It appears 2019 was determined to go out with a gust.
In Seattle, stiff breezes canceled New Year’s Eve fireworks.
But that’s nothing compared to what happened in Benton County, where 30-50 mph winds Tuesday night blew a small mountain of tumbleweeds onto Highway 240, closing the road for 10 hours and trapping five cars and one 18-wheel semi truck under a pile of prickly bushes reaching as high as 30 feet.
No injuries were reported.
“In 20 years on the job, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Thorson. “We’ve unofficially dubbed it ‘Tumbleggedon 2020.'”
The state Department of Transportation sent two snowplows to clear the tumbleweeds, which covered the road for a distance of roughly three football fields, Thorson said. The snowplows moved slowly to avoid hitting buried cars, and the road re-opened at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The cars became trapped when drivers slowed to wade through the thicket of tumbleweed, then were covered by even more spiny plants, Thorson said.
The occupants, Thorson said, “were not as amused as the rest of the people watching. Some of them had to ring in their New Year fully encased in tumbleweeds.”