Ice storm blankets Washington day after snowstorm - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Ice storm blankets Washington day after snowstorm

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A man walks past a truck stuck in the snow on 22 Avenue S. at S. Hill Street in Seattle, Wednesday. Jan. 18, 2012, (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Ken Lambert) A man walks past a truck stuck in the snow on 22 Avenue S. at S. Hill Street in Seattle, Wednesday. Jan. 18, 2012, (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Ken Lambert)
Heather Wilson ran into a rough spot on an onramp to I-5 south near exit 154A in Tukwila, Wash. on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, John Lok) Heather Wilson ran into a rough spot on an onramp to I-5 south near exit 154A in Tukwila, Wash. on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, John Lok)
Ground crews spray de-icer onto a United Airlines jet ready for take-off at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Jan. 18, 2012. Airport crews worked 12-hour shifts keeping the runways clear of snow. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Mike Siegel) Ground crews spray de-icer onto a United Airlines jet ready for take-off at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Jan. 18, 2012. Airport crews worked 12-hour shifts keeping the runways clear of snow. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Mike Siegel)

SEATTLE (AP) — A monster Pacific Northwest storm coated Washington with freezing rain on Thursday and brought much of the state to a standstill as the Seattle airport shut down and hundreds of cars slid off roads a day after the region was hit with a major snowfall.

The storm claimed at least one life — a child whose body was pulled from an Oregon creek where a car was swept away from a grocery store parking lot. Rescuers also searched Thursday for an adult missing in the creek in the Willamette Valley community of Albany, about 70 miles south of Portland, said fire department spokeswoman Wanda Omdahl.

The National Weather Service used the Emergency Alert System to break into Thursday morning broadcasts with an ice storm warning until noon for the Seattle area and southwest Washington. Among the concerns were widespread power outages and the threat that structures could collapse under the weight of ice.

Authorities are also worried about flooding in the coming days as temperatures warm up.

"It's a very dangerous situation," with a major impact on roads, said Brad Colman, the meteorologist in charge of the Weather Service office in Seattle. "We're expecting a significant impact on power."

Ice closed Sea-Tac Airport and officials said airlines would likely cancel flights because taxiways remain a problem even as runways are deiced. Forecasters expect up to 0.4 inch of ice before temperatures rise above freezing by afternoon.

The state Transportation Department closed one highway because of falling trees that also took out power lines. Puget Sound Energy reported 70,000 outages at 7 a.m. Thursday, after crews had already brought 46,000 customers back on line since Wednesday.

"It's like a storm in slow motion that keeps happening again and again," said PSE spokesman Roger Thompson.

The ice follows a huge snowfall on Wednesday. Nearly a foot of new snow fell in Olympia, Wash., where 11 inches was measured at the airport. The record is 14.2 inches on Jan. 24, 1972.

Oregon didn't receive the snowfall that Washington did — but got plenty of rain.

Rising water from heavy rains swept a car carrying at least three people into an overflowing creek in Albany. Two people escaped but at least one child was missing and feared drowned Wednesday night.

"The water just got high so fast," Omdahl said. "It's a big tragedy."

Washington State University in Pullman was closed. The University of Washington also cancelled Thursday classes at three campuses, including Seattle. Seattle schools were also closed again Thursday, as were schools in Bellingham in northwest Washington, and in southeast Washington's Pasco, Kennewick and Richland.

Lewis County, south of Olympia, had the highest snowfall amounts, ranging from 12 to 17 inches.

"It's unusual to get this much snow for western Washington," said Dennis D'Amico, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Forecasters warned that heavy rain combined with snowmelt could lead to some Washington river flooding, especially in the Chehalis River Basin, an area that has been hit by significant floods in recent years.

The storm caused hundreds of accidents but no fatalities.

"I saw a guy in my rear mirror," said Washington State Patrol trooper Guy Gill. "I saw headlights and taillights and headlights and taillights again as he spun around off the road."

In Oregon, high winds hammered parts of the coast and caused power outages that initially affected tens of thousands of customers, with reports of gusts as high as 113 mph. There were no immediate reports of serious damage.

___

Associated Press writers Doug Esser and Gene Johnson in Seattle, Ted Warren in Tacoma, Wash., and Jonathan J. Cooper in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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