Most Whatcom schools closed Monday due to snowy roads

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 23, 2014 

All Whatcom County public schools will be closed Monday, Feb. 24 due to continued snowfall and dangerous driving conditions, the districts announced Sunday.

Blaine, Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Meridian, Nooksack Valley and Mount Baker school districts, Bellingham Christian School, Lynden Christian Schools and Whatcom Community College will not hold classes Monday. Bellingham Technical College cancelled daytime classes and will announce the status of evening classes by 2 p.m. Monday.

Other schools and colleges could decide whether or not to close school as the evening progresses, and some may decide early Monday morning.

As a winter storm continued to drop inches of snow throughout Whatcom County Sunday, trees and power lines burdened with heavy snow and roads slippery with slush created hazardous situations well into the evening.

County and municipal public works crews were busy sanding roads where needed and running between dozens of downed trees and broken branches.

According to unconfirmed police and fire dispatch reports heard over the scanner, several streets were blocked off for a time while crews worked to clear accidents and hazards. According to the dispatches, blocked streets included Silver Lake Road about a mile north of Mt. Baker Highway, which was blocked with a large fallen tree just before noon, and Mill Avenue, which was blocked due to a downed power line around the same time.

Several accidents were reported on Interstate 5 and in outlying areas of the county, with at least two rollover crashes before noon.

As of 12:41 p.m., Cascade Natural Gas was sending a technician to the 8200 block of Van Buren Road to fix a gas meter that was leaking natural gas after a resident accidentally hit the meter while pulling into their driveway, spokesman Mark Hanson said.

Puget Sound Energy crews were busy replacing power poles and fixing low-hanging power lines throughout the day.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for areas of Whatcom County calling for 4 to 6 inches of snow through Sunday night, with winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts up to 40 mph. The warning was set to remain in effect until 6 a.m. Monday morning.

Most of the lowland areas received 2 to 3 inches overnight. As of Sunday afternoon, residents took to social media to report snow accumulation of as little as 2 or 3 inches in areas close to the water and as much as 9 or 10 inches at a higher elevation. 

All flights into and out of Bellingham International Airport were cancelled Sunday, and some were already cancelled for Monday. The airport advised travelers to check with their airlines for possible cancellations or delays on Monday. For regular updates follow @BhamAirport on Twitter. 

Whatcom Transportation Authority buses were running normal schedules and most buses were only a few minutes behind as of Sunday afternoon. The 105 was 10 minutes behind as of 1:40 p.m. For regular updates follow @ridewta on Twitter or call 360-676-7433 to ask for the latest changes. 

Several businesses started announcing they would close early on Sunday or open late on Monday due to the continued snow. Readers may want to call ahead before heading to a restaurant or other business to check on limited hours or closures.

Below is a short selection of the many areas that may have been blocked or dangerous throughout Sunday morning and early afternoon due to car accidents and weather-related hazards. These reports were compiled from police, fire and public works dispatches over the scanner and may not be verified.

9:50 a.m. (ish): Rollover crash at the roundabout on Guide Meridian at Ten Mile Road. One vehicle in ditch, non-blocking

11:20 a.m.(ish): Highlander rollover on Interstate 5, causing car to face wrong way south of Bellingham 

11:25 a.m.: Tree down on N. Ashley St. north of Byron Avenue, blocking most of the street (Bellingham)

11:39 a.m.: Low hanging power lines at Yew St. and Old Lakeway Drive and 4700 block of Freemont Street (Bellingham)

1:25 p.m.: Northbound I-5 near overpass at Slater, non-injury collision 

1:45 p.m.: Silver Lake Road continues to be blocked with downed power poles, trees and snow. 

3:19 p.m.: Snow drift forming at 6534 Guide Meridian may have caused some crashes and could cause more

4:05 p.m.: Power lines down and blocking the road in the 700 Block of 32nd Street in Bellingham

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