Mid-Columbia to get more snow today

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 7, 2014 

Kennewick Snowblower

Matt Bradburn uses a eight horsepower leaf blower at to blow snow out of the parking lot of Bennett Rentals were he works in Kennewick. The leaf blower works well on the light dry snow.

PAUL T. ERICKSON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Slick roads caused plenty of crashes when the snow started to fall throughout the Mid-Columbia on Thursday.

The wintry weather also prompted school delays and a handful of closures throughout the region Friday.

And more snow is coming this way.

Roger Cloutier, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in Pendleton, expected Tri-Citians to wake up today to an additional 1 to 2 inches of snow, with at least another inch falling throughout the day.

That's going to mean the roads will be slick and drivers should slow down, officials said.

Washington State Patrol troopers responded to 48 calls for help between 2 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Friday, Sgt. Debbie Wilson said.

"We get a little bit of snow and everyone forgets how to drive," she said.

Of those calls, 16 already had been resolved by the time troopers arrived. Either drivers had gotten themselves out of the ditch or someone had stopped and helped, Wilson said.

"Troopers did investigate 32 collisions, mainly vehicles that had slid off the road. There were no significant injuries in any of the accidents," she said.

Slick conditions also kept Kennewick police busy, with reports of 30 accidents.

In Richland, Sgt. Brian Ruegsegger said officers responded to 16 reports of crashes between 2 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday.

"None were serious, though one driver did hit a light pole on George Washington Way on Friday," Ruegsegger said.

In Benton County, there was one reported accident, which surprised Sgt. Dan McCary. It happened at the Old Inland Empire Highway and Steele Road and involved a single vehicle. There were no injuries.

Prosser police Officer Mike Buck said his agency had reports of several fender benders and cars stuck in ditches but "nothing serious."

Forecasters predicted more snow for southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon as another winter storm moved in.

The Walla Walla area and Blue Mountains are under a winter weather advisory with predictions of 3 to 4 inches of snow over the weekend, Cloutier said.

"The chance of snow will moderate the further north you go. They should only see an inch or so in the Moses Lake area," Cloutier said.

Along with the snow, Cloutier expects the area to see temperatures in the teens and 20s through the weekend, but said it should gradually warm up a couple of degrees each day.

By Monday or Tuesday there's a chance Mother Nature will add freezing rain to the mix throughout the Mid-Columbia, over to the Blues and into Oregon, he said.

Anyone traveling across the mountain passes toward Seattle should prepare for snowy conditions.

And that goes for travelers heading for Portland too. The city already had more than 3 inches of snow Thursday with more in the forecast for the weekend.

"It's pretty unusual to get this much snow in February," Cloutier said. "By now we're usually beginning to warm up."

w Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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