Road crews statewide are gearing up for what could be the biggest snowstorm of winter 2011-2012, with snow expected from the Hood Canal north to Bellingham, south to Vancouver and east to Spokane.
For travelers or non-travelers, that means it’s decision time. Staying in? Have a full tank of gas, just in case. Going out? Pack tire chains and a winter car kit and drive for conditions. Those traveling to ski resorts for the long weekend should expect additional delays, with backups common when the snow hits.
Weather forecasts show a storm system moving in from the coast Saturday, with snow and icy conditions expected through the weekend. Snow showers are expected to be especially heavy in the mountains. By Monday, Eastern Washington could have its turn, with wind and blowing snow possible in the Palouse area.
“Maintenance crews are keeping a close eye on the changing weather and have plows and sanders stocked and ready,” said Chris Christopher, director of Maintenance Operations for Washington State Department of Transportation. “But we really need drivers’ help to plan their route. If you travel, be ready for snow and ice even if the sun’s out in your neighborhood. The conditions could change rapidly and the conditions you see out your window could be dramatically different 10 miles down the road.”
Travelers can prevent additional delays by driving for conditions. Collisions caused by drivers who are going to fast unprepared for winter weather cause delays for everyone.
Drivers can prepare for snow and ice by checking travel and roadway conditions on the WSDOT website and packing their winter weather supplies, including tire chains.