MORE SNOW, WIND AND COLD. WHAT A WEEKEND!
December 23, 2008
(SKY VALLEY) -- It has been quite a while since the Sky Valley and the rest of Western Washington saw a snowy, windy and cold weekend like this past one.
Ice and snow covered trees and brush, a common sight in the Sky Valley these days.
An Artic air mass from the North collided with a high pressure system from Eastern Washington and a low pressure system that came in from the coast to create a sort of “perfect storm” for Western Washington Saturday night and Sunday bringing the kind of snow, wind and cold temperatures that most long time residents only remember in distant memories from the past.
WSDOT road crews have been working round-the-clock shifts trying to keep roadways clear enough to be passable. And the snow and icy roads have resulted in hundreds of accidents for the area. In Snohomish County this weekend Washington State Patrol troopers responded to almost 100 accidents and statewide there were more than 750 reported in a 24-hour period ending at 7:00 a.m. yesterday.
State officials were urging people not to drive if they didn’t have to and folks who live in Sultan were advised Sunday not to drive around city streets due to the number of vehicles getting stuck in the snow. A cold weather shelter was also opened in Sultan at Crosswater Church.
Some residents in the upper Sky Valley area – from Sultan on up to Skykomish – were snowbound in their homes with anywhere from foot to two feet or more of snow on the ground. There were snow drifts in the valley of several feet or more in some places.
However the latest storm to roar into the state on Saturday evening did not result in the powerful winds gusts up to 70 mph that forecasters had warned of. The highest wind gusts in the upper Sky Valley area were in the near 60 mph range but nevertheless were bad enough to knock out electrical power to hundreds of customers in Sultan, Granite Falls and Arlington. Sustained winds in the area were in the 30 mph range.
At Sea-Tac airport in Seattle thousands of stranded holiday travelers had to stand in long lines waiting for get information on what to do as airlines announced canceled flights. Nearby hotels filled up quickly and hundreds if not thousands were forced to sleep in the airport.
Travelers who were at the airport to simply catch connecting flight were given the bad news by airline officials that they may not be able to book another flight until Christmas.
Early Sunday morning Community Transit issued a bulletin advising bus riders that service would be severely limited because of the heavy snowfall on streets. Bus service to Mill Creek, Edmonds, Stanwood and Darrington was canceled.
In many area grocery stores shoppers could be seen cleaning shelves out of bread, milk, cereal, charcoal briquettes and other items.
In a Sultan RV repair and supply shop one woman late Saturday afternoon looked stunned when she was told all the propane gas was gone and they were awaiting a new shipment.