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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snowy, icy weather returns to Sound

The winter of 2006-2007 isn't ready to call it quits yet, even though March is here:
Winter made a ferocious return to Western Washington on Wednesday, with heavy mountain snow causing a 60-vehicle pileup on Interstate 90, shutting down the state's major east-west freeway for more than six hours and triggering dozens of other accidents through the evening rush-hour commute.

Snow started falling in late afternoon, with the heaviest accumulations north of Seattle and in the Cascade foothills.

The biggest pileup was west of the Snoqualmie Pass summit near Milepost 52, where an estimated 60 cars, trucks -- and even a couple of boats on trailers -- collided about 3:30 p.m. in the blizzard-like conditions. Seven people were hurt, four seriously.

"We've got semis that are sideways and trailers that were hauling boats, and trailers that are destroyed, and trucks and cars. It's a mess," State Patrol Trooper Jeff Merrill said.
Interstate 90 was closed in both directions over Snoqualmie Pass for most of the evening. If you were planning a mountain crossing today you might want to put your preparations into deep freeze. Conditions are still treacherous.

Meanwhile, the lower foothills and suburbs in the northern Puget Sound are seeing plenty of snow. A convergence zone has arrived and is moving south over Puget Sound. Snohomish County residents can expect to wake up to plenty of snow tomorrow morning - perhaps as much as half a foot in some areas.

A heavy snow warning is in effect until 4 AM for most of Snohomish County. Between one and three inches of additional snowfall are expected.

Northern King County should also see some snow, with some areas receiving perhaps nothing more than a dusting but others seeing as much as three to four inches. Residents of the Eastside will see more snow than Seattleites will.

Temperatures are hovering around freezing, so commuters should expect some ice mixed in tomorrow morning. More information about dealing with the elements is available at Pacific Northwest Portal's Winter Weather Preparedness section.

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