Barb Maynes, a member of First United Methodist Church in Port Angeles, breaks up ice on the sidewalk on the Laurel Street side of the church on Saturday. Warming temperatures and rain were helping to melt nearly a foot of snow that had fallen earlier in the week, but remaining accumulated ice required physical attention in many locations. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Barb Maynes, a member of First United Methodist Church in Port Angeles, breaks up ice on the sidewalk on the Laurel Street side of the church on Saturday. Warming temperatures and rain were helping to melt nearly a foot of snow that had fallen earlier in the week, but remaining accumulated ice required physical attention in many locations. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Peninsula escapes worst of winter storm

Heavy rain, high wind forecast for this week

The North Olympic Peninsula saw snow and ice melt away under rain showers as temperatures began to rise Friday and continued through the holiday weekend.

Another weather system is forecast to blow in today and continue throughout Tuesday, bringing heaver rainfall and possible high winds, according to Steve Reedly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, on Sunday.

Although freezing rain and slush hampered Peninsula travel early Friday, the region got off easy compared to much of the rest of the state and certainly much of the nation.

Millions of people — some 60 percent of the population — were hunkered down against a deep freeze Sunday to ride out a winter storm that had killed at least 28 people across the United States. The storm stretched from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians and from the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande.

On the Peninsula, effects were mild. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) reported on Christmas morning trees fallen on, and quickly removed from, U.S. Highway 101 at Lake Crescent. Clallam County Public Utility District (PUD) reported scattered electrical outages on the east and west sides of the county, while Jefferson PUD reported few to none over the weekend.

But mountain passes in the Cascades were closed Saturday due to treacherous conditions and avalanche danger, it was reported.

Interstate 90 was reopened Christmas morning after having been closed Saturday along more than 70 miles from North Bend to Ellensburg and including Snoqualmie Pass.

Nearly 35 miles of U.S. Highway 2, including Stevens Pass, also were closed Saturday because of freezing rain and icy conditions, according to DOT. Stevens Pass remained closed early Sunday and the status today was expected to be reported by late Sunday.

State Patrol troopers reported more than 200 vehicle crashes on Friday in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Nearly 200 flights were canceled on Saturday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which reported more runways open on Sunday and advised travelers to check with their airlines for flight status.

The future sounds brighter on the Peninsula, which is forecast to have high temperatures in the 40s and 50s with lows above freezing throughout the week.

But the risk of landslides and power outages will rise with the storm expected to arrive today, Reedy said.

The storm “will bring a return to a little bit of heavier rainfall and an increased wind threat,” he said.

The combination of those two things on top of the fact that soils are saturated will offer the potential for some isolated landslides as well as trees toppling onto power lines, he said.

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