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Snow north, rain south and thousands without power after Northwest storms

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SEATTLE -- Tens of thousands of people were without power in Washington state and there were concerns about flooding in the western Washington and Oregon as snow turned to rain in many parts of the Pacific Northwest.

The National Weather Service reports that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has received 20.2 inches of snow so far in February, the snowiest month in more than 50 years. Warming temperatures on Tuesday brought relief from the snow, but also new concerns as heavy tree branches snapped and contributed to power outages and closed some roads.

About 4,000 Seattle City Light and 75,000 Puget Sound Energy customers were without power.

Snow or rain?

A long list of weather issues as warm rain starts to move into Western Washington. South of Seattle, it's rain and a lot of it. North of Seattle, the foothills, and near higher hills it's more snow.

Rain and melting snow is the reason we have an Urban Flood Warning for rising rivers, creeks, streams -- but the primary concern would be flooded streets due to snow/ice covered storm drains.

Q13 News Meteorologist Tim Joyce says the best advice to take on your Tuesday consists of asking yourself two questions. The first is "Do I really need to go?" And if that answer is yes, ask yourself if you really have to go right now. We'll be warmer and a bit less slippery in a few hours, so if you can wait -- I'd recommend it. If you do head out now -- I'd recommend a hooded warm jacket or umbrella a good idea for today. You'll want boots for leaping over those giant puddles of slush everywhere.

In King County alone, troopers said they've responded to 407 collisions since the snow started on Friday. And that does not count vehicles that became disabled because of the snow.

The main east-west highway across Washington state — Interstate 90 — was closed across Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Mountains due to severe winter weather and avalanche danger.

SR 18 between I-90 and Issaquah-Hobart Road also remained closed Tuesday morning.

Q13 Weather Resources

We've got a lot of different kinds of hazardous weather to watch out for today.

FLOOD ADVISORY continues until 9:30p tonight from Seattle down into the South Sound communities for 2.4 million of us around Puget Sound. Rain is rapidly melting snow while many storm drains are ice & snow covered. You can help your neighbors by shoveling a channel along the curb and uncover those drains. We can thaw faster if we can get rid of the standing water in on our neighborhood streets-- so if you can, help us all out.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY until noon for the Cascade Foothills, areas up north of Seattle, near Hood Canal and the Willapa Hills in SW Washington. 1-4" of additional snow expected before it warms into rain showers or tapers off altogether.

WINTER STORM WARNING for the Cascades and Olympics into this evening. It has been snowing hard and continuously at the passes and as of this writing I-90 is closed in both directions over Snoqulamie Pass from North Bend to Ellensburg.

High temps today will climb into almost 40 in most areas, and even the frozen north will thaw somewhat-- though Bellingham will only get to 32 degrees today.  Tonight, anything that melts will re-freeze overnight.

Tomorrow looks like we'll finally get a dry day. Temps will start cold-- but sun will help pull all of us above freezing.

Precipitation returns on Thursday. Timing-wise, I'm hoping the models verify the afternoon arrival--which will mean we can start as rain-- and perhaps hold our overnight temps for most of us above freezing.

The weekend we'll see some rain showers-- and some snow showers at times too.

The thaw has begun, may the odds be ever in our favor.

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