Schools closed following weekend snowstorm blamed for four deaths in Northwest

Monday, January 28th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) _ A snowstorm that swirled across the Northwest over the weekend killed at least three people and left a hiker missing on Monday.

Fourteen inches of snow fell on British Columbia's Vancouver Island and at Sequim on Washington's northern Olympic Peninsula, and 6 inches fell at Duvall, just east of Seattle. The snowfall tapered off early Monday.

Snow-covered highways caused hundreds of accidents in Washington, and icy spots in Oregon caused fender-benders from Portland to Eugene.

``We've got people spinning out everywhere,'' Skip Higgins, cashier at the Ferndale Truck Stop north of Bellingham, said Sunday. ``Cars are sliding through the intersections.''

Two people were killed in Washington highway accidents.

On Vancouver Island, several hikers got lost in heavy snow late Saturday near Nanaimo, British Columbia. Police said one teen-ager died, another was missing and presumed dead and several others were treated for hypothermia.

Numerous school districts in western Washington canceled or delayed the start of classes for tens of thousands of students Monday because of slippery roads.

As many as 12,000 customers of Portland General Electric in Oregon lost power Sunday afternoon as power lines were broken by falling tree limbs snapped by the weight of snow.

Flights arriving at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were delayed an average of two hours Sunday, and Alaska Airlines alone canceled 13 flights.