Snow falls in Seattle, Portland during rare cold snap

SEATTLE (AP) — Snow fueled by unusually cold weather blanketed parts of the Pacific Northwest on Sunday, slowing travel but also providing a rare chance to sled and ski in the Seattle area.

Between 3 and 5 inches (7 and 13 centimeters) of snow fell in Seattle overnight. More than a foot (0.3 meters) of snow was reported near Port Angeles across the Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula.

Another 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 centimeters) of snow were expected to fall in parts of northwest and west central Washington during the day but the heaviest snow had moved out of the Seattle area by the afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

Portland received a dusting of snow from the storm but the city was expected to get another 2.5 inches (6 centimeters) by Monday morning, according to the weather service.

“It’s cold enough for snow and there’s enough moisture around,” National Weather Service Seattle meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch told The Seattle Times.

There were some power outages. Puget Sound Energy reported about 5,800 customers without power Sunday evening in the Puget Sound area, mostly north of Seattle.

Flights out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were delayed by an average of about an hour around midday, as planes were de-iced and the runways plowed, the airport said.

Near Grants Pass, Oregon, cars and trucks lined up near a checkpoint on northbound Interstate 5 as officials inspected trucks to see if they had chains to increase their traction on the snow. Trucks that did not have chains were not allowed to continue, the Daily Courier reported.

While plows worked to keep highways open, the Washington State Department of Transportation urged people to stay off the roads if possible, warning that roads will stay icy and snowy even after the snow stops because of the cold weather.

Frigid temperatures in the region could tie or break records in the coming days.

The Seattle area is expected to dip as low as 18 degrees F (-7.7 C), the lowest in several years. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will drop to -5 F (-20 C) by Wednesday.

In Portland in the early part of the week, overnight temperatures will be bitter cold, getting down to the low 20s and high teens.