The first snow of the season arrived Tuesday morning in Thurston County, and it’s expected to continue through Wednesday morning.
The snow overnight is not expected to add to the up to 2 inches that fell Tuesday, but the best chance on snowfall is during the morning commute, according to Steve Reedy, National Weather Service meteorologist.
“It really looks like things should start to wind down with regards to snowfall activity,” Reedy said. “We still run a chance for precipitation through the remainder of the afternoon.”
However, there is a snow advisory for the Hood Canal area for as much as 2 to 4 inches of snow from midnight to 10 a.m. Wednesday.
As for wind, it might be a little breezy, but the high winds appear to be over – except in the mountains. Winter storm warnings are in effect for the Cascades for an additional 1 to 2 feet of snow by Thursday.
South Sound’s first snow of the season wreaked havoc for drivers along the interstates and state routes, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Guy Gill.
There were 45 crashes in Thurston and Pierce counties, Gill said. There were six during the same period last Tuesday.
Most of the crashes were speed-related, involving cars going into the ditch. Some resulted in injuries.
Thurston County road crews responded to the snowfall using 16 plows, five anti-icing trucks and seven sanding trucks, according to Linda Robson, county public information specialist.
The heaviest-hit areas early Tuesday morning were Rainier and the Mud Bay area. Plows also went along the main roads.
“We plowed on our major routes as a precaution, just in case it freezes again overnight,” said Lucy Mills, road operations manager for Thurston County Public Works.
“Conditions can literally change by the mile,” Gill said. “You can be traveling on a lane that is bare and wet, and a mile down the freeway you could encounter snow and slush or compound ice on the road.”
Gill advises drivers to reduce their speed and increase their following distance, even in trucks and cars with all-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Also, people involved in a crash should stay in their vehicle, he said.
“Every year we have someone seriously injured or killed when they get out of their vehicle at a collision scene with snow and ice,” Gill said. “If people need to keep in mind they have just gotten into a collision and the next car coming could do the exact same thing they just did.”
Wednesday should see the last of the snow as the weather warms, Reedy said.
Rain is expected through to the weekend, with 100 percent chance of rain tonight and an 80 percent chance of showers Thursday with temperatures in the low to mid-40s.
Even though its expected to warm up, drivers should be wary, Robson said.
“That soupy slush can be just as slick and treacherous as a hard freeze, so be careful and patient out on the roads,” she said.