Snowstorm spawns headaches for Issaquah commuters

November 22, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Isaac Martindale, 2, of Issaquah, enjoys a sip of hot chocolate as mother Carise, dad Jesse and bundled up 6-week-old sister Audrey walk Nov. 22 through the playground at Veterans' Memorial Field. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 6:45 p.m. Nov. 22, 2010

Snow snarled commutes and caused Issaquah schools to dismiss students early Monday, as a snowstorm dumped several inches on Western Washington.

City and King County road crews toiled throughout the day — and plan to continue the slog through the night — to clear high-priority routes. Traffic remained slow throughout Issaquah on Monday night as drivers inched through snow-dusted streets.

Meanwhile, emergency planners urged caution for drivers and urged commuters to plan ahead for the Tuesday morning drive.

King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit urged commuters to prepare for another difficult commute Tuesday.

The snowstorm prompted Issaquah School District administrators to release secondary school students one hour early Monday in order to allow more time for elementary school routes later in the day. Traffic and poor road conditions caused students on 17 school buses to remain stuck at 5:30 p.m. — long after the routes usually conclude.

Earlier in the day, district administrators had canceled afternoon kindergarten and all extracurricular activities.

The district could cancel classes for middle school students Tuesday — the day is a previously scheduled end-of-trimester grading day — but no decision had been made by 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Issaquah municipal officials canceled city meetings scheduled for Monday night and closed the Issaquah Community Center and Julius Boehm Pool in the early afternoon. The city Parks & Recreation Department also canceled scheduled activities.

Eastside Fire & Rescue crews spent much of the day responding to accidents caused by snowy conditions. The agency used the opportunity to remind motorists of the risks of driving on snow- and ice-slicked roads.

The state Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol urged drivers to stay home, if possible, in order to reduce the burden for state snow-removal crews.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle forecast snow in the Issaquah area until about 10 p.m. Monday and low temperatures in the 20s. The forecast calls for overnight accumulation of about one inch.

Tuesday is expected to be calm and about 30 degrees, but the lingering snow on the ground could cause problems.

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