x

Society

Another Round of Snow Before Thaw Comes to Frigid Northwest

December 30, 2021

SEATTLE — A thaw-out is coming for frozen Seattle and Portland, Oregon, but not before another round of snow that could compound problems for a region more accustomed to winter rain than arctic blasts.

More snow and rain fell on California on Wednesday, causing travel disruptions on mountain routes and raising the risk of debris flows from wildfire burn scars.

And in Nevada the governor plans to declare a state of emergency due to snow and storm conditions affecting travel in the Lake Tahoe area of northern Nevada.

Forecasters say parts of western Washington could see up to 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of snow Thursday and northwestern Oregon could see a similar amount.

The normally temperate part of the Pacific Northwest has shivered with temperatures hitting the single digits in some areas this week after extreme cold air from Canada’s Fraser River Valley blew in on Sunday.

Snow and ice has made travel treacherous in some parts, forced closures and travel delays and prompted people to take shelter in emergency warming centers.

The weather and the pandemic have forced the cancellation of nearly 1,300 flights into and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport since Sunday. The situation has been acute in Alaska, where hundreds of passengers, many from coastal villages, have been stranded in the town of Bethel because of bad weather and ill-equipped airports.

Temperatures could rise above freezing in Seattle Thursday and be even warmer in Portland, before airflow from the Pacific blows in on the weekend and causes the mercury to rise to more seasonable highs in the 40s Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius).

State officials in Oregon have declared an emergency. In Multnomah County — home to Portland — about a half dozen weather shelters were open this week. A similar number of shelters were opened in Seattle’s King County, which also declared an emergency.

Seattle leaders said city shelters will remain open through the new year.

Winter weather and a return to pre-pandemic levels of traffic have resulted in hundreds of accidents on Oregon roads this holiday season.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that between Dec. 23 and Dec. 28 there were 915 traffic accidents in the state. During that same period last year there were 365 accidents and 237 in 2019, according to Oregon State Police. The number of deaths has not been calculated yet.

David House, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said the high number of accidents over the last week is a reminder to travelers to use caution and prepare for slick conditions.

“If you can sit tight for a couple more days, just avoid getting out there, that’s going to be the safest thing you can possibly do,” House said.

In Nevada, a statement released by Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office said the emergency declaration will allow state officials to order vehicles traveling in on mountain highways to turn around and return to lower elevations until weather conditions subside and the roadways are safe to use.

“This will help prevent motorists from becoming stranded overnight on the roadways, potentially running out of gas in subfreezing temperatures without access to emergency services,” the statement said.

It said U.S. 50 and State Routes 207 and 28 were experiencing long delays and dangerous conditions and that authorities need to be able to clear the roadways to make room for emergency vehicles and snow plows.

Caltrans said snowplows were working around the clock and urged people to avoid all but essential travel in the Sierra.

Among staggering snowfall totals in the Sierra, the Northstar resort at Lake Tahoe reported 135 inches (3.43 meters) since Dec. 21.

RELATED

WASHINGTON  — In wide-ranging testimony before the Senate Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the chief prosecutor of the world’s top war crimes court for seeking the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that despite offering condolences for the death of Iran's president, it didn't change that leader's history of repression.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s Behind the Weird Flavors Popping Up on Store Shelves

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream usually draws customers with gourmet takes on classics like vanilla and pistachio.

WASHINGTON  — As president, Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on foreign steel, which hurt Clips & Clamps Industries, a Michigan auto supplier — raising its materials prices, making it harder to compete with overseas rivals and costing it several contracts.

NEW YORK  — Donald Trump’s legal team rested its case Tuesday in his hush money trial after calling just two witnesses and opting not to have the former president take the stand in his own defense.

Artificial Intelligence will provide us with one surprise – hopefully mainly good ones – after another far into the future, but for some people, especially writers and readers of science fiction, some of the news will be old news.

NEW YORK – Effie Lazaridou, CEO of New Agriculture New Generation (NANG), spoke with The National Herald about the organization which she has led since it began in 2018 and which aims to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people in the agrifood industry in Greece.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.