The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Monday, November 22, 2010, 9:28 p.m.

Cold won't make commute any easier

Expect travel to be slow and slick Tuesday; some school districts delay start or cancel classes

  • Looking south down Evergreen Way on Monday morning

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Looking south down Evergreen Way on Monday morning

  • Sasha Woodburn, 11, jumps off of the swingset and into the snow at Clark Park in Everett on Monday after getting out of school.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Sasha Woodburn, 11, jumps off of the swingset and into the snow at Clark Park in Everett on Monday after getting out of school.

  • Lynlee Banks, 12, chases down Sasha Woodburn, 11, while playing in the snow at Clark Park after school Monday afternoon in Everett.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Lynlee Banks, 12, chases down Sasha Woodburn, 11, while playing in the snow at Clark Park after school Monday afternoon in Everett.

  • A snowman sits in the front yard of a north Everett home Monday afternoon.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    A snowman sits in the front yard of a north Everett home Monday afternoon.

  • Lynlee Banks, 12, watches as Lacey Amond, 12; Brenden Ludvik, 12; and Sasha Woodburn (right), 11, spin on playground equipment in the snow at Clark Pa...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Lynlee Banks, 12, watches as Lacey Amond, 12; Brenden Ludvik, 12; and Sasha Woodburn (right), 11, spin on playground equipment in the snow at Clark Park in Everett after school on Monday afternoon.

  • Snowflakes stick to eleven-year-old Sasha Woodburn's eyelashes and eyebrows Monday afternoon at Clark Park in Everett.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Snowflakes stick to eleven-year-old Sasha Woodburn's eyelashes and eyebrows Monday afternoon at Clark Park in Everett.

  • The playground at Forest Park in Everett sits unused Monday afternoon in the snow.

    The playground at Forest Park in Everett sits unused Monday afternoon in the snow.

  • Brenden Ludvik, 12, tries to a avoid a tackle from Orlando Galvez, 13, during an after-school football game at Clark Park in Everett on Monday afterno...

    Brenden Ludvik, 12, tries to a avoid a tackle from Orlando Galvez, 13, during an after-school football game at Clark Park in Everett on Monday afternoon.

  • Snow covers rocks at Howarth Park south of the Everett waterfront Monday afternoon.

    Snow covers rocks at Howarth Park south of the Everett waterfront Monday afternoon.

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EVERETT — Snow and ice that caused wretched driving conditions Monday made for booming business at local tire stores as desperate drivers looked for better traction.
“We've been serving about 50 or 60 people a day, and some have had to wait three hours,” said Sarah Sanders, who manages Big O Tires in Lake Stevens. New tires and studded tires were flying out the door. “We're exhausted, but we like it, of course.”
Law enforcement and transportation agencies fear icy conditions today could lead to a repeat of Monday's nightmarish commutes that snarled traffic on freeways, county roads and city streets.
State troopers responded to more than 50 collisions Monday in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. Most were caused by drivers going too fast or slipping on ice after slamming on their brakes.
The National Weather Service estimated up to 6 inches of snow fell over the Puget Sound area Monday. Accumulations varied, with the heaviest loads falling closer to the foothills of the Cascade Range.
Throughout the night, firefighters and police kept busy with constant calls to minor collisions, spin-outs and cars in ditches. Commutes that normally took minutes left people stranded for hours.
At least one fatal collision was reported near Darrington. Lynnwood police were asked to help a neighboring agency when its officer slid into a collision while stopping to investigate it.
Despite the bad roads, Everett and Marysville firefighters worked together to extinguish a two-alarm fire at a pharmacy in the 9500 block of State Avenue in north Marysville.
As for the rest of the week, the high in Everett on Tuesday is expected to reach 24 and it could dip to about 14 degrees tonight.
“Ice is going to be an issue just about everywhere,” said Kirby Cook, a meteorologist with the weather service.
Temperatures should begin warming up Wednesday, hitting the 30s and 40s.
Until then, expect transit agencies to shorten routes and schools to announce delays and cancellations.
It was a chaotic commute Monday. An accident involving a disabled semi-truck slowed traffic off I-5 near Highway 526 in south Everett mid-morning. Around the same time, near 164th Street SW, an articulated bus spun out on a freeway ramp. A jack-knifed semi in the afternoon kept southbound traffic on I-5 to a trickle south of Stanwood.
In the Snohomish School District alone, at least three school buses ran into trouble. One drifted off the road. Another spun out. A third was involved in an accident that involved both a car and a telephone pole. No one was injured.
A medic unit responding to an accident north of Stanwood hit a patch of ice and ended up in the ditch.
Everett police dealt with 19 accidents in less than five hours, beginning with the morning commute.
All traffic on Highway 20 at Deception Pass stopped for several hours after a crash blocked both lanes of the road.
Treacherous conditions didn't improve as the day wore on.
“We had even more of a challenge this afternoon than we did this morning,” Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary said.
Leary said he worries about Tuesday's commutes, given the anticipated freezing temperatures and compact snow and ice.
Many school districts were expected to make decisions about cancellations and delays early this morning.
Some, however, made the call Monday. Students in the Marysville School District face at least a two-hour delay, and Everett and Stanwood-Camano Schools will be closed entirely.
For up-to-date information on other districts, go to www.schoolreport.org.
In Everett, road crews were preparing to work through the night Monday, concentrating first on major arterials, such as Colby Avenue and Broadway, as well as bridges and overpasses.
The state Department of Transportation offered several tips to commuters:
•Be careful when crossing bridges and overpasses or driving in shaded areas. Black ice is more likely to form in those spots.
Drive at a speed that suits your abilities. If traffic is moving too quickly, get to the right-hand lane and slow down.
Maintain a safe following distance at all times, and brake slowly.
Stick to major roads and highways, since they are more likely to be treated for ice than side streets.
“Just because you have all-wheel drive doesn't make you invincible,” said Meghan Pembroke with the state Department of Transportation.
Emergency cold weather shelters opened Monday.
“Really the whole purpose is just to get people in, so they don't run into hypothermia or frostbite,” said Dana Libby, corps officer with the Salvation Army of Snohomish County.
The South Snohomish County Emergency Cold Weather Shelter also was opened. The shelter is operated by a group of churches.
Everett Transit made some changes to service in response to the snowfall. For more information go to www.everetttransit.org or call 425-257-7777.
Community Transit experienced delays on many routes. For more information, go to www.commtrans.org and click on “view all rider alerts.”
Reporter Gale Fiege contributed to this story.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com



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