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Monday evening snow, commute and forecast update

Vista Drive covered in compact snow and ice (December 12, 2016). Photo: Discover Ferndale

While many were required to make their way to work this morning, what they saw did not provide any comfort.

Law enforcement and aid units were kept busy with multiple reports of cars sliding off of roads into ditches and even rolling onto to their tops. At one point this morning, a report of “several cars in the median along I-5” was issued by radio to What-Comm 911 dispatch. This was the case even as the average speed during the morning commute was between 20 and 30mph according to those who had made the trip.

In several instances, vehicles that had stopped on slopes found they were unable to gain enough traction to begin moving again. In these cases, traffic was often forced to detour around the slope to prevent repeat occurrences.

Notable accident-prone locations besides I-5 included Portal Way, Slater Road, Barrett Road, Smith Road, Aldrich Road and Northwest Drive.

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Heading home tonight things may be better in some regards and more of the same in others.

I-5 is mostly bare and wet with compact snow and slush at the on- and off-ramps. Unfortunately, while temperatures in Bellingham are currently at or above freezing, such is not the case after leaving Bellingham to the north. As of 4:30pm, temperatures were in the upper 20s in the Ferndale area and dropping. Temperatures had peaked at 29° about 1:30pm. As a result, wet roads hold the prospect of black ice.

Off of I-5, even well-traveled roads remain hazardous as they are covered with compact snow and a glaze of ice. More than once, the claim of “slick as ice” and “it’s like an ice rink here” could be heard during radio transmissions from law enforcement personnel working the many crash scenes today.

Less-traveled roads are a combination of both worse and better. In some cases, the loose snow and slush serve to minimize the risk of sliding while a sheet of ice can be found on others.

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Patience will be key for the commute home. Allow plenty of space between you and the car ahead of you. Allow plenty of time to make it home as traffic flow is again unlikely to exceed 30mph in many locations. And, as was learned this morning, be prepared to take alternate routes, especially around roads on hills.

The forecast is for rain/snow showers to decrease and mostly end tonight as cold and drier air spreads south across western Washington. Tuesday will be dry with decreasing clouds. Highs will be mostly in the 30s. Low will be mostly in the 20s. Wednesday will also be dry and chilly.

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As always, you can monitor real-time conditions along I-5 and in Ferndale and get the current weather forecast from right here on Discover Ferndale.

One Comment

  1. Barb Kehl December 12, 2016

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