Snow wallops South Sound. Now brace yourself for the Big Chill

Heavy snow, power outages cover the South Sound Saturday morning

A heavy regional snow event left the South Sound covered in a winter blanket, leaving thousands without power and tricky travel for those braving the elements.
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A heavy regional snow event left the South Sound covered in a winter blanket, leaving thousands without power and tricky travel for those braving the elements.

The South Sound is digging out from the biggest snowstorm in a decade Saturday morning. Now, it’s going to get cold.

The mercury is predicted to drop to 17 degrees on Sunday in Olympia, according to the National Weather Service.

At least 10 inches of snow fell overnight in Olympia, according to the Weather Service.

A winter storm warning is in effect through Saturday afternoon in Puget Sound. Winds are forecast to reach 16 miles per hour Saturday with gusts as high as 28 miles per hour in central Thurston County.

Puget Sound Energy was reporting more than 400 customers without power as of 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Mother Nature will not be cooperating in snow removal. Temperatures will stay below freezing all weekend, the Weather Service said Saturday.

If snow should melt during the day, it will undoubtedly turn to ice over night. Temperatures are forecast to get just a handful of degrees above freezing all week. Friday should be the warmest day of the week with a high of 39 degrees.

After Sunday’s dip into the teens, lows will be will be in the 20s all week.

Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass is open to vehicles with traction tires or chains.

However, I-90 was closed in both directions from six miles east of Ellensburg to Vantage as of 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Tractor-trailer spin-outs are blocking the roadway and drifting snow is causing poor visibility. WSDOT could not provide an estimated time to reopen the highway.

U.S. 2 also is closed from Waterville to state Route 17. Extreme winds are creating snow drifts up to 3- and 4-feet high.

White Pass remains open but traction tires or chains are required for travel. The temperature at the summit was 22 degrees at 7:30 a.m.

Flights into and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are affected by the storm. Alaska Airlines is allowing passengers to change their travel plans through Sunday. Passengers should check with individual airlines for the latest flight information.

Officials from nearly every public safety agency are warning about the dangers of the current weather. Deep snow, slick roads, winds and extreme cold can make for a deadly combination. They urge citizens to travel only if necessary.

The low temperatures also make for dangerous conditions for the region’s homeless population as well as anyone who might lose power during the prolonged cold period. If you lose the ability to heat your home and do not have an approved alternative heat source, authorities urge you to seek shelter elsewhere. Do not use improvised heating devices inside a home or other building.

Heavy snow is weighing down tree limbs which can snap off without warning. Trees have been falling during the night around the region.

Unprotected water pipes might freeze and burst. But the full extent of damage may not become apparent until warm weather returns and melt the ice. That could occur well into next week.

More snow is on the way Sunday night to Monday morning, although the Weather Service is predicting one to three inches. Two other snowstorms are forecast to hit the region next week.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.