While Downtown Seattle was spared from the snow, an intense Puget Sound Convergence Zone brought a heavy band of snow to southern Snohomish County just as most people were getting ready to go work. Snow totals ranged from 1-3" between Bothell and south Everett, instantly causing problems on the roadways.
In Bothell, the southbound lanes of I-405 were shut down at Filbert Road for over half an hour due to numerous spinouts. And shades of November's storm, there were areas where people were just parked along the side of the road. The roadway reopened at 8:30 a.m. I-5 also had traffic issues around the Lynnwood/Mukilteo area with backups extending at least 3 miles in spots during the peak of the commute. Surface streets were also affected as there were reports of several jack-knifed buses around the Lynnwood/Alderwood Mall area.
The Washington State Patrol said it dealt with over 30 collisions in Snohomish County -- mostly spin-outs and fender-benders. Trooper Keith Leary says troopers also dealt with stuck vehicles unable to gain traction, jump starts, spun out vehicles and vehicles with other mechanical issues. He says there were no serious injuries.
The snow then moved down to the Eastside but fizzled as it did so. A second round of snow moved through the north end in the midday hours, but fizzled a bit and didn't cause any additional problems.
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So far we've received reports of 4.5" in Duvall, 3" in Bonney Lake, 2.5" in the Silver Lake neighborhood of south Everett, Puyallup and Eatonville, 2" in Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Duvall and Edgewood. (See all snow totals)
More snow fell in higher elevations. Lake Kaposwin around 1,000 feet near Eatonville reported 5-6" of snow overnight.
Road crews were out with plows and de-icing trucks and traffic was moving smoothly on most highways. One person was killed in a collision on Highway 99 in Federal Way, but officials said snow was not a factor in the crash.
Unlike November where we had an arctic air mass pushing into the region from the British Columbia interior and an organized front to bring widespread precipitation, this current set up is bringing modified cold air off the ocean, and aside from the convergence zone, snow showers are hit-and-miss due to a cool, unstable atmosphere.
The showers should pass through by Wednesday afternoon or evening and we'll begin to dry out from the north as cool, dry air flows in behind the trough. Highs Wednesday will be in the mid-upper 30s.
Icy Roads A Concern For Thursday Morning
With skies eventually clearing and temperatures dropping, attention will shift from snow to ice as the wet roads to the north and east of Seattle could freeze solid by Thursday morning. Overnight lows are forecast to be in the upper 20s around Seattle and low-mid 20s in the outlying areas.
Thursday itself is looking quite sunny and crisp with highs only in the mid-upper 30s.
Thursday night will be the coldest night of the week and perhaps the month as temperatures plunge well down into the 20s across the region.
We begin to moderate for Friday as the cold air moves east to combine with another batch of arctic air in the Canadian interior, bringing a New Year's arctic blast to the Inter-mountain West and Midwest regions. But for Western Washington, it's a return to normal as highs climb back into the 40s with lows in the mid 30s.
As for moisture, long range forecasts for Friday and the weekend have been quite variable, with forecast models unsure whether some showers will make it in for New Year's Day or fizzle before they get here.
Snow levels will remain low, but well above lowland levels and the only issues the city will have for plowing roads will be to clear confetti from New Year's Eve.