Seattle and other parts of Washington and the Pacific Northwest felt the full wrath of Winter Storm Maya as heavy snow fell Friday. In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency as conditions worsened Friday afternoon.
“Weather forecasters predict this may be a storm unlike one we’ve seen in many years,” the governor said in the release.
For hours, heavy snow fell Friday on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and in the higher terrain elsewhere. Along the Olympic Peninsula, towns that hardly see a few inches of accumulating snow per season picked up a foot or more in one day.
Flakes begin to fall in the Seattle metro area about 1:30 p.m. local time. As the snow increased in intensity, traffic slowed to a crawl.
Many businesses and schools, including the Seattle, Tacoma and Edmonds school districts, decided to close early Friday in advance of the snow.
East of Tacoma, a woman fell through the ice on a pond while walking her dog in the city of Edgewood Friday afternoon. Emergency crews responded to the scene and pulled her to safety, the report added.
Emergency shelters for the homeless were prepared in Seattle and surrounding King County on Friday.
“This is an extreme weather event, and offering shelter is the most important thing we can do right now,” said Will Lemke, spokesman for the Seattle Human Services Department. “Public health and safety concerns remain, but life safety is our primary concern as temperatures plunge and snow falls.”
The storm also had already made an impact on air travel. More than 200 flights into and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were canceled on Friday. Nearly 100 flights scheduled for Saturday also were canceled.
To the south, residents in Portland packed supermarkets to grab supplies before the snowstorm arrived, and schools canceled weekend activities.
“If it comes in like it’s supposed to, it’s going to be quite the storm,” Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman John Brady told the Oregonian.
It’s not too often all of Oregon is under a Winter Wx Advisory or a Winter Storm Warning at the same time. It could end up not being the last time either in the next week.
It’s not too often all of Oregon is under a Winter Wx Advisory or a Winter Storm Warning at the same time. It could end up not being the last time either in the next week. Please check the forecast if you plan on traveling anywhere in the PacNW in the next 7 days. #pdxtst https://t.co/B73naDKhRa— NWS Portland (@NWSPortland) February 8, 2019
Maya will head to the Plains and Midwest Monday, where heavy snow is expected to accumulate across the northern Plains and upper Midwest. The interior Northeast could experience heavy snow on Tuesday as the winter storm completes its cross-country trek.