Washington state knew that it was in for an unusual snow event over the weekend—but the storm delivered a full-on Snowmageddon. Snow blanked the region beginning Friday and into Saturday, delivering to Seattle what the National Weather Service said was “the most snow in February in 70 years.”
Snow pummelling the state created hazardous conditions on the roads, with State Patrol Trooper C. Thorson tweeting that “hundreds” of cars became trapped Saturday evening near Interstate 82 in Benton County following a collision that led to a nasty pile-up. According to CBS-affiliate KEPR, up to 300 cars became stuck in the incident following multiple wrecks.
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, officials also had to send a rescue team to bail out one vehicle in Douglas County after the truck maneuvered around a roadblock and became stuck in the snow.
“We are having the same problems in eastern Washington,” Thorson tweeted Saturday, sharing an image from the scene. “It’s gotten to the point where we are going to have to start writing tickets if people drive around ‘road closed’ signs. Please just follow the instructions for your good and ours.”
Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency ahead of the severe winter storm as Washington prepared for what had the potential to be one of its worst snowstorms in years. The governor warned Washington residents against driving but advised that anyone who became trapped in their car on the road stay inside.
“Weather forecasters predict this may be a storm unlike one we’ve seen in many years,” Inslee said in a statement last week. “I encourage everyone to stay off the roads if possible and plan ahead if you must travel.”
Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed over the weekend, with dozens of more cancellations on Sunday adding to the strain. Tens of thousands of people in the area also experienced power outages over the weekend as a result of the extreme winter weather that’s unusual for the Pacific Northwest.
According to the National Weather Service, winter weather advisories are in effect in parts of Washington, and the state could be in for more snow beginning Sunday after and through the evening. According to a tweet from the agency’s Seattle account Sunday afternoon, the area could see another 1 to 3 inches of snow.
Clarification: A previous version of this article’s headline said the weather in Washington state was “usual.” We have updated the title to reflect that the amount of snowfall is in fact unusual, as is reflected throughout this post.