A thick patch of snow blanketed western Washington overnight Saturday, leaving between 2 and 5 inches of snow on the ground across King County on Sunday morning.
Snow is expected to decrease throughout the day, adding up to an additional 2 inches in the Seattle area, according to government forecasters.
The National Weather Service observed a low temperature of 27 degrees at Sea-Tac Airport on Saturday evening, but temperatures are expected to drop throughout the day and drop to as low as 18 degrees on Sunday evening.
Whatcom County and the northern Olympic Peninsula saw the most overnight snowfall: downtown Port Angeles saw 11 inches of snow, while Bellingham reported up to 8 inches with gusts of wind up to 52 mph.
A weather system entering western Washington filters enough cold air to make snow possible in an area that usually doesn’t see too much. Waking up with snow stuck to fire escapes and access steps, Seattle residents began posting a flurry of photos from the day of snow on Twitter.
“It’s cold enough for the snow and there is enough humidity around so we have enough snow to see snowfall in the area,” National Weather Service Seattle meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch said.
At 8 a.m., the weather seemed to be wreaking havoc on Seattle drivers. Multiple collisions blocked the south exit of I-5 on 41st Street, and the Washington State Department of Transportation posted images on social media of a vehicle spun near the county line. King and Snohomish on snowy roads.
Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 people in Seattle’s Bitter Lake neighborhood suffered a power outage Sunday morning, although Seattle City Light is still investigating the cause.
The city of Seattle opened two overnight weather shelters on Saturday night in the Seattle Center exhibit hall and in the Compass Housing Alliance’s waterfront building on South Washington Street and Alaskan Way. Nearly 60 people took refuge in the exhibition hall on Saturday evening and 29 people slept in Compass.
Pets are allowed in the exhibition hall, but the Compass Shelter only accepts service animals. A daytime warming center is also open at Seattle City Hall between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The Woodland Park Zoo, the Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Art Museum closed Sunday morning due to freezing temperatures and snow. The Seattle Public Library has also closed all of its locations.
This is a developing story and will be updated.