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Weekend weather may bring snow to Western Washington

An earthquake, a wind storm and a widespread power outage. You would think that’s enough weather-related calamity for one week, but apparently not. Snow may befall the Puget Sound area this weekend, but it’s predicted to be just a tiny bit.

The National Weather Service sent out a “special weather statement” Nov. 16 warning of the possibility of snow between Friday and Monday.

“There is a good chance that some lowland areas over Western Washington will see a little snow during the Friday through Monday period,” the statement declared.

“It is still too early to tell exactly how the situation will evolve,” it continued, urging us lowlanders to monitor weather forecasts and alter our lives accordingly — and to use the occasion to make sure we’re prepared for future, possibly larger, winter weather events.

The National Weather Service is predicting rain on Friday, a rain/snow mix on Saturday during the day, and snow showers overnight. The possibility of snow on Sunday is low; it’s supposed to be sunny.

Local emergency management agencies are not preparing for a snow walloping like winter 2008. Still, they’re ready.

Federal Way Deputy Public Works Director Marwan Salloum said his department monitors forecasts on a daily basis, and is not getting the indication that the possible snowfall will cripple the city. Standing ready, however, are plows, sand trucks and deicing chemicals.

Federal Way Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Gross doubted that any of the city’s nine shelters would need to be opened. If the weather ends up bad this weekend, the call will be made then to mobilize emergency services.

“We don't foresee a significant event, but we're prepared if things turn in that direction,” Gross said.

The best thing to do if it does snow, Gross said, would be to stay off the roads. If you have errands to run, do them before the storm.

South King Fire and Rescue reported that it would prepare its vehicles appropriately if inclement weather should occur.

The Federal Way area was hit with an overnight storm Nov. 16, with gusts that topped 50 mph. By Tuesday morning, 1,613 in the city were without power, according to Puget Sound Energy. Near 140,000 were left without power in the region after Tuesday’s storm. Outages were blamed on tree branches that severed power lines.

Sequoya Middle School in the Federal Way School District canceled classes Tuesday because its motion-sensor flush toilets could not function without electricity. Meanwhile, Rainier View and Lakeland elementary schools lost power, but classes were still held.

Federal Way fared better than some of its neighbors. Puget Sound Energy reported Tuesday that the cities of Maple Valley, Kent, Covington and Auburn each had at least 2,000 customers without power. Maple Valley had more than 4,000 without power.

The state Emergency Management Division encourages any person or business that suffered damage from Tuesday’s storm to contact the local emergency management agency. For Federal Way, the number is (253) 835-2701. The state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency oversee an assistance program for households, and the Small Business Association offers low-interest loans to businesses and non-profits for damage repair.

Earthquake

According to news reports, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake could be felt across the Puget Sound region on Tuesday. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network reported that the earthquake occurred at 7:51 a.m. Nov. 16 and was centered near Mossyrock, Wash., located off Highway 12 west of Mount Rainier National Park. No injuries have been reported.

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