December 19, 2012 at 5:55 AM
Early snowfall switching to rain
UPDATE: 7:30 a.m. | Snow that fell over much of the Puget Sound area early today is changing to rain, but not fast enough to clear all roadways in the morning commute.
A light rain was falling at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport just after 7 a.m. “We’re expecting that trend to continue over the next couple of hours and hopefully we’ll change to complete to rain by 10 this morning,” said Steve Reedy of the National Weather Service.
In the early hours, snow contributed to numerous accidents, including one in which a State Patrol trooper’s car was hit in the Lynnwood area while he was investigating another accident.
State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis said a trooper had stopped near the interchange of Highway 525 and Highway 99 in Lynnwood about 5:30 a.m. to help a motorist whose car had gone off the roadway. The area was then covered in about a half-inch of snow. While the trooper was out of his car, it was struck from behind by a pickup. The trooper was not hit, and no one was hurt.
Francis said snow has been a factor in “a bunch” of collisions in South Snohomish County.
Snow was also covering some roadways in several Puget Sound counties, although most highways and major routes were bare and wet. By midday, the freezing level is expected to climb to between 1,000 and 1,500 feet.
Snow swept into the area from the southwest and began falling in the Central Puget Sound area between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Heavy snow is expected to continue in the mountains. Dustin Guy of the National Weather Service said the Olympics could see 10 to 16 inches of fresh snow in the next 24 hours, and the Cascades could get one to two feet of new snow.
At 8:30 a.m., chains were required on Snoqualmire Pass for all vehicles without four-wheel drive. On Stevens Pass, traction tires were required. Travelers should check for updates.
A number of school districts have announced schedule changes.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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