Snow marched through the Puget Sound area in surprising amounts, snarling traffic and closing most schools and colleges. More could be on the way, along with bitter cold.
After a morning of spinouts, power outages and flight delays, more snow and icy conditions are expected in Seattle ahead of the evening commute.
Another snow band is expected move through Seattle between between 2 and 4 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service. That band will likely deliver only trace amounts of snow, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. But anything on the ground is expected to stick around, Burg said.
“Any melting that has occurred — it’s just going to refreeze tonight,” Burg said, pointing to expected lows in the 20s for Seattle Monday night. That pattern is likely to repeat Tuesday, creating the possibility of black ice, Burg said. The National Weather Service is advising people to give themselves extra time for commutes and to drive slowly.
Snow in King, Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties led most Puget Sound-area schools to delay or cancel classes. About 10,000 Seattle City Light customers are without power, with the largest failures reported in White Center, Burien and Shoreline, according to the utility company.
By 8 a.m. Monday at Sea-Tac International Airport, there were 62 canceled flights and 124 delayed flights, according to Flight Aware, which tracks airport flight information.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the weather sparked implementation of a Traffic Management Program for flights arriving at the Seattle airport.
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“This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 2 hours and 36 minutes,” the FAA said on its website. “To see if you may be affected, select your departure airport and check ‘Delays by Destination.'”
All state ferry routes are operating, but the weather has wreaked some havoc on the system. Rough waves shattered a window on one vessel traveling the Edmonds-Kingston route. Elevators on another boat were out of service, restrooms were out of service at the Port Townsend terminal because of frozen pipes and some terminals were operating on generators because of power outages, according to Washington State Ferries.
Riders can check the state ferries website for information about delays.
Temperatures remained below freezing Monday morning, the opening day for the Highway 99 tunnel.
All public schools are closed today in Seattle, Lake Washington, Kent, Federal Way, Bellevue, Highline, Shoreline, Renton, Vashon, Bellingham, Port Townsend and Tacoma.
Check your school district website for the latest details.
Area universities are also canceling classes. The University of Washington closed its Seattle and Bothell campuses Monday, while the Tacoma campus remained open. Seattle Colleges also closed its campuses.
Seattle University was scheduled to open at 11 a.m. but ended up canceling classes. Seattle Pacific University’s offices are scheduled to open at 10 a.m., and classes are delayed until 11 a.m.
Snow, which began to fall in earnest on Sunday as many were sitting down to watch the Super Bowl, made road conditions difficult. Washington State Patrol reported numerous spinouts on Interstate 5 near the Skagit-Snohomish county line.
Forecasters said on Sunday the showery nature of the storm was likely to bring varied accumulations, with some areas receiving as little as half an inch of snow. The Strait of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet were under a winter storm watch. Accumulations in the northern Olympic Peninsula were forecast to reach between 1 inch and 4 inches, according to NWS.
In Queen Anne, drivers of five vehicles slid into a pileup Monday morning as icy roads made it difficult to stop. Tyler Hale, a delivery driver for Northwest Coffee Supply, watched the slow-speed wreck unfold.
His vehicle was the first to slide backward down the hill. Then several others traveling toward Hale slid into him, creating a pileup in the middle of the street. No one was injured, Hale said. It was unclear when snow plows would make it to the area, and tow trucks wouldn’t come for fear of getting stuck, Hale said.
Instead, drivers left their vehicles in the road and went in search of warmth. At least one nearby resident was inviting people in, offering them coffee. “There are still good people in the world when something like this happens,” Hale said.
This winter’s first measurable snowfall in Puget Sound resulted from a combination of cold air arriving from British Columbia and a deep low-pressure system traveling south along the coast to bring precipitation. Temperatures early in the workweek are expected to be 10 to 15 degrees cooler than normal, with highs through Wednesday in the 30s and lower 40s, and low temperatures dipping into the teens, according to National Weather Service.
Seattle Times news producer Taylor Blatchford and staff reporters Crystal Paul and Benjamin Romano contributed to this report.