Tri-Cities is recovering from the storm. It may be the calm before another round

Scenes from Tri-Cities snowstorm aftermath

See how Tri-Citians dealt with the snow delays, slick roadways and snow covered walks and driveways the day after a snowstorm dropped about four inches around the Mid-Columbia.
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See how Tri-Citians dealt with the snow delays, slick roadways and snow covered walks and driveways the day after a snowstorm dropped about four inches around the Mid-Columbia.

The Tri-Cities spent Tuesday digging out from the snowstorm that swept through the Tri-Cities, causing more than 200 crashes and killing a 7-year-old girl.

But the Tri-Cities may not be done with snow this week.

In addition to temperatures dipping to as low as 11 degrees, there’s a 40 percent chance of more snow in the forecast

On Tuesday, Tri-City schools started two hours late, while many others in Benton City, North Franklin County, the Lower Yakima Valley and in Oregon were closed for the day.

Children took advantage of the first significant snowfall of the winter to make snowmen and go sledding before and after school.

Schools and agencies have yet to announce closure and delay plans for Wednesday.

Watch as the first snowflakes start falling in the Tri-Cities creating slick roadways and causing closures and delays for schools and government agencies around the region.

Crews are still clearing roads after about four inches of wind-driven snow sent cars and trucks sliding off highways in all directions. The Washington State Patrol alone reported getting called to 163 wrecks and spin-outs by 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Benton County Emergency Services received more than 200 calls about accidents in Benton and Franklin county, nearly 10 times the normal number.

Deadly Highway 395 crash

One rollover claimed the life of a 7-year-old Moses Lake girl and sent the 31-year-old driver to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

Washington State Patrol investigators say Crystal A. Sullivan, 31, of Moses Lake, was driving too fast for the conditions as she headed north on Highway 395 at 4:45 p.m. and lost control of her Toyota Tundra pickup.

Brynn Sullivan was not buckled and died when the truck flipped. Four other children, ages 10, 9 and 7, were wearing seat belts and were not hurt, said WSP.

Franklin County Semi
A six-semi crash near Lyons Ferry State Park closed Highway 261. Franklin County Sheriff's Office

The snow also caused two semi truck cabs hauling four other semi cabs to crash on Highway 261 in rural Franklin County, just west of Lyons Ferry State Park, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

“We asked the drivers why they were on 261 in the middle of the night during a winter storm. They said they were from Florida and they were lost,” the sheriff’s office said. “We are assuming that Florida truck drivers don’t have a lot of experience climbing hills in the snow.”

Snake River bridge crashes

The snow nearly sent a car and semi truck full of cattle into the Snake River at the Highway 12 bridges near Burbank. Both stopped short of the frigid water.

The trailer full of Canadian cattle headed to the Tyson meat plant in Wallula was stuck there overnight until USDA officials could come and inspect moving the cattle to another truck.

Cows from a semi-truck that slid off Highway 12 at Sacajawea Park Road and nearly landed in the Snake River are moved to a different trailer to resume their journey to the Tyson Foods plant in Wallula.

State ecology officials also had to come supervisor the clean up of the truck’s spilled diesel.

How to secure your child

Monday’s fatal crash prompted the Benton-Franklin Health District to issue a release urging people to check their child’s car seats and seat belts.

“We want all parents to make sure their car seats are used and installed correctly. And we’re here to help,” said Kathleen Clary-Cooke, the Safe-Kids Benton-Franklin coordinator. “Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.”

  • Children should ride in car seats or booster seats until they’re around 4-foot, 9-inches or when the seat belt fits correctly.

  • Never put the shoulder belt behind their arm or behind their back.

  • Children 13 and younger need to ride in the back seat.

  • Don’t leave puffy coats or snowsuits on kids. Dress them in light layers, put them in the harness or make sure they’re buckled and then drape coats over them.

For a car seat or booster seat check by a certified child passenger safety technician call 509-460-4214.

RSD plow snow
A tractor outfitted with a snow plow blade clears the parking lot of Carmichael Middle School early Tuesday morning in Richland. The school district joined many others around the Mid-Columbia delaying their start of classes because of Monday’s snowfall that created slick roadways. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Cold, snowy forecast

The weather service is forecasting a 30 percent chance of snow Friday, increasing to 40 percent Friday night and Saturday in the Tri-Cities

A slight chance of snow is in the forecast for Sunday and again Tuesday.

The cold snap will continue at least through Tuesday, according to the weather service.

The temperature is predicted to remain below freezing at least until then.

Wednesday night the low could fall to 13.

Highs should be in the 20s, with Sunday and Monday possibly the coldest days. Highs of 21 degrees are forecast on those days at the Tri-Cities Airport.

When snow is dropping around a foot a day in the Sierra, people can get a little wild in the mountains. Take a look at what was caught on camera.

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Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.