After snow blanketed the South Sound on Monday, there’s a chance of light snowfall Tuesday but the weather should stay mostly dry, according to the National Weather Service.
Still, with a forecast low of 30 degrees Monday night, much of the snow that melted on roadways during the day could freeze again by Tuesday, Weather Service meteorologist Gary Schneider said.
There might be snow mixed with rain early Wednesday, but steady rain and mid-40s high temperatures will take over, and highs should be in the 50s by Thursday.
“Obviously, snow is not going to be a concern by then,” Schneider said Monday.
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Overnight snowfall led some drivers to abandon their cars Monday at impassable hills and area schools and offices to close for the day.
From 2 to 6 inches of wet snow fell in Tacoma and the 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 Sea-Tac Airport made this the snowiest February at the airport since 1990, according to the Weather Service.
Forecasts of how much snow might fall crept up as the storm passed through.
As late as Sunday morning, the Weather Service was forecasting 1 to 3 inches regionally, before upgrading that to 3 to 6 inches in the afternoon when it issued a winter storm warning.
The high local snowfall totals were something unseen in the rest of Western Washington from this storm, Schneider said.
“It’s just one of those things — it’s very hard,” Schneider said. “What are we going to say — ‘You’re going to get zero to 14 inches’?”
In the end, the amount of snow that fell was enough to close nearly every school district and college in the region. Orting School District will be among schools running two-hour delays Tuesday, and Green River Community College announced it will be closed Tuesday.
There were no extended highway closures Monday in the South Sound. But cars were scattered on the shoulder of state Route 410 between Sumner and Bonney Lake. Many people left 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 state crews were able to reopen the highway quickly.
The Transportation Department’s online camera feeds, especially the one on Snoqualmie Pass, proved popular, spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker said.
Pierce Transit put three buses on full snow routes and five buses on modified snow routes, spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet said.
Everything was back to normal by Monday afternoon and was expected to stay that way through Monday night. Temperatures might get low enough overnight that ice could prove problematic Tuesday morning, Japhet said.
Snow delayed some southbound Sounder trains from Seattle on Monday night, according to Sound Transit.
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 when it was coming down at 0.43 inches per hour. The gauge was not properly recording data Monday.
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.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium closed Monday because of snow accumulation, according to Metro Parks Tacoma, and will reopen Thursday. Puyallup and Pierce County libraries closed because of the weather.
Many public offices throughout the region closed or operated with limited staff. Sumner and Milton canceled city council meetings and pushed their agenda items to the next meeting.
Very much open were area ski resorts. Crystal Mountain Resort reported 30 inches of new snow from Saturday afternoon to Monday afternoon, and White Pass reported 40 inches in the same period.
Staff writers Jeffrey P. Mayor and Adam Lynn contributed to this report.