SNOWPOCALYPSE: West side of Washington has snowiest February in 70 years, east side also gets blasted

This semi did not fare well on State Route 24 during the snow storm this weekend. (WSDOT photo)

School closures hit Chewelah, other Stevens County schools…

While snow is nothing new to NE Washington where residents wear their winters like a badge of honor, last weekend’s winter storm was rare in its scope — encapsulating the entire State of Washington — and ferocity — blanketing the west side with its highest totals since the Truman Administration.

School for Chewelah and other Stevens County schools were cancelled on Tuesday as a half foot of snow fell in the Chewelah city limits. This was part of a rolling winter storm system that has blanketed much of the northern US.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Feb. 8 ahead of the storm systems bringing snow. For the past few days, Snoqualmie Pass and I-90 – Washington’s main lifeline between east and west has been closed several times.

Chewelah city crews were up early on Tuesday morning, as were the county crews trying to keep roads passable from the snow dump. City crews were at it by at least 3:15 a.m. on Tuesday. Some even skipped spin class at The Shed to keep Chewelah’s streets passable.

A single car wreck over Sherman Pass tied up the only two Ferry County deputies on Monday night as the WSP was unable to respond.

At the Spokane International Airport, 3.5 inches of snow fell on Monday night. In Spokane itself, more than seven inches fell from midnight Sunday to midnight on Monday, breaking the previous record of 5.5 inches in 1897. Over Monday and Tuesday, Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to more than 125 crashes and slide-offs.

Spokane has received 16.7 inches of snow in February, when the average amount of snowfall is three inches. Yakima got 18 inches, when the average is 1.2 inches. About 1,600 cows are dead in the Yakima Valley after a snowstorm brought freezing temperatures and 80 m.p.h. winds.

A Washington State patrolman was injured and taken to the hospital with non life-threaning injuries over the weekend after his patrol vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was responding to a crash. The driver of the car has been charged with drunk driving.

On Tuesday, 150,000 homes and businesses in Washington State were without power, while the Seattle area experienced school closures thanks to 11 inches of snow over the weekend. The Seattle area has already gotten 20 inches of snow this year, well above its average of seven inches. The normally mild city hasn’t made it above freezing in temperatures in over a week.

SEA-TAC International Airport cancelled 345 flights on Monday and delayed another 245. Colleges and universities in the state also cancelled classes.

With more snow forecasted this week, there doesn’t appear to be any let up. Distruptions to meetings, events and postseason tournaments has also been experienced as high school district basketball matchups have been heavily rescheduled.

Reports of snow are also coming from Hawaii… yes Hawaii.