EVERETT — A powerful snowstorm pummeled the Snohomish County lowlands Friday.
“Snowpocalypse II: Revenge of the Snow” appeared to be living up to the hype.
A dark gray blanket of cloud enveloped Possession Sound by morning, hours ahead of schedule for the expected landfall.
Tiny flurries arrived at 9 a.m. in Everett. A 100-mile-long wave of chilled clouds drifted across Vancouver Island, taking aim at the I-5 corridor north of Seattle.
Much more was in store for the entire region in the afternoon. Heavy flakes began fluttering at a steady pace around 1 p.m. downtown. It was expected to keep snowing late into the night.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide emergency as the powder kept piling up.
This week, Friday loomed as the day when 4 to 8 inches of snow — more or less — was predicted to cover the lowlands, according to the National Weather Service. Twelve inches in Seattle didn’t appear out of the question, in an extreme scenario.
The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management warned “the snow has the potential to create terrible road conditions and power outages. … Get ready.”
Snow brushes with ice scrapers and boxes of Little Hotties toe warmers were at the ready Thursday, for shoppers entering Costco near Silver Lake. Checkout lines went deep into the store. Popular items in carts were the usual for a semi-apocalypse: produce, coffee, juice, water, wine, toilet paper. Lots of toilet paper.
Many shelves were stocked and others were empty. There was plenty of coffee. Bread, not so much, except for whole wheat. Heart-shaped cheese ravioli apparently sparked hungry joy in many shoppers. There were only a few packs left in the cooler — perfect for dining by candlelight when the power goes out, at least for those with gas stoves.
Take-and-bake pizzas were sold out, except for one sorry-looking fractured cheese pizza.
Pam Bruestle, of Mill Creek, said she scored the last two gallons of 1 percent milk in the cooler.
Outside, inches of crusty snow lingered from a dawn-to-dusk storm days ago on Super Bowl Sunday. Just about everyone was caught off-guard when up to 8 inches of snow swept across sea level in Snohomish County.
On Friday, thick fresh flakes stuck well to old snow, as well as dirt, branches and roofs that hadn’t thawed in the past week.
Temperatures dipped into the teens for several nights in a row. The high never topped 35 degrees at Paine Field in Everett. Snow and ice coated some arterial roads, like Evergreen Way, for days. Garbage trucks stopped running all routes for the latter half of the week in the city. Trash cans overflowed in alleys.
Afternoon sunbreaks gave Everett’s public works crews a chance to plow and re-plow a total of 2,500-plus miles of asphalt.
The city began prepping for the second wave late Wednesday. Since then, crews have spread 5,300 gallons of de-icer on 180 miles of roads, including all arterials and streets in the central business area, said Kathleen Baxter, a spokeswoman with public works.
Pallets of de-icer had been snatched up days ago at Lowe’s in Everett. Last-minute survivalists with no better options were loading their carts with 40-pound bags of salt, in big pellets. Others wheeled carts full of fireplace logs.
Grocery store shelves were running short on eggs, bacon, spinach, cheese, onion — and pretty much anything to make a decent omelette. Produce manager George Caldwell said the Sno-Isle Co-Op was one of few places in town with fresh food left.
“We’ve had people calling asking if we have bread and produce because other stores are out,” he said.
The Co-Op has daily produce truck deliveries, so they’ve kept up with storm-induced demand. “It’s been crazy all day,” floor manager Patricia Dawe said.
State troopers urged people to drive with extreme caution. Or better yet, stay off the roads altogether.
Advance warnings seemed to have helped to keep most people at home and off of the streets, Washington State Patrol trooper Heather Axtman said.
The more surprising storm on Super Bowl Sunday saw 173 crash reports in Snohomish County alone, according to the state patrol. Only 20 crashes were reported on state routes in four counties — Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom and Island — between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday. About half of those came after the snow picked up steam in the afternoon.
The next question is, “How long will this weather stick around?”
The forecast for the next few days gives a hint: a 40 percent chance of snow Saturday, a 20 percent chance of snow Sunday, a 30 percent chance of snow Monday, with a chance of snow Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Reporter Julia-Grace Sanders contributed to this story.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.