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More snow expected to fall this evening
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UPDATE, 6:30 a.m. TuesdayBellevue School District schools closed for the day.
More than an inch of snow has already dropped on Bellevue, and the rest of the Seattle metro area, and it won't stop anytime soon.
The Monday evening commute is expected to be impacted by another snow system that has settled over the area and could drop several more inches of snow on the ground by the end of the day.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound Region early Monday, predicting anywhere between two and six inches of snow this evening.
NWS Meteorologist Dennis D'Amico said Monday afternoon that the snow will continue to fall through the night with drier conditions Tuesday. Wind will be a factor, with the potential for gusts as high as 40 miles per hour.
But when the snow fades, the issue of it freezing and turning into sheets of ice comes into play.
"Ice will be a problem if roadways are not treated well," D'Amico said. "Our highs tomorrow will not go above freezing."
To this point, treatment of the roadways has prevented accidents. There have actually been fewer incidents Monday in Bellevue than a normal day, in which more cars might be on the road, said Sheryl Mullen, spokeswoman for the North East King County Regional Public Safety Communication Agency (NORCOM), which operates dispatch centers for Bellevue and other nearby cities.
Mullen applauded road crew work for keeping snow and ice off main arterials and preventing the kinds of accidents that can lock up an entire city, or even the whole Eastside.
"Either people are doing better in the snow than we think," Mullen said, "or the road crews are keeping the roads really clean. We're waiting for things to pick up but they just haven't."
Plows from state and local municipalities have been at it all day, working on highways and city streets.
Plows from the Washington State Department of Transportation have been out all day clearing highways as snow falls on and off.
In Bellevue, the city's 14 plows have been extremely active. Mike Jackman, assistant director of utilities for Bellevue, said all major arterials and neighborhood roads have been cleared.
The vulnerable roads are the small residential streets and those at higher elevations south of I-90. Jackman said utilities crews will continue to work on the main streets, but he hopes to get into most of the neighborhoods overnight so ice doesn't become a problem.
"Our biggest concern is as the temperature begins to drop, there could be some real icing conditions developing overnight," he said. "We'll be all out and trying to de-ice all night long ahead of the morning commute."
But the snow is continuing to impact travel. Roads are beginning to stack up as travel times soar above their average times, according to WSDOT travel times.
For those seeking protection from the weather, Bellevue's severe weather shelter at the Crossroads Community Center will be open beginning at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The shelter, located at 16000 NE 10th St., accommodates 50 individuals and is run by the Eastside Interfaith Social Concerns Council. For more information, the council can be reached at 425-614-8544.