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Entire state feeling impact from ice storm

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Date:  Thursday, January 19, 2012

Contact: Alice Fiman , WSDOT Communications, 360-705-7080 (Olympia)
Steve Pierce, WSDOT Communications Director, 360-705-7076 (Olympia)

OLYMPIA – Collisions and tree limbs are piling up on state highways, the Washington State Department of Transportation said today. Drivers may face long delays from icy conditions and road and lane closures throughout the state.

WSDOT crews are dealing with collisions and trees down as freezing rain adds weight to branches laden with snow. Crews in some areas need to wait until it’s safe to go in and clear the highway.

Drivers should check road status as WSDOT crews close highways until the threat of falling tree limbs passes.

Other highlights of the situation at midday:

  • Lane and road closures in East King, Pierce, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties due to downed trees.
  • Significant ice on SR 14 in the Columbia Gorge.
  • All westbound I-90 lanes are closed near Cle Elum because of a collision involving seven commercial vehicles.
  • Compact snow and ice cover most all areas of Eastern Washington, including:
  • The Palouse, including Pullman and Colfax: More snow and freezing rain is expected and drivers should be prepared for slow traffic and slippery conditions
  • Selah/Yakima area: There is freezing rain is falling all across the area. The roads may look clear (black pavement) but because of the freezing rain, they are very slippery.
  • I-82 is closed in both directions from milepost 113 near Kennewick to milepost 132 near the Oregon state line due to multiple collisions and extremely icy road conditions
  • Tri-Cities area/Walla Walla area: All state highways are open but roads are very icy. The forecast calls for freezing rain until 10 a.m. then a mix of snow and freezing rain until late today.

The National Weather Service in Seattle issued an ice storm warning for areas in Western Washington. The weather service says rain is expected to ease late this morning and temperatures are expected to creep above freezing later today.

Know before you go:

  • Find out what’s happening in the Puget Sound region.
  • Call 511. WSDOT’s driver information phone line provides real-time traffic, incident and closure information. Out-of-state callers can dial 1-800-695-ROAD (7623). TTY users can call 1-800-833-6388.
  • Sign up for email updates and social media tools such as Facebook.
  • Follow traveler information on Twitter @wsdot, @wsdot_traffic, @wsdot_passes, @wsdot_tacoma, @SnoqualmiePass.
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