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Inslee declares state of emergency as snowstorm slams PNW

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Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency for Washington as a winter storm arrives and brings several inches of snow with it.

"Everyone in our state needs to focus on preparing for the snow and staying safe," Inslee said. "Weather forecasters predict this may be a storm unlike one we've seen in many years. I encourage everyone to stay off the roads if possible and plan ahead if you must travel."

The Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division has activated the State Emergency Operations Center and is instructed to coordinate all event-related assistance.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the number of hours commercial vehicle drivers can be on the road. This proclamation exempts drivers who collect or deliver either bulk milk products from dairy farms to dairy processing facilities and between processing facilities, or de-icing road salt to Washington municipalities from FMCSA limitations.

Most of the Puget Sound region will see 4-6 inches of snow, but those numbers could be much higher for areas along the Hood Canal and the foothills.

"Micro climates” will have six or more inches. The Fraser River outflow started at 2 p.m. Howling winds from the north will make it feel really cold but that air is a little drier, so less snow is expected tonight for areas north of Seattle.

Saturday will have less snow, but it will be very windy for all. Snow and ice are here to stay through the weekend, with the next round of snow coming Sunday.

During and following the storm, Inslee is asking everyone to follow common-sense tips:

  • Stay off roads if at all possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside.
  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.
  • Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
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