** If you are looking for storm and power outage updates please go to latest story for current updates. **
If you haven’t stepped outside yet this morning, be careful. There is no traction. Only ice. Freezing rain is falling fairly rapidly. It’s so bad, SeaTac Airport closed all runways, attempting to penetrate de-icer through the thick layer of ice. Incoming flights may even be diverted to other airports if the situation worsens.
The National Weather Service issued a very rare “Ice Storm Warning” at 5:30AM for an unprecedented eight Western Washington counties. Freezing rain happens when warm air moves over trapped, surface level cold air. Precipitation starts as rain and then freezes as it goes through cold air near the surface. Close to a half-inch of ice could accumulate during this event. I think there’s that much at my house already.
NOAA warns power outages are likely as the weight of yesterday’s snow is compound by heavy ice. Trees and power lines have trouble withstanding the weight. Downed trees have closed Highway 18 over Tiger Mountain this morning. DOT crews are waiting for daylight to begin clearing them. Temperatures are expected to warm above freezing later this afternoon and stay above freezing – even overnight.
Please be careful. Roads are “treacherous” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Here is the latest Snoqualmie weather forecast. You can also check the latest radar images to see when the freezing rain lets up.