It was a crazy night on the roads around the Snoqualmie Valley Tuesday evening, February 27, 2018 when a strong convergence zone set up shop right over the I-90 corridor during peak commute hours.
On I-90 between Preston and Snoqualmie around 4:30PM heavy rain turned to heavy ice pellets and then to heavy snow within a matter of minutes, causing multiple collisions.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson said in about a two-hour time period crews responded to eight accidents on I-90 between Preston and North Bend. Luckily there were no injuries. Lots of vehicles also ended up in ditches, including along Snoqualmie Parkway where a semi became a stranded snow victim.
The collision that caused one of the bigger backups happened on westbound I-90 near Preston around 4:45PM and involved a vehicle from a military convoy. Trooper Johnson said it appeared during the accident a car may have spun into one of those large military vehicles.
Snoqualmie Elementary School teacher Marisa Snyder witnessed the accident scene and said the response from the whole convoy – about 8 to 9 vehicles – and personnel was ‘incredible to see.’
She said every military vehicle pulled over and soldiers sprang into action as emergency response had yet to be called to the scene, with many soldiers running to help passengers inside the involved vehicles, gathering supplies to help, contacting 911 and some even directing traffic while all lanes were initially blocked.
Traffic was backed up for approximately two miles – to the 90/18 interchange – for about 1 – 2 hours. Some Snoqualmie residents reported it taking them 1.5 hours to reach Issaquah during the height of the snow/ice downpour and due to traffic backups caused by the accidents.
Later Tuesday night the convergence zone weakened and the snow/ice turned to light rain. Snow remained on the roads of higher elevation neighborhoods like Snoqualmie Ridge overnight, with the city bringing out snowplows during the early morning hours.
Western Washington has been experiencing below average temperatures for over a week. Temps are supposed to stay that way until early next week, with highs in the Snoqualmie Valley expected to only reach the low 40’s. Average Puget Sound February high temperatures usually range from the upper 40’s and lower 50’s.
Here’s hoping for an uneventful Wednesday commute!