Weather

Snow blankets South Sound, closes schools and offices

Largest snowstorm of 2017 leaves its mark

Accumulation varied wildly, but its safe to say a winter storm prediction for Pierce County was finally on target, particularly in Bonney Lake where an estimated 13 inches of snow fell, leaving abandoned vehicles and laden roads and driveways in
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Accumulation varied wildly, but its safe to say a winter storm prediction for Pierce County was finally on target, particularly in Bonney Lake where an estimated 13 inches of snow fell, leaving abandoned vehicles and laden roads and driveways in

Snow blanketed the South Sound overnight into Monday, with drivers abandoning their cars at impassable hills and area schools and offices closing.

More than 2 inches of wet snow fell in Tacoma by Monday morning, but the National Weather Service received reports of more than a foot of snow falling in East Pierce County, including 14 inches in Bonney Lake.

The 7.1 inches of snow that fell by 10 a.m. Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport makes this month the snowiest February at the airport since 1990, according to the Weather Service.

The Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning for the snow event, but it rescinded the warning about 3 p.m. as weather conditions improved.

Cars were scattered on the shoulder of state Route 410 between Sumner and Bonney Lake on Monday morning, many people leaving their vehicles behind as the hill was too treacherous to traverse.

Snoqualmie Pass was closed in both directions from North Bend to Ellensburg for avalanche control work from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

Fallen trees briefly closed state Route 16 near Port Orchard during the afternoon, but WSDOT crews were quickly able to reopen the highway.

There has been a lot of digital traffic on WSDOT’s online camera feeds, especially the one on Snoqualmie Pass, spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker said. But there haven’t been extended highway closures in the South Sound.

Mount Rainier National Park closed Monday because of the snowstorm and power outages that it caused, the National Parks Service announced on Twitter.

The snowpack at Paradise jumped from 99 inches at midnight Friday to 132 inches at 5 p.m. Sunday. The heaviest snowfall came early Saturday morning when it was coming down at .43 inches per hour. The gauge was not properly recording data Monday morning.

At Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, it was a similar story. The snowpack was at 69 inches at midnight Friday and was 88 inches by 10 a.m. Monday. The road to Hurricane Ridge is closed Mondays-Thursdays, except for holiday Mondays.

Ski resorts have to be loving the snowy weather: Crystal Mountain reports 19 inches of new snow, and White Pass reports 18 inches.

Nearly all of the colleges and school districts throughout the region closed — a comprehensive list can be found here.

Pierce Transit put three buses on full snow routes and five buses on modified snow routes, spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet said. Everything is back to normal and is expected to stay that way through Monday night, though temperatures may get low enough overnight that ice could prove problematic Tuesday morning.

Among the public offices closed are Milton City Hall, and municipal courts in Gig Harbor, Kent and Puyallup. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department allowed for late starts for its employees.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord had a 2-hour delay for military and civilian personnel. Mission essential personnel are to report on time, as are Madigan Army Medical Center staff. Base Child Development Centers are open normal hours.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is closed Monday due to snow accumulation, according to Metro Parks Tacoma. It will reopen Thursday as part of its winter schedule.

All Puyallup public parks are closed until public works staff can ensure they are safe, the city posted on Twitter.

Sumner and Milton have canceled City Council meetings and pushed all of their agenda items forward to the next meeting.

The Pierce County Library System and the Puyallup Public Library closed Monday for the snow.

Staff writers Jeffrey P. Mayor and Adam Lynn contributed to this report.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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