Storm Updates

Storm Updates
An icy hill got the better of a Tacoma fire engine, which ran into a a tree in Northeast Tacoma. Image provided by YouNews contributor "xraychuckay."
11:00 p.m.: The southbound lanes of SR 167 have reopened. Northbound traffic is being detoured at SR 410.

9:30 p.m.: SR 167 will remain closed in both directions at State Route 410 until approximately 11:05 p.m., according to transportation officials. Some drivers have already been waiting for nearly six hours for the the road to reopen.

7:58 p.m.: A stretch of I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass from milepost 56 to milepost 61 will be closed at 9 p.m. for avalanche control work. It is not known when the road will reopen.

7:15 p.m.: The Northwest Kidney Centers organization is reminding dialysis patients to stick to an emergency diet if they cannot make it to their dialysis treatments because of the region's snowstorm.

Dialysis patients are at risk of dying if their bodies build up too much potassium, which comes from eating fruits, vegetables and protein.

The organization recommends that patients who cannot make it to their dialysis treatments switch to a low-protein diet and avoid high-potassium fruits and vegetables.

6:16 p.m.: Sounder trains departing from Tacoma northbound and Seattle southbound have been adjusted.

Train #1516 from Tacoma northbound to Seattle is expected to depart on time at 5:35 p.m.

Train #1515 from Seattle southbound to Tacoma will be combined with a later departure. #1517 from Seattle southbound to Tacoma is expected to depart on time.

Simple rule of thumb for train riders this evening: the last Sounder trains out of Seattle and Tacoma will run.

6:07 p.m.: SR 167 is blocked in both directions at State Route 410, between mileposts 8 and 9.

5:30 p.m.: South 231st Way in Kent is closed from Military Road South to 54th Avenue South.

5:15 p.m.: Traffic is congested in both directions of both I-90 and SR 520. Drivers are urged to avoid the roadways.

5:12 p.m.: Westfield Southcenter Mall will close at 6 p.m. due to weather conditions.

4:50 p.m.: Bellevue city officials are urging drivers to stay off the roads if at all possible. City crews are working to clear 6 to 8 inches of snow off roadways, beginning with major routes. You can view a map of the crews' snow response priority arterials by clicking here.

Bellevue Square will close at 7:30 p.m.

4:03 p.m.: All southbound lanes of I-5 have reopened near Rochester.

4:00 p.m.: State Route 202 in Sammamish is described as quite icy and treacherous just north of the city limits.

Severe weather has shut down several branches of the Seattle Public Library. South Park, West Seattle and Magnolia branches are closed. All other Library branches will close at 4:30 p.m. and the Central Library will close at 8 p.m.

3:38 p.m.: The Washington State Patrol said troopers responded to 45 collisions between midnight and 3 p.m. Thursday from the King/Snohomish County line to the Canada border. Two of the collisions resulted in minor injuries.

The snow has limited the capabilities of the King County Animal Care and Control. As a result, the agency is asking the public to call or e-mail only in case of an emergency.

3:30 p.m.: Due to severe winter weather, Bank of America branches in 17 Western Washington counties have closed for the day. The affected counties are: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason , Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom.

Puyallup city offices, Shoreline City Hall, Spartan Recreation Center and Shoreline Pool have also closed due to weather-related issues.

3:15 p.m.: Pierce Transit says it will continue snow emergency operations for the evening commute. Some service may be delayed, rerouted, or cancelled. A list of routes affected by the severe weather can be found at www.piercetransit.org.

2:15 p.m.: State Route 302 to eastbound SR 16 is closed due to several spinouts.

1:58 p.m.: King County's Houghton Solid Waste Transfer Station in Kirkland has closed for the day and the remainder of the county's transfer facilities will close at 4 p.m. due to severe winter weather conditions. Facilities are tentatively scheduled to reopen at 6:15 a.m., Dec. 19.

Houghton customers are currently being diverted to the Factoria Transfer Station in Bellevue at 13800 SE 32nd Street.

1:27 p.m.: State Patrol has reopened 520 to 4 wheel drive vehicles only.

1:25 p.m.:Metro says they will be focusing on core service on major routes for the afternoon commute and the rest of Thursday. Due to deteriorating travel conditions, Metro will cancel or severely reduce service on many of its bus routes this afternoon and evening. The developing plan is to provide bus service on cleared highways and arterial roads, and to major transit centers and park-and-ride lots. This transit plan will continue until weather and road conditions improve, which means almost all bus service will be significantly limited. Information about bus status is available on Metro's Ice & Snow page

12:40 p.m. All southbound lanes of I-5 are blocked near Rochester due to an accident involving over 20 vehicles. Eight miles of the freeway are blocked near the Lewis-Thurston County line. No estimate when freeway will reopen.

12:35 p.m. All King County district courts are closed.

12:15 p.m. Thursday's 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances of Nutcracker are ON as scheduled. Patrons who are unable to attend Nutcracker due to weather may exchange their tickets after they have missed their performance. Please contact the PNB Box Office only after your performance has passed to make arrangements. Tickets will be exchanged into four performances (Dec 28 & 29, 1:00 & 5:30) with no fee, and a $5 per ticket fee for other performances.

11:45 a.m.: King County Metro Transit will be focusing on core service until weather and road conditions improve, which means almost all bus service will be significantly limited as we head into the afternoon commute. Currently, Metro is unable to operate on many hilly and slick roads, and service to West Seattle and Redmond has been a problem all day due to closed roads. Information about bus status is available on Metro's Ice & Snow page

10:55 a.m.: Seattle DOT crews continue plowing, de-icing and sanding the city's major arterial streets around the city as snowfall continues. Major arterial streets in general remain passable. Side streets may be difficult for drivers, and many side streets on steep hills are closed. People who are not required to drive today are advised to stay at home.

The West Seattle bridges remain open, but the on-ramp at Chelan Street to eastbound West Seattle bridges is closed at this time due to an accident. Earlier today, accidents at two locations-- the Delridge on-ramp to eastbound West Seattle Bridge, and the off-ramp to Columbia Street and northbound I-5, closed those ramps and backed up traffic.

10:30 a.m.: Bonneville Power Administration reported today that the federal power system is keeping up with a record demand for electricity even as below freezing weather continues its grip on most of the Pacific Northwest. According to the Northwest Power Pool, the highest regional demand for electricity ever was recorded on Monday, Dec. 15, at a peak of 63,252 megawatts (MW). This substantially beat the last record peak of 60,103 MW that was set in the winter of 2007.

9:45 a.m.: Streets in downtown Seattle are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate as snow continues to fall. Many King County Metro buses are abandoning their usual routes and are dropping off passengers many blocks from their usual destinations. Routes 3 and 4, for instance, are not proceeding past Virginia Street on Third. Most buses are off schedule as well. Cars are sliding up and down several hilly streets in the Central District, including Yesler Way. Even slight inclines are proving to be difficult.

9:26 a.m.: Winter weather is severely impacting transit service in King County and surrounding areas this morning. Metro Transit is unable to operate on many hilly and slick roads, and is significantly delayed everywhere by both the weather and traffic conditions.Bus riders should expect significant delays and disruptions in service.

Information about bus status is available on Metro's Ice & Snow page, but conditions are changing rapidly. Metro staff is updating the information as it becomes available, but assume that all bus routes are severely impacted by the conditions. You can also call the Metro Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000, but call volumes are high and there may be a long hold time.

9:24 a.m. Early morning snow is causing all kinds of problems for commuters trying to get to work this morning. While some King County communities are seeing more snow that others from this latest storm, travel in virtually all areas has become difficult.

The King County Roads Division reports that Novelty Hill Road near Redmond and 196th Ave. SE off of Maple Valley Highway (SR-169) near Renton have been temporarily closed so crews can plow and sand the roadways. Those roads will likely be closed for the next few hours.

King County says given these hazardous conditions, motorists should closely monitor weather and road conditions and plan their trips accordingly. If possible, you should consider postponing your trip or telecommute until road conditions improve.

Road closures at kingcounty.gov

9:22 a.m.:The West Seattle High Level Bridge and Spokane Street Viaduct remain open westbound, however, motorists must exit prior to I-5 as an accident on the Columbia Street on-ramp is blocking northbound I-5.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is bare and wet, a good alternate to NB I-5 at this time. SDOT crews are continuing to treat in-bound major arterials which are open; they are also maintaining streets surrounding hospitals. Many sloped streets and side streets are not passable and have been closed. As the day progresses, SDOT will switch its efforts to treating major arterials heading out of Seattle.

8:17 a.m.: The full force of SDOT trucks have been out treating the in-bound major arterials since 3:30 this morning. Earlier the snow fell heaviest south of the city and into downtown, but is now increasing in the northend. An accident has been blocking the eastbound on-ramp to the high-levell West Seattle Bridge; however the westbound lanes are open. Crews will remain working throughout the day.

7:35 a.m.: Bellevue city officials are asking people to stay off of the roads in Bellevue. Near white-out conditions early this morning have brought 3 to 4 inches of snow throughout the city. Crews are working to clear emergency routes and primary arterials routes before the forecasted hard freeze settles in and turns the snow to ice.

7:35 a.m:: Kitsap Transit buses were struggling to make their way through heavy snow during Thursday morning's commute. Route 106 had to transfer all its passengers to Route 93 when it became stranded on a Bainbridge Island hill. Route 93 then became stuck on the same hill until one passenger (a KOMO News employee) had a brainstorm and suggested that all the passengers move to the back of the bus, giving it enough traction to make it to the top. The bus made it to the ferry terminal with four minutes to spare before the 7:55 vessel departed.

7:05 a.m.:: All King County District Court locations will be closed until 10:30 a.m..

7:00 a.m. -- Traffic was completely stopped at times on parts of State Route 520 on the Eastside as snow covered the highway, and some drivers abandoned their cars and began to walk down the freeway.

In what Department of Transportation officials called a very dangerous thing to do, some drivers were turning around and using the shoulder to drive the wrong way on 520 in an attempt to get off of the highway.

6:55 a.m.:: All trips so far today for Sounder are on time. They advise caution for those who are making their way to the stations.

6:53 a.m.:: Due to inclement weather, Waste Management has cancelled collection services in King, Snohomish and Skagit Counties. Waste Management residential customers in the City of Seattle limits will be running one day late for the remainder of the week.

Waste Management residential customers not in the City of Seattle, may set out twice the regular amount of garbage, recycling and/or yard waste will be accepted at no additional charge on the next regularly scheduled collection day for each container unless otherwise specified at www.wmnorthwest.com or by special notification.