The final effects of the late February storm that brought snow and record lows to South Sound are expected to be over Saturday with the return of above-freezing temperatures and rain, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm caused many closures and cancellations Thursday and today, affecting schools and several public events and performances. Some hilly roads in Olympia were closed through today.
Snowfall was capricious and difficult to predict, coming in sudden showers throughout the area. A heavy squall right before the evening commute Thursday in Olympia caused havoc on Interstate 5 when tractor-trailer rigs stopped in the middle of the road to put on chains. Traffic was jammed up near I-5 and U.S. Highway 101 for several hours.
However, most people slowed down enough to avoid serious crashes or injuries, according to law enforcement and public works sources.
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Lacey public works employees used de-icer for the first time, according to Transportation Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Stevens. Stevens said the de-icer was effective and that city streets were clear by this afternoon, except for some shaded areas. The road treatments were planned for in the city’s budget, he said.
Olympia crews expected to continue working through the evening Thursday on residential and secondary streets, said spokeswoman The low of 5 degrees this morning at the Olympia airport broke the record for the date of 13, set in 1962, according to Johnny Burg, meteorologist with the weather service. Saturday’s predicted low of 14 degrees will test that day’s record, also 13 degrees, set in 1962.
The warm-up into more typical late-winter weather might still include rain and snow mix for a few days, Burg said.