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Snow means delayed flights, freeway collisions and canceled ferries for Seattle-area travelers

UPDATED: Sun., Dec. 26, 2021

By Daniel Beekman</p><p>and Sydney Brownstone Seattle Times

Snowy conditions disrupted travel across the Seattle area Sunday, factoring into delayed planes, freeway collisions and canceled buses and ferries.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Sunday afternoon, departing flights were delayed by an average of 50 minutes and arriving flights were delayed by an average of 30 minutes. Waits were longer Sunday morning, reaching about an hour for both departures and arrivals.

According to FlightAware, there had been 187 delayed flights (36% of all flights) and 113 cancellations (22% of all flights) at Sea-Tac as of 4 p.m.

The last time Sea-Tac experienced such challenging snow conditions was almost two years ago in February 2019, said Kate Hudson, a spokesperson for the airport.

During that storm, airport workers removed enough snow from planes to fill 48 swimming pools, Hudson said. But the 2019 storm didn’t occur during the holiday season and a pandemic.

With the top floor of the Sea-Tac parking garage closed due to snow, officials encouraged travelers Sunday to take light rail, if possible.

The only bright spot? The airport’s security lines were moving quickly Sunday afternoon, Hudson said.

There were troubling signs on the freeways, as well, with collisions and disabled vehicles reported Sunday in Seattle, South King County, Snohomish County and the Eastside.

The Washington State Department of Transportation asked motorists to stay home, if possible, and if not then to slow down, clear vehicles of snow before driving and give plow crews plenty of room to work.

As some roads started showing bare patches of asphalt, officials issued a warning.

“Don’t be fooled. Those wet roads will turn to ice in a big hurry,” WSDOT posted on Twitter.

King County Metro buses were running on snow routes Sunday, as were several Sound Transit express bus routes. Sound Transit canceled its express bus route between Northgate and Everett, complicating travel for Snohomish County football fans heading home from an afternoon Seahawks game in Seattle.

Amtrak trains were experiencing some weather-related delays, while waterborne travelers were also affected, as Washington State Ferries closed service Sunday afternoon between Coupeville and Port Townsend.

In Seattle, work crews spent Sunday plowing and spreading salt on some of the city’s most important streets, while others were left under snow.

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