Snowy weather forces multiple agencies to send staff home after dozens of crashes in the Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — The snowy weather caused multiple agencies to send their nonessential personnel home early as temperatures continued to fall and the number of car crashes started to rise.

These included staff at Franklin County and at the PNNL-Richland Campus and the Hanford Site 300 Area.

Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla Campus shut down early as well, citing weather concerns.

READ: WSP responds to 12 crashes early Thursday morning

The City of Pasco also released notice they were closing to the public due to weather.

Jon Funfar, Pasco’s communications program manager, said they decided to close early after “receiving a number of reports throughout the day of some treacherous driving conditions.”

“We want to make sure to give people the option to get home before it gets dark,” Funfar said.

READ: Tri-Cities drivers urged to slow down to avoid crashing on icy roads & highway ramps

Franklin County Administrator Keith Johnson said the decision is “basically a public safety question.”

“We’re trying to not only keep the public safe but our employees have to be watched out for as well,” Johnson said. “Based on the continuing snow piling up on the roads and the number of accidents that are taking place, we decided it was safest to get employees home before the weather got worse.”

Washington State Patrol (WSP) Trooper Chris Thorson said drivers need to adjust how fast they drive because some roads are frozen over. But the best thing to do if you can? Stay home.

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