UPDATE 9 a.m., Wednesday: What’s closed?
Here’s a list of what’s closed due to drifted snow on roadways on Wednesday:
Roads: Highway 2 from Coulee City to Waterville, and too many in Grant County to list.
Schools: Ephrata, Quincy, Soap Lake, Mansfield, Waterville, Moses Lake and Moses Lake Christian Academy
Government offices: Grant County District Court
Schools: Omak will start two hours late.
UPDATE 8:30 a.m., Wednesday:
NCW — In Douglas County, Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal is also warning residents in areas that are experiencing high winds to stay home this morning. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said the major problems and road closures were confined to the Colville Indian Reservation.
Grant County experienced the worst problems, with snow drifts ranging from two to eight feet tall. Sheriff’s spokesman Kyle Foreman said easily dozens of drivers were stranded, with deputies responding to rescue them.
“They were out all night long responding to calls from motorists who attempted to drive through drifted snow and would get stuck,” he said. “In some cases, deputies were getting their own vehicles stuck.”
He said the agency’s priority is to continue to rescue stranded motorists. Then, they’ll begin to remove vehicles stuck in the snow before snow plows can clear the drifts.
Foreman reiterated the sheriff’s warning to stay home. “Many haven’t, and we’re getting to meet them personally,” he said.
The Grant County District Court is also closed, and people scheduled to come for jury duty are advised not to come.
The National Weather Service said winds from the Okanogan Valley through the Waterville Plateau and down into the Columbia Basin were a sustained 20 to 30 mph, with gusts between 40 and 50 mph, and in some localized areas between 50 and 60 mph. The winds are expected to subside by 11 a.m.
Grant County sheriff says stay home
EPHRATA — The Grant County Sheriff is warning drivers not to go out on the roads in Grant County this morning due to snow drifts from Tuesday night’s winds.
“Stay off Grant County roads. It’s very bad and you’ll probably get stuck in a snow drift,” an emailed message alert from Sheriff Tom Jones said.
Parts of Douglas and Okanogan counties are also affected.
In the Omak area, parts of Timentwa Road and Cameron Lake Road were closed Tuesday night due to heavy drifting. Several other roads in the county were experiencing drifting, the county’s public works department reported.
The morning commute will be impossible for some people because so many roads are blocked by 3- to 5-foot tall snow drifts and abandoned vehicles, Jones reported. The county has been unable to put up barricades due to the number of roads impacted.
Schools are closed on Wednesday in Ephrata, Quincy and Soap Lake, and two hours late in Mansfield, Waterville, Omak and Othello.
Additionally, high winds are continuing this morning, and snow drifts are growing, the sheriff warned.
He advised motorists who are stuck in drifts to stay in their vehicles, turn on hazard lights and call a tow truck. Deputies are checking vehicles all over the county and bringing stranded drivers to safety.