Some parts of East King County saw up to two feet of snowfall on Monday night alone, according to the National Weather Service. North Bend and Snoqualmie declared states of emergency in response.
As Seattle-area residents shovel and scrape away the last few remnants of dirty slush, some East King County communities are buried in feet of snow.
That’s right, feet.
It’s so bad the National Guard has been called out.
Some parts of East King County saw up to two feet of snow Monday night alone, according to the National Weather Service. North Bend and Snoqualmie declared states of emergency, meaning they can call in additional resources and may be eligible for state and federal funds to cover the costs of the snow response.
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In some places, the snow has been too deep to plow, leaving residents with little or no access to roads, King County Executive Dow Constantine said at a news conference Wednesday. Officials are also concerned about those affected by power outages.
The county requested assistance from National Guard personnel and vehicles, Constantine said. The state Emergency Management Division is providing four high-clearance vehicles to assist Eastside Fire and Rescue with snow removal.
“This is the worst storm we’ve had in maybe a decade or more,” city of Snoqualmie spokeswoman Joan Pliego said. “We had a bad snowstorm in 2008, and this is much worse than that.”
North Bend was hit with four separate snowstorms starting Feb. 3 and continuing into this week, receiving a total of 32 inches of snow.
Resident Allison Hyll estimated that about 18 inches of snow was still on the ground Wednesday afternoon.
“It seems like another world out here, compared to even 15 miles west of us,” she said.
Crews estimated, based on the routes that haven’t been plowed, that about 100 homeowners hadn’t been able to leave their houses because of the snow Wednesday, city of North Bend spokeswoman Jill Green said.
Elsewhere, many other cities continued to dig out from the snow that closed schools, stranded commuters, disrupted power and left many looking forward to rain. Roofs on some buildings sagged and collapsed amid the heavy snow, including an auto-parts store in Everett.
The Puget Sound region should see rain Thursday and Friday, but it likely won’t be enough to significantly melt away the snow. It also will bring the possibility of flooding and landslides, National Weather Service meteorologist Danny Mercer said. Temperatures across the region should reach the 40s in the coming days, including in East King County, which should offer some relief, he said.
The storm led to the closure of Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass earlier this week from milepost 34 near North Bend to milepost 106 near Ellensburg. The pass has reopened.
There were hundreds of semi-trucks parked in North Bend on Wednesday before the reopening, Eastside Fire Chief Richard Burke said. While truckers were anxious to cross the pass, dropping temperatures would likely make the roads dangerous, he said. The Washington State Patrol will control the traffic over the pass.
The county designated a 24-hour hotline for unincorporated King County residents who can’t get around because of the snow and need nonmedical assistance. Residents can call 206-296-3830 for transportation for medical appointments, fuel, food, shelter or help with evacuating the area.
Officials are urging residents to help clear street drains of ice and snow to prevent flooding. Residents also should stay away from structures that could collapse under heavy snow, and if the power is out, refrain from using generators, gas ovens or grills indoors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
[RELATED: Here’s what to do if the power goes out]
The Snoqualmie Valley School District, which serves about 7,200 students in North Bend, Snoqualmie, Fall City and the surrounding areas, announced that schools will be closed Thursday. If schools reopen Friday, it will only be for one day before midwinter break next week. The district couldn’t reschedule the break because families and teachers already had made plans for the week, spokeswoman Carolyn Malcolm said.
Photos provided by the district from the schools show snow drifts that block entire entrances and partially buried school buses. A leak in the Mount Si High School roof caused damage to the ceiling and floor.
Some other school districts have also announced Thursday closures, including Bellingham, Bremerton, Central Kitsap, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kent, North Mason, Olympia and Shoreline school districts. The University of Washington’s Bothell campus also is closed Thursday.
Seattle Public Schools will have a two-hour delayed start, as will schools in Bethel, Everett, Highline, Renton and Tacoma school districts.