Heavy snow blanketed nearly all of Washington state on Tuesday, with many businesses, government offices and schools opting to close. Thousands of residents took advantage of the snow day to grab skis, sleds or anything else that would slide and head for the nearest hill.
The fun was over Wednesday, though, with the warmer, sloppier weather.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for nearly the entire state. Ice and freezing rain threatened the west side of Washington, while snow was falling in the mountains and east of the Cascade Range.
The weather service also cautioned that runoff from rain and melting snow could cause scattered flooding in low-lying areas and some Western Washington rivers.
Public schools in Seattle and its suburbs were closed for a second day Wednesday.
Though traffic was slowed by slush and flooded drains, most major arterials around Seattle were open. However, ice-laden tree limbs fell onto power lines, causing a rash of electrical outages.
Seattle City Light officials said they were down to 29,000 homes and businesses in the dark, with the north and south end getting hit the hardest. At the height of the storm, it was 45,000. Puget Sound Energy officials estimated some 80,000 customers in the suburbs and outlying areas were without power. Snohomish PUD said they had 11,000 out -- mainly south and east Snohomish County.
Aircraft were getting in and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but the terminal was jammed by travelers delayed by the "ripple effect" of flights canceled by Tuesday's storm, said spokesman Bob Parker.
Flood watches were issued for Lewis, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Clallam and Mason counties, including the state capital of Olympia at the south end of the sound and the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle.
Interstate 90, the state's principal east-west route, was closed until at least noon Wednesday at Snoqualmie Pass because of poor visibility with blowing and drifting snow.
The snowstorm Tuesday was the most widespread since 1996 in Western Washington, which typically has mild winter weather moderated by marine waters. Snowfall reports ranged from 3 inches in Everett, north of Seattle, to 11 inches at Hoodsport in Jefferson County.
The body of an apparently homeless woman in her early 50s was found early Tuesday face-down in the snow in a parking lot at the base of Capitol Hill in Seattle. The cause of death was under investigation by the King County medical examiner's office.
Shelter supervisors said their operations were overflowing with the homeless. The city opened shelters at the Public Safety Building, the Frye Hotel and the Seattle Center.
In Seattle, streets on steep hills were impassable to cars and trucks Tuesday, but not to sledders, skiers and snowboarders. Onlookers cheered wildly as people plowed down on sleds, skis, snowboards, inner tubes, garbage can lids, scrap metal, skateboards, cardboard boxes, plastic bags or nothing at all.
Brian Anderson, 25, and a few friends even took a ride on a "borrowed" Seattle Center parking lot sign.
"We don't have many sleds because it doesn't snow much around here," Leno said.
A festive crowd gathered at Queen Anne Hill, one of Seattle's steepest slopes, as sledders and snowboarders showed off their moves on a jump constructed near the bottom.
"Super fun!" was the verdict of Lara Stokes, 33, who slid down the hill on a garbage can lid with her husband.
The occasional car crept around the base of the hill, but carefully avoided the frolickers.
"We saw some snowboarders going down through the intersection, but they had the light," Stokes said.