Snowfall dusted Pierce County on Thursday evening despite higher accumulations to the south, though wintry weather did close a couple state highways in Pierce County for a time.
In Thurston County, Grand Mound saw 5 inches of snow and Yelm, Olympia and Littlerock each saw 4 inches, but no Pierce County locations saw similar accumulations, according to the National Weather Service.
“For a while there earlier this afternoon, the initial snow band kind of stalled out over there between Tacoma and Fort Lewis and it started falling apart,” meteorologist Allen Kam said. “The trailing snow band came up behind it and kind of pushed the snow north.”
That action should keep the snow falling here into the overnight hours, Kam said.
As for when the snow will stop, that might not be a gradual thing, Kam said. The weather coming north isn’t in the same kind of organized bands as earlier — instead, it’s coming in showers.
“As that comes up, there could be a mixture of snow showers and freezing rain off and on, one or the other,” said Kam, who added that air temperatures will remain around freezing. “Late tonight, we might get a stronger push of warm air. That might convert it all to rain.”
South Meridian (state Route 161) closed near 352nd Street East and state Route 7 closed near 52nd Avenue East because drivers were having traction issues, Washington State Patrol spokesman Todd Bartolac said.
The Washington state Department of Transportation was sanding and grading the highways at those areas in an effort to improve traction.
“There’s wet snow and it’s starting to freeze,” Bartolac said about 6 p.m. “It’s making traction really rough.”
Meridian and SR 7 both opened back up about 6:40 p.m., WSDOT posted on Twitter, approximately an hour after both were closed.
Puyallup, Eatonville, Franklin Pierce and Bethel school districts will have a two-hour delay Friday morning, as will Cascade Christian Schools. The Vashon Island School District will have a 2 1/2 hour delay.
A winter weather advisory took effect at 4 p.m. for the Puget Sound area, forecasting 1 to 3 inches of accumulating snow as a northward-traveling storm meets a mass of cold air coming from the northeast, according to the National Weather Service.
Up to a foot of snow may fall in the Cascades, the Weather Service stated.
The City of Tacoma deployed 13 snowplows throughout the city in preparation for snow Thursday evening. City crews plow and de-ice streets beginning primarily with arterial streets. Crews do not plow and or de-ice residential streets, the city said in a statement Thursday.
Pierce County road crews put de-icer on arterial streets earlier this week and plan to work throughout the night until conditions improve.
“These major roads are our priority during a snow and ice event, along with Pierce Transit and school bus snow routes,” Bruce Wagner, Pierce County Public Works road operations manager, said in a news release.
The storm warning is also in effect for the Hood Canal where 4 to 6 inches of snow is expected Thursday night.
Staff writer Craig Sailor contributed to this report.