Freezing rain overnight Wednesday turned much of the Mid-Columbia into an ice rink Thursday morning and decorated trees and cars with icicles.
Most Tri-City-area school districts canceled classes — again — and Washington State University Tri-Cities held no classes earlier than 10 a.m.
Some Hanford workers were told to stay home, including vitrification plant construction workers, and others were told not to report until 11:30 a.m.
The Tri-Cities Airport also shut down Wednesday night because of icy conditions.
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The airport reopened by morning but several flights were canceled because planes hadn’t arrived.
Ron Foraker, who manages the airport for the Port of Pasco, noted that Federal Aviation Administration requirements for winter operations have tightened up, leading to more frequent shutdowns.
The Yakima Aiport also was closed Thursday by the weather.
But by Thursday afternoon, the Tri-Cities appeared to have gotten through the worst of it.
The National Weather Service predicts no more precipitation for the Tri-Cities through at least Wednesday.
Expect to see social media posts about an unfamiliar glowing orb in the daytime sky, as the weather service calls for a partly sunny day Friday and the mostly sunny days through Valentine’s Day.
Avalanche concerns closed Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass in both directions. The highway was tentatively scheduled to reopen late Thursday. Stevens Pass and the Mount Baker Highway also were closed all day.
Some patches of freezing fog are predicted most mornings and nights from Saturday night through Tuesday night in the Tri-City area.
Temperatures should mostly remain below February averages for the Tri-Cities. Usual February highs are in the range of 47 to 49 degrees.
Highs should be about 45 degrees Friday and Saturday, dropping into the mid to high 30s Sunday through Wednesday, according to the weather service.
Lows should be in the 20s Friday through Tuesday in the Tri-Cities.
Statewide, the storm shut down three main mountain passes over the Cascade Mountains because of avalanche danger, and is blamed for at least one death Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass was closed in both directions just before 9 p.m. Wednesday and it remained closed Thursday. It was tentatively scheduled to reopen late Thursday, according to the state Department of Transportation.
State transportation officials also closed Stevens Pass and the Mount Baker Highway. At least 2 feet of new snow was possible Thursday in the Cascades.
A 42-year-old Ellensburg man died early Thursday when his vehicle struck a semi-truck stuck in snow on Highway 10 about 3 miles west of Ellensburg, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.
An ice storm in the Spokane area knocked out power to thousands of customers and closed schools, including Eastern Washington University in Cheney and Gonzaga University, the AP said.