Snowstorm dumps on Whatcom County, then melts to slush

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 12, 2011 

WHATCOM FALLS SNOW

Collin Buckley watches one of his sons, five-year-old Isaiah, throw snow over the bridge and into the water at Whatcom Falls Park Wednesday, Jan. 12, in Bellingham. Collin and his wife Shannon are teachers and had the day off due to the overnight snow so they decided to take their sons Oliver, 19 months, and Isaiah out to the park. Up to six inches of snow fell in areas of Whatcom County overnight and heavy rains that started around 6 a.m. caused most of the snow to melt, leaving rising waters throughout the county. A steady rain is expected for the rest of the week.

KATIE GREENE — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

An overnight snowstorm closed schools and made a mess of some roads Wednesday, Jan. 12, but warming temperatures brought back a typically wet Northwest winter by midday.

All Whatcom County public schools closed after an overnight cold front dumped up to six inches of snow in some areas of Whatcom County.

Western Washington University is open, but classes were delayed at Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College.

All Whatcom Transportation Authority buses are on regular routes, but riders should expect possible delays.

Whatcom County Public Works had about 14 snow plows working through the night and into Wednesday morning.

"There's 6 to 8 inches (of snow) countywide," said Jeff Gollen, superintendent of maintenance and operations at Whatcom County Public Works.

Gollen said it began raining in most areas around 3 a.m., but the eastern part of the county had snow for at least a couple hours longer. He expected most roads to be clear by nightfall.

Temperatures are expected to warm to the low- to mid-40s, according to the National Weather Service. The rest of the week should be rainy with daytime temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s, and overnight lows in the 40s.

Despite the quick change from snow to rain, the National Weather Service was not expecting widespread flooding from melting snow.

There is a chance of brief freezing rain during the transition from snow to rain. Freezing rain is even more dangerous for drivers than snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Road crews said they were prepared to handle the winter storm.

The Bellingham Public Works Department had six sanders - four that have plows on them - and two deicing trucks ready to go Tuesday night.

Whatcom County and the state Department of Transportation also had crews ready to go out clearing roads, state routes and highways, according to spokespeople.

All of them expected to work overnight dealing with snow.

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