Conditions icy; snow may not be done, yet
November 24, 2010 · Updated 8:08 AM
Though no more snowfall is projected until Wednesday night, icy conditions are making for continued dangerous travel.
State and local agencies urged drivers to stay home if possible today to free the streets for road crews.
WSDOT spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said that fewer cars were out during the commute this morning, which she hoped would lighten the evening journey.
Monday's rush-hour traffic saw drivers stranded for hours on highways in all directions as high wind gusts, cold temperatures and snowfall made for a perfect storm that snarled the entire Puget Sound region.
Many drivers simply abandoned their cars on the road when it became clear they couldn't get where they needed to go. Pembroke said trucks are just now getting into some of those areas to clean up the roads.
Going forward, she said, if drivers must be on the road, patience is necessary.
"If people need to go out and they have a vehicle that can handle the conditions, then they can go," she said. "We just advise that they have a full tank of gas, and that they take it easy and leave plenty of time to get where they want to go."
In Bellevue, conditions were still hairy, particularly for individuals living in higher elevations south of Interstate 90.
The school district closed all schools for the day, and it remains unclear whether they will be reopened Wednesday.
Downtown roads and main arterial still showed some snow and ice this morning, but fewer accidents than expected occurred in town.
Sheryl Mullen, spokeswoman for the North East King County Regional Public Safety Communication Agency (NORCOM), said emergency calls, which the organization manages for Bellevue and other nearby cities, were significantly lower than expected.
"People seem to be staying off the roads unless they need to be on there," she said.
Bellevue's 14 plows have been out attempting to clear main streets and crucial neighborhood roads throughout town to free up traffic.
Forecasts for the rest of the week call for temperatures to remain below freezing through Thanksgiving day, with a 60 percent chance of snow Wednesday night. Rain is likely Thursday through Saturday as temperatures vary from the high 30s to the low 40s.