Monday, January 22, 2018

Deadly storm grips Northwest in ice, snow

SEATTLE — A monster Pacific Northwest storm coated the Seattle area in a thick layer of ice Thursday and brought much of the state to a standstill, sending hundreds of cars spinning out of control, temporarily shutting down the airport and knocking down so many trees that members of the Washington State Patrol brought chain saws to work.

Oregon experienced torrential rain that swept away a car from a grocery store parking lot, killing a mother and her 1-year-old son. East of Seattle, a man was killed by a falling tree as he was backing an all-terrain vehicle out of a backyard shed, authorities said.

The snow, ice and heavy rains wreaked havoc in the region a day after the system brought a huge snowfall to parts of Washington state. The storm also raised worries that flooding could become a broader concern in days to come.

"It's like a storm in slow motion that keeps happening again and again," said Puget Sound Energy spokesman Roger Thompson.

Amtrak suspended train service Thursday between Seattle and Portland, Ore. Officials in Spokane declared a snow emergency, banning parking along arterials and bus routes. The City of Seattle asked people to get home before dark if possible, fearing even worse icing conditions by nightfall.

The last widespread freezing rain in Seattle was in December 1996, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Michalski.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency, authorizing the use of National Guard troops if necessary.

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