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January 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Puget Sound area blanketed by snow; buses on snow schedule

London Cooper, 5, and Sofia Olsen, 7, sled at Woodland Park Sunday in Seattle (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times). View a photo gallery from Sunday’s snowstorm. Send us your snow photos. View photos of pets in the snow.

As snow fell Sunday in most parts of Western Washington, cars spun out and had to be abandoned, roads were closed, and King County buses revised their schedules to adjust to the dicey driving conditions.

At least an inch of snow fell across most of the area, with some places seeing much more than that.

Hardest hit so far appeared to be the Bothell area and Forks, where at least 7 inches of snow had accumulated, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.  “It’s kind of just haphazard,” he said.

Numerous vehicle collisions were reported in a particularly “slick” stretch of Interstate 405, between 85th and 160th streets, said trooper Julie Startup, a spokeswoman for the State Patrol. No major injuries were reported.

Also, eastbound Interstate 90 had to be closed at 436th Avenue Southeast, or milepost 32, because of spinouts and collisions.

A westbound ramp connecting State Road 522 to southbound Interstate 405 was blocked by a disabled truck, and the northbound I-5 ramps to James and Madison Streets in downtown Seattle had to be closed because of multiple nearby collisions.

As of noon, King County Metro buses began operating on snow routes, and officials warned that service may be delayed because of tricky road conditions. Riders are advised to wait for buses at stops on flat portions of cleared roads or at major transfer points, such as park-and-ride lots and transit centers.

For more information, visit Metro’s Snow & Ice page.

Major mountain passes remained open, but traction tires were advised on Stevens Pass, and they were required for westbound traffic on Snoqualmie Pass. Tire chains were required for eastbound drivers on Snoqualmie Pass, except for the those with all-wheel drive or all-season tires, the Department of Transportation said.

Burg said the snow showers are rotating around what meteorologists call a vorticity maximum. “Off the coast, they’re heading toward Olympia, then they’re turning back up north toward Seattle,” Burg said.

“Places around the water probably see the least amount of snow, then as you go inland the accumulation tends to be more,” he said.

See a live radar that shows where snow is falling in the area.

On-again, off-again flurries and heavier snowfall were reported from Lake Forest Park to Queen Anne Hill and Tacoma, and most places in between. Snow showers were expected to continue throughout the day, with up to three inches of additional accumulation predicted in most parts of the region.

The snow was expected to continue through midweek, then turn largely to rain.

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Comments | More in Weather Beat | Topics: Bothell, Forks, Lake Forest Park


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