road conditions

Upwards of 250,000 homes served by Puget Sound Energy are without power – and some of the outages are expected to last a long as 4 days. Two of the region's other utilities were also reporting outages, bringing the total to about 280,000.

The ice storm is causing road closures and power outages all over the region.

Pierce, Thurston and Northeast King County are hardest hit.

As wet snow melts and then re-freezes, its weight is breaking tree limbs near roads or pulling entire trees out of the ground.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

It’s a tough commute out there for anyone who has to drive. Snow is melting fast, and ice is a big danger.

But in Seattle at least, the consensus seems to be that the city has improved a lot in keeping main arterials clear, by deploying trucks that preemptively spray de-icer and sprinkle rock salt on the roads when it snows.

It’s not without environmental risks, but officials say they’re doing what they can to strike the balance between maintaining public safety and limiting the risks from polluted runoff.

Charla Bear

Drivers in Seattle may have noticed they’re hitting more potholes this year than usual. City officials say they’re aware of 1,800 holes in the road this winter compared to 570 last winter. Mayor Mike McGinn says Mother Nature has made it tough to fix them:

“The rain, snow, freezing weather has led us to have a dramatically larger number of potholes and an aging infrastructure, frankly, this winter season than in prior years.  We are not currently meeting the 72-hour standard we’ve set for ourselves because of the number of pothole requests.”

Twitpic/@AlvinBN

Sunshine for the deep freeze, winds cause power outages, and roads remain a mess.