Washington faces a Winter Storm Warning, replacing the previous Winter Weather Advisory for western parts. Due to the potential for wind gusts, heavier snow, and ice accumulations, the National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle upgraded the alert, and has issued a Winter Weather Advisory that will be in effect from now until this evening, January 18, at 10 p.m. PST.
A winter storm warning indicates that the area could experience heavy snow of at least six inches in 12 hours, or eight inches in 24 hours. Typically, a warning is anticipating conditions that pose a threat to life or property, and travel will become difficult to impossible. Trooper Rick Johnson, the Public Information Officer for King County, reports that King County troopers have responded to 93 collisions since Tuesday evening.
According to the National Weather Service of Seattle, here’s what to expect with the Winter Storm Warning:
- Timing: The storm is expected to move in this afternoon and evening. The warning remains in effect until 10 PM PST tonight.
- Impact Areas: Primarily the Cascade mountains and valleys of Snohomish, King, Pierce, and Lewis Counties, including key locations like Darrington, Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, Crystal Mountain Ski Area, Paradise on Mount Rainier, Ashford, Randle, and Packwood.
- Precipitation: Heavy mixed precipitation with snow accumulations of up to 8 inches above 1000 feet, potentially mixed with freezing rain in the Cascade valleys. Higher elevations above 2000 feet could see even greater snow amounts.
- Winds: Gusts up to 45 mph, creating additional hazards.
The Washington State Department of Transportation urges everyone to be prepared for hazardous travel conditions, as slippery road conditions are expected, and to be prepared for delays and adjust travel plans if necessary.
Where to find the latest travel advisories
Major interstates and routes like I-90, I-5, I-405, 101 and 18 are expected to be impacted. For real-time updates on the latest road conditions, visit wsdot.com/map.
For the latest updates on how weather conditions will impact traffic for King and Snohomish counties, including Seattle, the community can follow The Washington State Department of Transportation (@WSDOT_traffic) on Twitter/X, or at wsdot.wa.gov/travel.
Winter driving tips for Washington state
The Washington State Department of Transportation also recommends the following to best protect yourself and your passengers:
- Give yourself more time to stop and drive according to the conditions – slower speeds, slower acceleration, and giving more time and space to stop. Do not use cruise control.
- Check statewide pass conditions in real-time before heading out.
- Check to see if you havetraction tires and chains .
- Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
- Pack your winter car kit – carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.
We’ll update this post with any developments. In the meantime, please avoid unnecessary travel if possible, stay updated on weather alerts, and prepare emergency kits. If you must drive, be sure to check road conditions and traffic before setting out and keep an eye out for road crews at work.