Spring snow closes roads and sets new weather record for the three cities

The Tri-Cities set a new weather record on Monday as residents woke up to a late spring snowfall.

April 11 is now the last day of spring with measurable snowfall in the Tri-Cities, according to the National Weather Service.

Data he keeps for Kennewick shows the previous record for late spring was April 1, 1935, when 0.3 inches of snowfall was measured on the ground.

Parts of the Tri-Cities were measuring 2 inches of snow by mid-morning.

Snow weighed down blooming tulips and lilac bushes and smeared trees that have begun to bloom in Mid-Columbia.

The snow fell just a day before the Dust Devils held their season opener in Pasco.

Snow in the Tri-Cities was already melting by noon, but the National Weather Service said more snow at elevations up to 700 feet was possible for the Tri-Cities Monday night. Much of the Tri-Cities has an elevation of around 400 feet.

But before it began to melt, it had closed roads and, with the wind, knocked out power to thousands of customers just west of the Tri-Cities.

Highway 221 between Prosser and Paterson was closed due to multiple spinouts Monday morning until about 11:45 a.m. Southbound Highway 97 near Toppenish was also closed with more spinouts there.

Around 10 a.m., Highway 24 from about five miles east of Yakima to Highway 240 at the Hanford Nuclear Preserve was closed in both directions due to snow and wind.

Ben Franklin Transit canceled its bus service from Benton City to Prosser due to dangerous road conditions on Monday morning and changed a route from Kennewick.

Traffic was slowed or stalled on Interstate 82 near Prosser for several hours mid-morning due to a slippery road accident.

Most schools and offices opened as usual, but the Paterson Rural School District was delayed three hours and then closed for the day.

It was the first day back to school for many K-12 students in the area after spring break.

Multiple power outages were reported across Mid-Columbia.

Outages were most widespread from Benton City to Prosser after a Bonneville Power Administration transmission line failed.

Benton PUD reported that at least 5,660 customers were without power Monday morning from Benton City to Prosser until power was restored to all customers at 11 a.m.

Benton REA reported similar issues for 2,657 customers with power restored to around 1,000 customers in the Prosser area around the same time. He estimated that by 1 p.m. all customers should have power restored.

High winds knocked out power to Franklin PUD customers in some rural areas Monday morning, including the Ringold, Basin City and Smith Canyon areas.

Forecast of the week

Monday snow may not be the end of snow for the week.

The weather service forecast a 30% chance of snow showers Thursday morning, with any precipitation changing to rain by 11 a.m.

The outlook for the Easter weekend is promising compared to Monday’s weather.

Skies are expected to be mostly sunny with highs expected to be around 57 on Saturday and 60 at Easter, according to early forecasts.

Tri-Cities area residents traveling for Easter could take a weekend break, after last weekend’s snowy roads for much of the week ahead.

Warmer weather means a possible mix of rain and snow on Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass Saturday with a slight chance of showers Sunday.

On Monday, a winter weather advisory was issued for the pass until 11 p.m.

The weather service said driving could be difficult or impossible in the mountain passes of the East Cascade Mountains, including Snoqualmie, White and Blewett passes.

However, as of noon Monday, Snoqualmie Pass had mostly bare roads even as snow fell. Traction tires were needed on White Pass and chains for trucks with light to moderate snowfall.

Chains were required for all cars and trucks on Blewett Pass.

Part of Interstate 90 was closed due to accidents on snow-covered roads for about five hours on Saturday and more snow fell on Sunday.

Snow showers are expected to continue at least through Friday, when the weather service predicts a chance of snow showers and possible mixed rain and snow showers.

This story was originally published April 11, 2022 2:31 p.m.

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