Winter Storm Kori Becomes Icy Mess for Northwest Travel
By Sean Breslin, January 18, 2017
Residents of the Pacific Northwest might be sick of winter weather that has hindered travel in recent weeks, but there's another winter storm that's shutting down roadways due to an icy, snowy punch.
Winter Storm Kori is underway in the region, making travel impossible in some areas. The Oregon Department of Transportation was forced to close around 200 miles of Interstate 84 in two sections. Parts of Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass were closed Tuesday evening due to snow slides and freezing rain that caused multiple spinouts, KOMO-TV reported.
On Tuesday, snow slides continued, blocking more roadways in the region.
Kori started as an ice storm in eastern Washington, shutting down operations in Spokane Wednesday morning. Schools and universities in the area had no choice but to delay or cancel classes Wednesday, according to the Spokesman-Review.
At Spokane International Airport, the runway reopened Wednesday morning after it was closed Tuesday night, the Spokesman-Review also said. A few thousand customers were without power Wednesday, the report added.
The Washington State Patrol told the Associated Press that troopers responded to 67 crashes on slick roads overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning. The snow slides continued Wednesday, making slippery roads even more dangerous.
As conditions remained extremely treacherous east of Portland Wednesday, the city itself received rainfall that was finally melting away the snow and ice that coated roads for days. But officials warned drivers that some roads will have leftover ice and slush until the rain and warmer temperatures can melt it all away, especially on side streets.
Officials said a stretch of I-84 that was closed Tuesday will not reopen Wednesday between Troutdale and Hood River. This 45-mile stretch of the interstate was initially closed Tuesday afternoon when freezing rain turned the roadway into a sheet of ice, KOIN.com said. Many truck drivers were stranded until the road reopened, including a man identified only as Dan.
"This is a nightmare. This is a joke," he told KOIN.com. "You can not do it. You can not drive in this wind and ice. There’s no way no matter how heavy you are. Just with the wind alone you get blown over — not a problem."
Many school districts canceled or delayed classes again on Wednesday; KOIN.com has a complete list.