January 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM
Icy roads expected throughout Western Washington tonight, tomorrow
If you can’t avoid driving around Western Washington tonight and tomorrow morning, make sure you’re driving as slowly and as carefully as you can.
Although not much more precipitation is expected tonight and early Friday morning, freezing temperatures at sea level and above could turn any remaining moisture on the roads into ice, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Johnny Burg.
Seattle’s low for tonight is expected to be 30 while Bellevue and areas east of that could see temperatures in the high- to mid-20s, Burg said. If it does snow anywhere in Snohomish, King or Pierce counties, it will probably be less than an inch.
At least 12 King County trucks and several crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation are prepared to lay anti-icers on roads most prone to freezing over.
WSDOT spokesman Greg Phipps said their crews will focus on areas that tend to freeze over first such as freeway ramps, bridges and overpasses. They’ll start laying anti-icer down after rush hour.
“If you do it now you’ve got afternoon traffic that could take it off the road and if it rains later, that might wash it over the road,” Phipps said. “You want to time it right.”
The most important things anyone can do to reduce accidents, Phipps said, is to drive slowly, leaving three times as much space as usual between you and other cars, and looking farther in the distance for possible road hazards.
“Don’t get overconfident because black ice is always an issue with these temperatures,” Phipps said. “Some people with SUVs, for example, get overconfident because their car is good in snow, but it isn’t any better than another car on ice.”
The icy conditions could continue through Saturday, which is expected to be just as cold if not colder, said Burg. Although Friday should be sunny in Seattle, the city’s forecasted low for the day is 28.
The mountain passes won’t get more than an inch or 2 of snow Friday, Burg said, and should be able to stay open. Phipps said that falling trees, which became a widespread threat on several Western Washington highways and freeways last month, shouldn’t be an issue either because of the light amount of snow expected.
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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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