Snow causes power outages, strands motorists, closes schools

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EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A winter storm in Washington state left thousands of without power in the greater Seattle area and caused school closures and delays.

About 19,000 Puget Sound Energy customers were without power early Monday along with more than 6,000 customers of the Snohomish Public Utility District. Those numbers had dropped by Monday evening to less than 5,000 Puget Sound Energy customers and nearly 5,200 Snohomish Public Utility District customers.

In Western Washington most of the snow fell north of Seattle overnight, with up to 9 inches reported in areas. Seattle Schools were delayed two hours while other districts closed.

In Eastern Washington Spokane reported several inches of snow as well as school delays and closures.

Dozens of drivers were stranded Sunday night when U.S. Route 2, which runs across the northern portion of the state, became impassable because of tree and power line falls. The road from Gold Bar to the summit remained closed Monday in both directions with crews set to review conditions Tuesday, according to the Washington state Department of Transportation.

The State Patrol on Monday escorted convoys of drivers — one with about 100 vehicles — out of the the area, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Trooper Heather Axtman said. “We needed to get them off the pass. From our understanding, people were running out of fuel, running out of water, running out of food.”

Conditions remained hazardous, but “it was a risk we were willing to take to make sure they got off the pass,” she told the Seattle Times.

On Monday evening approximately 30 cars were involved in separate collisions on the State Route 520 floating bridge in Seattle, closing all the westbound lanes, which became slick when temperatures dropped. State patrol Trooper Rick Johnson said there were no major injuries and that the lanes would be treated for icy conditions in both directions.

Forecasters said the snowy weather would continue into Tuesday morning for western Washington with an inch or less of snow and strong winds in northwestern parts of the state.

In western Oregon snow was also possible overnight into Tuesday. Portions of roads in Oregon's high Cascades including West Diamond Lake Highway east of Roseburg and Crater Lake Highway were closed because heavy snow was toppling trees.

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