- Winter Storm Maya arrived in the Northwest Friday, and Seattle residents scrambled to get home.
- About 300 flights in and out of Sea-Tac have been canceled for Friday and Saturday.
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency as the storm arrived.
Seattle and other parts of Washington and the Pacific Northwest felt the full wrath of Winter Storm Maya as heavy snow fell Friday. In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency as conditions worsened Friday afternoon.
“Weather forecasters predict this may be a storm unlike one we’ve seen in many years,” the governor said in the release.
Snow had started to fall on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and in the higher terrain elsewhere. Along the Olympic Peninsula, towns that hardly see a few inches of accumulating snow per season picked up a foot or more in one day.
Flakes begin to fall in the Seattle metro area about 1:30 p.m. local time. As the snow increased in intensity, traffic slowed to a crawl.
Many businesses and schools, including the Seattle, Tacoma and Edmonds school districts, decided to close early Friday in advance of the snow, the Seattle Times reported.
East of Tacoma, a woman fell through the ice on a pond while walking her dog in the city of Edgewood Friday afternoon, according to KOMO News. Emergency crews responded to the scene and pulled her to safety, the report added.
Emergency shelters for the homeless were prepared in Seattle and surrounding King County on Friday, the Seattle Times said in a separate report.
“This is an extreme weather event, and offering shelter is the most important thing we can do right now,” said Will Lemke, spokesman for the Seattle Human Services Department. “Public health and safety concerns remain, but life safety is our primary concern as temperatures plunge and snow falls.”
The storm also had already made an impact on air travel. More than 200 flights into and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were canceled on Friday, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. Nearly 100 flights scheduled for Saturday also were canceled.
To the south, residents in Portland packed supermarkets to grab supplies before the snowstorm arrived, and schools canceled weekend activities, according to the Associated Press.
“If it comes in like it’s supposed to, it’s going to be quite the storm,” Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman John Brady told the Oregonian.
But not everyone in the area was concerned about Maya’s impacts.
“I love it. I’m excited about it,” Autumn Sang told the AP while she shopped for supplies at a grocery store in Tualatin, Oregon. “I think that Portlanders, most of them are city people and they come from a lot of different places, so they’re not so used to it. It’s like, ‘Use your brain! If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out.'”