Another storm brings heavy winds to Peninsula's edges, snow in higher elevations [**GALLERY**]
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A snowball is chucked from a partially built fort by Melyssa Whiting, 8, to her brother, Jason, 11, in Forks on Tuesday after classes were canceled in the Quillayute Valley School District. -- Photo by Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
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Bill Beezley/East Jefferson Fire-Rescue
After using an ax to chop through the windshield and make an opening, firefighters assist a Toyota driver to safety in Port Hadlock.
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Hunter Williams, 6, scuffs at the snow before boarding a bus to Port Angeles’ Roosevelt Elementary School Tuesday morning.
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Kathy Roberts, 32, of Port Angeles, a student at Peninsula College, walks through the campus Tuesday after signing up for winter quarter classes.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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A chilling shot of winter cold and snow that frosted the North Olympic Peninsula late Monday and early Tuesday is returning for a second call — even though winter doesn't start until Friday.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday afternoon predicted either snow or a mixture of snow and rain below 2,000 feet today, said Art Gaebel, a forecaster in Seattle.

On the West End, the real issue will be wind, Gaebel said.

“There will be lots of wind,” Gaebel said.

Sustained southeast winds of up to 30 to 40 mph, with possible gusts of 60 mph are expected through 4 p.m. today along the Pacific Coast, in the Admiralty Inlet area and the San Juan Islands, Gaebel said.

Higher elevations in the Olympic Mountains could get up to 18 inches of additional snow by Thursday morning, with rain in the lower-elevation Port Angeles and Sequim areas, Gaebel said.

Areas along the Hood Canal could see up to about 2-4 inches of snow in the early morning, Gaebel said.

Cold, windy weather Monday night and early Tuesday prompted the closure of schools in one West End school district and the delay of two others.

It also contributed to a rollover car wreck in East Jefferson County.

A light frosting of snow dusted Port Angeles docks and port areas as levels fell as low as sea level, with larger amounts falling in higher elevations.

Quillayute Valley School District schools in Forks were closed Tuesday because of icy road conditions after freezing rain and hail created a layer of ice under 2-6 inches of snow, said Superintendent Diana Reaume.

In Port Angeles, morning kindergarten and preschool programs were canceled, and Crescent School District buses in Joyce ran on the district's predetermined snow routes.

As of Tuesday afternoon, school officials said they expected a normal Wednesday schedule, but early morning decisions depended on whether more snow fell Wednesday night and early morning road conditions.

“We start our morning at 4 a.m.,” Reaume said.

School officials drive bus routes to determine road conditions and make a decision on whether the roads are safe for buses and students by 4:45 a.m., she said.

In Forks, temperatures dropped to 31 degrees and never warmed to higher than 36 degrees at the Quillayute Airport weather station.

About a quarter-inch of snow closed outdoor stairways Tuesday at Peninsula College, which is currently on winter break.

Only a few teachers and students were on campus, working on schedules for the upcoming winter semester.

In Jefferson County, a large log was driven into Cape George marina by the storm surge, and a marina building was flooded by high water caused by very high tides and an additional 1.5-foot storm surge, said Art Burke, manager of the Cape George Colony Club Homeowners Association.

A woodworking shop, one of the original log structures near the water, had about 10 inches of water in it, Burke said.

Most of the equipment was above the waterline, so damage was minor, he said.

Burke said the large log, one of several that was pushed into the marina, did not damage boats or docks before it was removed.

Frosty conditions in Port Hadlock contributed to a rollover car wreck at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to Bill Beezley, spokesman for East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.

A Toyota pickup truck hit a patch of ice while attempting to pass another vehicle on Oak Bay Road, spun out and flipped onto its side, he said.

Firefighters from East Jefferson Fire-Rescue and Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue used tools to break through the windshield and extricate the woman driving the car and her dog, he added.

The driver, who was not identified by officials, escaped with superficial hand injuries, and the dog was not injured, Beezley said.


Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at

Last modified: December 18. 2012 6:27PM
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