Blizzard blasts the Basin

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  • Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Traffic on West Third Avenue was at a minimum on Saturday night after the first significant winter snowstorm of the year hit the Columbia Basin. Snow is expected to continue through Wednesday.

  • 1

    Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald The snow plows were out in force on Saturday night, clearing the way down West Broadway Avenue Snow and cold temperatures in the Columbia Basin are expected to continue through Wednesday.

  • Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Traffic on West Third Avenue was at a minimum on Saturday night after the first significant winter snowstorm of the year hit the Columbia Basin. Snow is expected to continue through Wednesday.

  • 1

    Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald The snow plows were out in force on Saturday night, clearing the way down West Broadway Avenue Snow and cold temperatures in the Columbia Basin are expected to continue through Wednesday.

MOSES LAKE — We all knew it was coming. In fact, most of us had a few days notice to prepare for what weather prognosticators were predicting would be a full-fledged blizzard. Despite the warnings and despite the time to prepare ahead of time, the blizzard Friday night and Saturday took everyone off guard with just how bad it actually was.

“I kid you not, my wife’s car was nearly buried by a snow drift. I could only see barely the dome of it in my driveway this morning,” said Steve Jurgen as he was entering the Moses Lake Walmart Saturday morning. “That is why I came out here today, actually. I had all this time, procrastinated and had to come all the way here just to get a shovel.”

Actual snow accumulation totals vary from city to city around the Columbia Basin. What made the weekend’s snow event especially difficult and treacherous, however, were the snow drifts. Gusty winds ripped through the Basin on Friday and Saturday, causing large snow drifts and headaches for travelers and anyone simply trying to go out of their front door. The Columbia Basin Herald asked on its Facebook for followers to share photos of snow accumulations and got over 100 responses in return from locals.

“I had my slippers on when I opened my front door this morning. As soon as I opened it a literal wall of snow fell into my house and got me soaked. Not a fun morning,” remarked Steve Jurgen’s wife, Sarah.

Little roads were closed. Big roads were closed. Stretches of state highways and Interstate 90 were closed. Visibility got down to nearly zero in some places as windy conditions made it almost impossible to see. Needless to say, the most visible impact from the weekend’s blizzard was the conditions of the roads.

Local, regional and state public safety agencies worked around the clock over the weekend responding to dozens of collisions. Snow plow drivers got their fair share of work as well. City and county plows went to work on Saturday and Sunday clearing major roads of travel.

“I am very thankful for everyone who works during these conditions. From the snow plow drivers to the cops and firefighters. These blizzards have to be a headache for all of them, but they all know how important their job and it shows,” remarked Jacob Sater.

The thing about the weekend blizzard is that we could be in for another snow event soon, as the National Weather Service is predicting that white stuff will be falling from the sky each day this week.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at rbyrd@coumbiabasinherald.com.

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