Northwest hit with more snow, wind, power outages, 2 rescued
SKYKOMISH, Wash. (AP) — More snow fell in the Northwest through Wednesday, causing Washington state officials to send food, water and fuel to an area hit hard northeast of Seattle and resulting in a hourslong rescue of a stranded couple southwest of Mt. Bachelor in Oregon.
The Seattle metro area didn’t see much new snow but many schools, including those in Seattle, remain delayed or closed because of lingering snow and ice.
Reports from Port Angeles ranged up to 20 inches of snow. North of Seattle, Mount Vernon tallied 8 inches of snow while Anacortes recorded 12.
Scattered power outages were reported throughout Western Washington including one that kept chairlifts from running temporarily at Crystal Mountain ski area. More than 26,000 customers were left in the dark Wednesday afternoon as winds increased, according to Puget Sound Energy and the Snohomish Public Utility District.
Some of those customers live in areas along U.S. Highway 2 near Stevens Pass, where downed trees and power lines largely closed that part of the highway since Sunday. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that the state Emergency Management Division brought food, water and fuel to that area between Gold Bar and Skykomish and that they were also offering voluntary evacuations.
Patience was wearing thin for some n those areas Tuesday night, KING-TV reported.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10,” said Baring resident Charlie Preston. “It’s hell.”
Skykomish Fire Chief James Knisley said Wednesday that he expected power to be out for a long time and that an emergency shelter was being set up at the school in town. “Some places have over three feet of snow and people can’t get out of their houses,” he told KOMO-TV.
Inslee said he was closely following the situation and that he and his staff had talked with mayors and other local leaders there.
“We will work to provide whatever these communities need. The safety of Washingtonians in this region is paramount,” he tweeted.
The state Department of Transportation opened portions of U.S. 2 on Wednesday for local access up to Skykomish while the highway from Skykomish to Stevens Pass remained closed because of power lines across the roadway, officials said.
In Oregon, many schools were delayed because of concerns about icy roads. Two people southwest of Mt. Bachelor were rescued after they drove to Cultus Lake and became stranded after experiencing car trouble, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Brad Barron, 33, walked several miles in the snow Tuesday until he was able to get a cellphone signal and call for help, the sheriff’s office said. It took rescuers nine hours to reach them but both Barron and his wife were found cold but in good condition, officials said.
Oregon Department of Transportation officials warned of limited visibility and high winds on roads in the eastern part of the state Wednesday. Freezing rain in the Columbia Gorge Wednesday evening could make travel on Interstate 84 dangerous, the National Weather Service said.