The Great November Seattle Snowstorm: A City Shuts Down

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At least three people have died. Schools are closed. Flights were delayed after a cargo plane skidded off an icy runway. The city’s main freeway was turned into a large parking lot with abandoned cars. Tens of thousands are without power. What’s the fuss? Seattle got 2.5 inches of snow.

Yes, apparently that’s all it takes.

The record-setting snowfall — the previous record of 1.5 inches was set more than 30 years ago, in 1977 — has crippled the city that rarely sees much of the white stuff.

Drivers were urged to stay home Tuesday after snowfall, high winds and freezing temperatures turned the Emerald City’s Monday evening commute into an epic nightmare. Routine commutes turned into three-, four- and five-hour ordeals, according to The Seattle Times, as cars and semi trucks spun out of control and buses jackknifed cutting off major roadways. At least three deaths have been blamed on road accidents. One man was killed outside his car on Interstate 5 when he was either putting chains on his car or trying to push it.

Two others were killed when their car slide on a snowy road and collided with another vehicle.

And it wasn’t just cars that had a problem. Incoming flights at Sea-Tac Airport were delayed by as many as four hours, after a cargo plane skidded off an icy runway. The airport initially called for a ground stop, meaning no planes were allowed to land, but took a step back just minutes later initiating a ground delay instead, says MSNBC.

On top of the bad road and runway conditions, stiff winds caused tens of thousands in the region to go without power as temperatures dropped to the low 20s, with wind gusts of up to 50 mph.

Luckily the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday called for some sun, but temperatures were expected to stay below freezing until midday today. The National Weather Service says another half-inch may fall over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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