PORT ANGELES — The North Olympic Peninsula was socked by the largest snowstorm in recent memory Friday and Saturday with more than a foot of white stuff reported in many locations and some places reporting 3 feet or more.
The greatest accumulations were in the Sequim and Port Angeles areas, where traffic was sparse and most were digging themselves out Saturday.
“That seemed to be the place to be if you wanted some snow,” said Jacob DeFlitch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
The Weather Service said another storm would “clip” the Peninsula tonight with another inch or two of snow expected in the lowlands.
DeFlitch said a “possibly more significant system” will arrive Monday afternoon, which could add several more inches of snow late Monday into Tuesday, he said.
Spotters reported six inches to three feet of snow Saturday in the Sequim and Port Angeles areas. Some 2 feet of snow fell in downtown Sequim and up to 3 feet was reported in the foothills east of the city.
In Port Angeles, reports range from about 6 to 8 inches on the flats to up to 2 or even 3 feet of snow in higher elevations.
“The biggest problem continues to be getting access for medical services,” said Ron Cameron, Clallam County undersheriff and emergency management director.
Clallam County Fire District No. 2 medics encountered 2 feet of snow on Angeles Ridge Road while responding to an advanced life support medical call Saturday.
“We encourage everyone to check on their neighbor and if you do not need to drive please don’t,” Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue officials said in a Facebook post.
The State Patrol responded to 27 collisions in Clallam County and eight wrecks in Jefferson County on Friday alone.
A jackknifed semi truck was blocking state Highway 20 hear the U.S. Highway 101 interchange in Discovery Bay early Saturday, said Trooper Chelsea Hodgson, State Patrol spokeswoman.
None of the collisions in Clallam or Jefferson counties resulted in serious injuries, according to the State Patrol.
Winds were a bigger concern on the West End, which escaped the deluge of snow, Cameron said.
Fallen trees were blocking both directions of U.S. Highway 101 near mileposts 197, 215 and 224 on Saturday morning, the state Department of Transportation said. State Highway 112 also was blocked because of a fallen tree near Sekiu River Road, according to DOT.
The last of those blockages near La Poel at Lake Crescent was cleared at 2:34 p.m.
About 6,200 customers lost electrical power Peninsula-wide in the storm. As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the numbers of customers without power had been reduced to 1,124 in Clallam County and 447 in Jefferson County.
The National Weather Service reported peak gusts of 47 mph at Quillayute Airport near Forks, 33 mph near Sekiu and 30 mph in Port Angeles of 1 p.m. Saturday. Winds were relatively calm in Port Townsend and Sequim, which had peak gusts of 13 mph and 8 mph, respectively.
Temperatures were forecast to drop below freezing in the Peninsula lowlands for the next several nights.
Cameron advised motorists to use caution and recommended that people stay home if possible.
“You’ve got this foundation of ice, and the snow makes it pretty slippery,” Cameron said in a telephone interview.
About 2 inches of snow was reported in Forks, which experienced at least two electrical outages from trees in power lines.
With the breeze, “it looked like Antarctica this morning on the main street in Forks,” said Christi Baron, Forks Forum editor.
By 3:30 Saturday afternoon, the largest Clallam County Public Utility District outages were in the Neah Bay and Carlsborg areas. Earlier large outages were in Diamond Point and the Lost Mountain area also.
Jefferson County Public Utility District crews had to cut power to Marrowstone Island to repair a downed wire, officials said. Another large outage was reported near Gardiner.
Ham radio operators in Jefferson County reported a foot of snow on Marrowstone Island, Cape George, Port Hadlock and Irondale.
A spotter reported 20 inches of snow near Eaglemount Road. Port Townsend accumulations ranged from 4 inches to 8 inches.
Sequim city officials issued a statement Saturday urging residents to stay off the roads today to allow crews to plow and treat the streets.
Crews were working around the clock in Sequim with five plows, two of which have sanders.
“The crew is currently focusing on the emergency route of main arterials today and anticipates they will begin clearing side streets on Sunday,” city officials said.
“Plowing will continue through Monday and as long as it continues to snow. Residents are encouraged to minimize driving.”
The Sequim Civic Center will be closed Monday and the Sequim City Council meeting for Monday was canceled. (A notice in Eye on Clallam inside provides the agenda for the Sequim council meeting and was written before news of the cancellation was received.)
The Clallam County Emergency Operations Center was open Saturday.
When the EOC is open, general questions about storms can be directed to 360-565-2691.
“Save calls to PENCOM (Peninsula Communications) for true emergencies if you have one,” Cameron said on the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].