“This is going to be a widespread snow event as opposed to the hit-and-miss” showers that left a patchwork of white across the region over the weekend and Monday, said Ted Buehner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
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Forecasters predict up to 6 inches of snow in parts of Snohomish County on Tuesday and as much as another foot through Wednesday evening. Tuesday's snow likely won't melt before Wednesday's expected blast.
Buehner said it could be similar to a snow dump in December of 1996 when a roof collapsed at the Port of Edmonds Marina and more than 200 boats sank. In some parts, the region was slammed by 2 feet of snow, which caused several carport roofs to cave in.
That sort of trouble is possible particularly if heavy snow sponges up the rain that is forecast later in the week. People living and working in buildings with flat roof tops should be aware of that possibility and take precautions, Buehner said.
That warning extends to neighborhoods with lots of mobile homes. Experts warn against trying to spray the snow off with a hose, because the weight of the added water could cause roofs to cave in.
The trouble isn't limited just to snowfall, said Rebecca Stevenson, chief meteorologist for KIRO-TV, a Herald news partner.
“The insult on Wednesday is not just the snow, it's going to be the wind,” Stevenson said. Winds in some parts of Western Washington could reach 35 mph.
In the mountains, there is increasing avalanche danger above 4,000 feet.
The state Department of Transportation plans to have 87 snow plows and sand trucks patrolling highways between King County and the Canadian border.
“They'll run their trucks pretty much around the clock,” Transportation Department spokesman Bart Treece said.
The crews will spread tons of salt, sand and de-icer on the roadways with I-5 and U.S. 2 the top priorities in Snohomish County.
Transportation officials said people should prepare well if they absolutely must drive, and try to avoid driving if they don't have to.
“We are concerned they may get complacent because there is a break” in the snowfall, Treece said.
Even with plowing, roads are expected to be a mess, particularly on less-traveled side streets and rural roads. Transportation officials advise drivers to allow themselves plenty of time, bring a shovel and pack extra blankets, water and a few healthy snacks.
The overnight snow made roads slick for commuters on Monday.
Troopers in District 7, which covers Snohomish County to the Canadian border, responded to 139 collisions over the weekend. The previous weekend, when the weather was nicer, troopers reported just 17 collisions.
On Monday, troopers reported 25 collisions in the region by the early afternoon.
Many of the mishaps were in north Snohomish County from Stanwood to Marysville, Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary said. Most were caused by people driving too fast for the conditions. Cars wound up crashing into guardrails or sliding into ditches.
Snow blanketed the roads by Sunday afternoon, and another half-inch greeted drivers on Monday morning.
“It put the icing back on the cake again,” Leary said.
People looking to take the bus should be aware of changes to some routes. Community Transit warned Monday that its buses won't stop on hills because of the icy conditions. That means riders need to go to the nearest stop at the top or bottom of the hill.
Those living in the south county who need a place to go can take refuge at a shelter in Lynnwood.
The South Snohomish County Emergency Shelter Network activation has been extended through Tuesday for people needing overnight emergency shelter. The shelter network is open to families, women and men. Evening and morning meals will be provided. For those who are in need of this service, meet before 7 p.m. at Lynnwood City Hall, 19100 44th Ave. W.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, email@example.com
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