EVERETT — Snohomish County may weather the brunt of yet another icy snow storm that’s expected to last into Wednesday morning, according to forecasters.
This could be the last of it.
It could be the worst of it, too.
A band of moderate to heavy snow shifted farther south than previously predicted and was expected to move through the area Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. Snow was expected to sweep an area from the Olympics to the north end of Seattle, then move north to Canada — by way of Snohomish County. The Everett and Monroe areas could see 3 to 4 inches Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather service said. Wednesday also could bring winds with gusts up to 60 mph.
Last week, weather service meteorologist Johnny Burg didn’t think snow would really come to the Puget Sound lowlands.
When the snow did arrive — surprise! — weather models suggested the event would be a one-off.
Then the “rapidly evolving” forecast had another surprise: More snow was incoming for Snohomish County. Intermittent showers added a fresh coat of powder on the Snohomish County lowlands and foothills throughout Tuesday. But the main event wasn’t expected until evening.
After the Sunday to Monday storm, parts of Everett had 5 inches, Lake Stevens had close to 6 and Monroe won the contest with 8½, according to National Weather Service data.
Snow already on the ground caused complications for Snohomish County denizens, in the form of power outages, school closures and slippery commutes.
U.S. 2 remained closed for a third day, from Gold Bar to Stevens Pass, because of downed trees and power lines.
The Washington State Patrol had been escorting drivers this week as far east as Index, but that was suspended when trees began collapsing on the road, trooper Heather Axtman said Tuesday morning.
Those on the other side of the closure won’t be able to make their way westbound.
“If you’re in Skykomish, you’re stuck,” Axtman said.
Such was the case Sunday when hundreds of drivers became stranded in a town of about 200. Skykomish Mayor Henry Sladek said most people made their way out Monday, thanks to assistance from troopers.
By Tuesday, in a time of year that typically sees droves of skiers passing through on their way to Stevens Pass, Skykomish was a ghost town.
“It’s eerie,” Sladek said.
Skykomish Mayor Henry Sladek took this video on Tuesday. With U.S. 2 closed, the town was virtually deserted.
The closure of U.S. 2 is indefinite, Axtman said.
Throughout the county, snow topped frozen roads, making for slick commutes, the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management said.
Around 11:30 a.m., nine vehicles including a semi-truck collided in a pile-up crash on southbound I-5 at the Stillaguamish River bridge, stalling traffic for about an hour.
Elsewhere, several miles up Green Mountain Road off of the Mountain Loop Highway, a family of four became trapped Monday when their vehicle had mechanical problems, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The husband and wife and their two children, ages 2 and 4, spent the night surrounded by feet of snow in the backcountry before making their way down on foot in the morning.
The family was seen and picked up by a passerby, who drove them down the mountain. Then the sheriff’s search and rescue team helped them get their vehicle unstuck.
“The kiddos were very thankful for (a deputy’s) quick thinking to pick up a few McDonald’s meals for the family on his way to begin the search mission,” the sheriff’s office wrote. Besides being cold and wet, the family made it out uninjured, the sheriff’s office reported.
Heavy snow and ice contributed to the region’s challenges, causing branches to fall on roads and power lines.
There have been 45,000 customer outages reported since Sunday night, and about 2,200 customers still were without power late Tuesday afternoon, according to the Snohomish County Public Utility District. About half of those still affected resided in the general area of Gold Bar and Index.
PUD crews were working on rotation to restore power.
“It’s a bit like whack-a-mole right now,” Swaney said. “We get to a few and two more pop up.”
There was no estimated time to restore power.
Outages can be reported to 425-783-1001, 877-783-1001 or online at outagemap.snopud.com/ReportOutage/SearchAddress.
Subfreezing temperatures can tempt people to heat their homes in dangerous ways. Do not try to use an oven, or bring a gas stove or charcoal grill indoors, PUD spokesman Aaron Swaney said.
Cold weather shelters are expected to stay open and busy. The Snohomish Health District website has a list of shelters in Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe and Snohomish. Anyone in need of a shelter can call 211. People who want to volunteer should contact a shelter directly.
The National Weather Service predicted warmer temperatures and rain to return Thursday.
But as with any forecast, that can always change.