As much as a foot of snow fell on parts of the North Olympic Peninsula overnight, shutting down some services on Tuesday and prompting law enforcement to ask residents to stay off the roads, if possible.
Some communities on the Peninsula saw as much as a foot of snow, according to the National Weather Service, with Joyce receiving about 12 inches and Clallam Bay 9 inches. Those were the heaviest levels reported, said Kirby Cook, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
According to data from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, some areas of Port Angeles saw up to 10 inches of snow while Port Townsend experienced a more modest 3 inches, with 4 inches farther south in the county, while individuals reported about 5 inches in Port Townsend proper. Hurricane Ridge saw between 10 and 12 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
A Winter Storm Warning was issued through Tuesday evening, but colder conditions will continue through the rest of the week before turning to rain over the weekend.
Wednesday and Thursday nights are expected to see potentially record-breaking low temperatures, Cook said.
Coastal communities like Port Angeles and Port Townsend are expected to see overnight temperatures in the low teens, Cook said, with temperatures colder farther from the water.
“It’s going to be pretty cold. Any time you get temps in the low teens, it’s pretty significant,” Cook said. “The coldest day will probably be on Thursday with overnight lows at 10 or 11 (degrees Fahrenheit). That’s out on the coast. Some locations in the interior are going to be colder than that.”
Rain is expected for the holiday weekend, Cook said, with an atmospheric river expected to bring heavy rain Sunday and Monday with temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s.
“Christmas is probably going to be the warmest day of the week,” Cook said. “It’s going to be cloudy and really warm and we’ll see rain in the afternoon, increasing rain Sunday night and into Monday.”
Most area schools were already out for winter break, but public school districts in Port Townsend, Quilcene and Brinnon all announced closures and many announced closures of extra-curricular activities.
In posts to social media, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is asking people to stay off the roads, if possible, and take care when shoveling snow.
The Clallam County Public Utility District reported an outage affecting 69 households Tuesday morning, but service was restored by mid-afternoon.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said anyone using a portable generator should be aware of carbon monoxide dangers.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said early Tuesday afternoon that deputies had dealt with about 20 weather-related incidents since the snow started Monday.
Of the weather-related calls, “mostly all related to disabled vehicles or vehicles that had slipped off the roads,” King said.
No injuries were reported in any of the incidents, King said, and as of Tuesday afternoon, there was only one reported collision.
Clallam County Engineer Joe Donisi said every plow the county owns — about 30 plows, some full-size dump trucks and other trucks outfitted with front-end plows — was working.
Donisi said the county hoped to have most of the main roads plowed by the end of the day and that smaller roads would be plowed Wednesday.
Both King and Donisi said residents should limit unnecessary travel.
“If you don’t need to travel, don’t,” King said.
Jefferson County officials also were asking people to avoid non-essential travel.
In Jefferson County, road crews had been working since 2 a.m. Tuesday to clear top-priority roads, said Matt Stewart, road maintenance superintendent for the county.
“Our priority now is cleaning as thoroughly as we can to get as close as we can to bare pavement,” Stewart said. “Anything left on those roads will freeze solid.”
Road crews have been running continuously, Stewart said. They are prioritizing clearing main roads and likely won’t have time to clear secondary areas as thoroughly before freezing temperatures set in overnight.
“This is still a winter weather event,” Stewart said. “It takes days to clean that up.”
Road conditions would be dangerous until the warmer conditions, which are expected over the weekend, set in, Stewart said.
Clallam Transit said on its website that most routes are delayed with some not operating at all.
The Port Angeles in-town buses and commuters were running on reduced hourly service, with the aim being to depart the Gateway Transit Center at 55 minutes after the hour in the morning and five minutes after the hour in the afternoon.
Areas Clallam Transit was unable to service included the Diamond Point route — number 52. Others have areas of non-service.
• #10 Joyce — no service down NS Klallam Drive and no service past the Joyce school.
• #20 College Medical Center — no service to Melody Lane.
• #22 Lincoln Peabody — no service to Ahlvers. The bus will turn on Park, and no service down Whidbey and Eunice. The bus will travel down Peabody.
• #26 Westside — no service west of N on 18th Street — catch the bus on N and 16th Street. No service to the Lower Elwha.
Delays were possible on all other routes. For updates, see www.clallamtransit.com/rideralerts.
Deviations for routes were listed on the Jefferson Transit website at https://jeffersontransit.com/jefferson-transit-notices. For questions, call 360-385-4777.
The state Department of Transportation said on its website that weather may disrupt not only road travel but ferry traffic as well, with some sailings potentially delayed or canceled.
By 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, 191 flights had been canceled and another 154 delayed out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, The Associated Press reported, and portions of interstate highways were reported closed in Washington and Oregon.