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Motorists unable to navigate snow-covered roads keep first responders busy overnight

Washington State Patrol trooper tends to flares near a single-vehicle crash near milepost 246 on I-5 (January 12, 2020). Photo courtesy of WSP via Twitter

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Whatcom County law enforcement, State Patrol troopers and fire and medical aid personnel responded to numerous calls due to occupied and unoccupied vehicles stuck on and off snow-covered roads late yesterday and into the early morning hours today, December 26th. Gusty northeasterly winds created deep snowdrifts that were blocking lanes in many places.

Temperatures dropped into the teens yesterday and remained in that range overnight while continuing to drop.

In an extreme incident, an occupant of a passenger car called What-Comm 911 to report the car was filling with water after sliding into a ditch off Slater Road near Haxton Way. According to unconfirmed radio reports from the scene, the sole occupant of the car was able to be safely pulled from the vehicle by law enforcement.

Towing companies were also kept busy with calls to retrieve stuck vehicles with response times extending to over an hour in many cases. As a result, it is reported several vehicles were abandoned on and off Whatcom County roads and many remain this morning.

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State, county and city maintenance crews worked overnight plowing, sanding and keeping priority routes clear as gusty winds continued to blow the snow around.

Officials with local agencies and the Washington State Department of Transportation described road conditions as treacherous this morning and advised not to drive unless absolutely necessary.

As of 6:30am, there were dozens of localized power outages across the county leaving over 1,860 Puget Sound Energy customer addresses impacted and that number was increasing.

National Weather Service forecasters in the Seattle office said this morning, “Fraser outflow will continue over the north interior today then ease on Monday with gusty northeast winds, blowing snow, and bitterly cold wind chills today and tonight.” Snow is expected to lessen and end late today as days of drier weather are expected beginning tomorrow.

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