sander we have in preparation for worse weather,” he said.