A winter wonderland: beautiful, but now what?

Trees at the King County Emergency Coordination Center weighted down with snow in the overnight hours Saturday.

Heavy snow continued to fall in the Puget Sound region overnight. The National Weather Service in Seattle says Sea-Tac Airport set a new daily record for snowfall on Friday, with 6.4 inches recorded. Even more snow fell across the region in the early morning hours on Saturday. As beautiful as the blanket of white is to look at, navigating roadways will prove challenging. Following are some considerations for staying safe (and of sound mind):

Travel conditions

Road crews from multiple cities, King County, and WSDOT have been working around-the-clock to plow and treat streets, freeways, and state highways. However, they can’t be everywhere at once, so be patient and stay off the roads if you can. If you must drive, clear the snow and ice off your vehicle, including the roof. Give snow plows space to work safely, and allow extra time into your travel plans so you are not in a hurry to reach your destination.

King County Metro Transit is now on Emergency Snow Network until further notice. This means bus service will be severely reduced across the county, with some areas seeing limited or no bus service because of difficult travel conditions or geography. Even those routes that are part of the ESN may see delays or other issues due to the snow.

Travelers using Sea-Tac Airport are advised to check with their airline before leaving home to make sure flights are not canceled or delayed.

Weather forecast

The Winter Storm Warning for King County remains in effect until 4 p.m. Strong wind, with gusts up to 45 mph are still a possibility, resulting in bitter wind chills especially Sunday night when temperatures could plummet into the teens. The wind has also caused numerous power outages across the area.

Making this situation more challenging is that a second winter storm is due to blow through the region late Sunday into Monday, dumping even more snow.

What you can do

The best advice for the next couple of days is to stay home. If you can’t, be aware of changing weather conditions, be alert to road closures, watch for downed trees and power lines, and expect long travel times. Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full, and have an emergency kit and extra warm clothing in your vehicle.

If you have older neighbors, or neighbors who might need extra help, check on them if you can.

If you’re out shoveling snow, dress warmly and in layers. Don’t overexert yourself. Take breaks, and be aware of the signs of hypothermia.

Only call 9-1-1 in an emergency. If you have questions or concerns about our region’s storm response, call our 24/7 public hotline at 206-296-3830.

For winter storm news, including weather alerts, travel advice and safety information, visit this website for updates and follow @KingCountyWA and @KCMetroBus on Twitter.