The melt is on.
Clallam County residents were digging out from slushy snow Thursday — and repairing a skating rink for a possible reopening today — after a winter storm smacked the county, and especially the Port Angeles area, late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.
The National Weather Service said temperatures would rise into the mid-40s this weekend as rain returns to the North Olympic Peninsula lowlands.
“Tomorrow and Saturday we’ll start seeing some rain,” said Samantha Borth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, on Thursday.
“On Sunday and Monday, we’ll start to trend a little bit dryer. Then the next weather system arrives Tuesday.”
Port Angeles received nearly two feet of snow late Tuesday into Wednesday, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network said.
The National Weather Service said the Port Angeles area — and west to Joyce — had more snow than any other city in Western Washington.
The Sequim area was reported to have had between 5.6 and 8.0 inches of new snow. An official reading from the Forks area showed 5.5 inches.
About a foot of snow blanketed the southern parts of East Jefferson County, shutting down several area roads and felling tree limbs, causing power outages for up to 1,000 Jefferson County Public Utility District customers. Most were back online by the afternoon.
The State Patrol reported 15 collisions, 11 disabled vehicles and one abandoned vehicle in Jefferson County on Wednesday afternoon, said Chelsea Hodgson, WSP district 8 public information officer.
The Clallam County Public Utility District reported 137 outages in West Jefferson County as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Power had been restored to all customers in the area by 3 p.m.
Many deliveries and services were delayed by the snowfall.
Much of the Peninsula’s lowland snow was melting Thursday.
Temperatures rose to 39 degrees at William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles and Port Townsend was clear of snow Thursday morning.
Volunteers were cleaning up a mess at the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village after the tent that covers the skating rink collapsed under the weight of the snow about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Organizers hope to reopen the temporary skating rink without a tent today.
“Right now, I’m flooding the ice, which is a good thing,” said Marc Abshire, Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce executive director at 2:40 p.m. Thursday.
“We were able to get the (ice-making) system back on. We are going to attempt to open tomorrow without a tent cover.”
The Ice Village at 121 W. First St. originally was scheduled to be open through Monday.
Abshire said the goal was to reopen the skating rink today and keep it open through Monday.
“No promises just yet,” Abshire said.
“Right now the intention is to open tomorrow.”
The 40-foot by 140-foot tent that covered the skating rink was owned by 7 Cedars Casino and made available for the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village.
Abshire said the chamber would work with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to replace the tent.
“We haven’t talked about any details yet,” Abshire said.
Volunteers were busy removing snow and the badly-damaged tent from the skating rink.
“We had a ton of people here helping us shovel out and clean it up,” Abshire said.
“We made great headway this morning, which allows us to be setting the rink up to make ice again. We’re pretty excited about it.”
The Port Angeles Winter Ice Village was having a banner second season with 13,231 tickets sold and $115,186 in revenue generated through Dec. 30 alone, Abshire told the chamber membership Jan. 15.
Meanwhile, downed trees continued to block one lane of U.S. Highway 101 at Lake Crescent on Thursday, state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials said.
Both lanes were blocked at milepost 225 at 8:17 p.m. Wednesday, according to a DOT alert.
Alternating traffic went into effect at 10:41 p.m. Wednesday and remained in effect through Thursday afternoon.
“We’re still doing one-way traffic,” DOT spokesman Doug Adamson said at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We had quite a bit of a mess, but the crews have made great progress.”
Adamson said he had no estimate on when both lanes would reopen.
Major arterials and many side streets had been plowed by Thursday.
Snowpack in the Olympic Mountains was bolstered by recent snows, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Snowpack was 92 percent of normal Thursday, up from 71 percent of normal as recently as Tuesday 32 percent one month ago.
North Olympic Peninsula rivers were running at near-normal levels Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski contributed to this story.