Slick roads, school closures in Seattle area — and more snow coming tonight

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A second night of snow and freezing temperatures left parts of the Puget Sound region facing school closures and slippery commutes Tuesday morning.

Scattered snow showers are expected through the morning commute, the National Weather Service in Seattle tweeted. And more weather drama is expected to follow as a “band of heavy snow” moves over the Puget Sound area on Tuesday night, according to the weather service.

Here’s what you need to know on this bone-chilling morning. We’ll keep this post updated all day as weather-related news develops.

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Schools

Seattle Public Schools are on a two-hour delay Tuesday and buses are operating on snow routes, the district tweeted.

Elsewhere in King County, school districts that are closed Tuesday include Bellevue, Federal Way, Highline, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Northshore and Shoreline.

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In Snohomish County, districts that have canceled classes include Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Mukilteo and Snohomish.

Several colleges around the region have delayed classes Tuesday. Bellevue College has closed its main and north campuses, according to FlashAlert, which tracks most schools and districts in the region. UW Bothell also canceled classes Tuesday.

Transportation

Sound Transit Express buses are on snow routes Tuesday morning. King County Metro buses were outfitted in chains in areas with challenging roadway conditions, and buses in north and east King County were rerouted Monday due to snow. You can check for the latest updates on your Metro route at metrowinter.com.

Not every Seattle road is cleared when it snows: Narrow roads, steep roads and roads with speed bumps or roundabouts won’t get any attention, and roads on the steepest hills will stay closed as long as it’s unsafe to drive on them, Ethan Bergerson, a spokesperson for Seattle Department of Transportation, said Sunday.

Westbound lanes of the Highway 520 floating bridge reopened around 10 p.m. Monday after about 30 vehicles crashed on the slippery roadway Monday evening. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews treated the bridge with salt and sand Monday afternoon and again after the crashes, according to an agency spokeswoman.

Westbound I-90 is closed at Ellensburg due to a jackknifed semi truck, according to WSDOT’s Snoqualmie Pass Twitter account.

A 24-year-old Lake Tapps woman died in Federal Way around 10 p.m. Monday when road conditions caused her car to slide off Interstate 5, plummet down an embankment and hit a tree.

Reports of more collisions abounded across the region’s roadways early Tuesday. Check traffic before you go.

Mountain passes

Highway 2 remained closed Tuesday morning between Gold Bar and Stevens Pass, after closing Sunday and leaving some drivers stranded.

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Snow was falling hard Tuesday morning at Snoqualmie Pass, with compact snow and ice on the road, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Trash, recycling, compost and yard waste pickup

Some Seattle customers’ garbage, recycling, compost and yard waste won’t be picked up Tuesday as scheduled, Seattle Public Utilities announced around 8 a.m. Pickups will still happen in “residential areas where street conditions allow safe access,” the utility posted on its website. “Most business and multifamily routes are running on normal schedule today.”

Seattle neighborhoods whose residential customers won’t get a pickup today include Fauntleroy and Delridge in Southwest Seattle, Ballard in Northwest Seattle, and certain steep blocks in Queen Anne, Magnolia, Maple Leaf and Wedgwood.

If your scheduled pickup doesn’t happen today, leave your bins out to be collected Wednesday. If they’re not picked up by the end of the day Wednesday, they won’t be until your next regularly scheduled pickup day (Tuesday of next week). “Customers who may be missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day,” according to the utility’s website.

Waste Management, which serves numerous areas, has cancelled all residential waste pickup for Tuesday.

Power outages

The Snohomish County Public Utility District said it had restored power to 33,000 customers as of Monday night and was working on fewer than 2,800 outages.

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As of 7 a.m., Puget Sound Energy reports scattered outages affecting more than 1,600 households. City Light reports just one outage.

Homelessness

The city of Seattle has opened a severe weather shelter at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall for people who are at least 18 years old. It has also extended hours at its City Hall shelter, where 171 people stayed Sunday night. Eighteen people stayed at the King County Administration Building, which has also opened as a severe weather shelter.

No one will be turned away from shelter in the severe weather, according to the city.

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Seattle’s Navigation Team, a group made up of police officers and outreach workers, is deploying across the city to get people inside. It’s focusing on areas where large numbers of people typically camp outside, like along the Interstate 90 corridor in South Seattle.

“Our primary focus is outreach, outreach, outreach,” Human Services Department spokesperson Will Lemke said Monday.

The Navigation Team will also pause its usual schedule of homeless encampment cleanups, Lemke said, unless a tent or structure is completely blocking the sidewalk downtown or causing accessibility issues for people in wheelchairs.

Forecast

Meteorologist Dustin Guy said the forecast has changed “significantly” from Monday, when the National Weather Service in Seattle predicted the region would could see more snow on Wednesday.

Now, Guy said, another, separate and unexpected system is aimed toward us and has caused the weather service to issue a winter storm advisory. This second system — a stalled frontal boundary that will lift northward — means a “band of heavy snow” is likely to develop Tuesday night over the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound, then move north, according to the weather service.

The question remains as to where the “band of snow” will set up and whether it will hit Seattle, Guy said.

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Some areas, especially those north of Seattle, could see an additional 1 to 6 inches, according to the weather service. Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties, as well as Kitsap County and Jefferson County near the Hood Canal, should all expect snow.

The agency predicts most of the snow will fall after the evening commute.

Forecasters are warning of possible power outages and effects on travel.

Another system is expected to bring a few more inches of snow to the whole region on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.

Also on Wednesday night, we could see “strong easterly winds” developing across the Cascade Mountains, Cascade Foothills and east Puget Sound lowlands, according to the National Weather Service, which says cold air from Alaska will continue to pour over the Pacific and interact with a strong jet stream.

Gusts could peak at 50-60 mph Wednesday evening. The wind, which could also affect the coast and inland waterways, is expected to subside Thursday morning.

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High winds come with a risk of tree damage, power outages, hazardous crosswinds, dangerous marine conditions, and possible blowing or drifting snow, the weather service warned. Wind can also make cold temperatures feel even colder.

Temperatures should rise later this week and may reach the 40s on Friday, the weather service said Monday. The warmup could bring a threat of flooding this weekend.

The snow won’t be like the 10-day stretch Western Washington got last February, weather service meteorologist Mike McFarland said Monday.

We took readers’ snow questions to the experts, and here’s what they say about how that series of storms in 2019 compares to other big snow events in the region.

More help navigating the snow and its possible effects

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