Washington and Colorado snowstorms blamed in deaths, injuries and delays

Wednesday, November 29th 2006, 6:21 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) _ A new storm headed into Washington state Wednesday as the region shivered in the aftermath of unusually heavy rain and snow that caused traffic nightmares and power outages.

The stormy weather has been linked to two deaths.

Winter storm warnings were issued for much of the state into Thursday with up to a foot of new snow possible in the Cascade Range. One to 6 inches was predicted for the central Puget Sound area, including Seattle, the National Weather Service said.

Additional precipitation could break Seattle's one-month precipitation record _ 15.33 inches set in December 1933 when the official reporting station was at the old downtown Federal Building. As of early Wednesday the weather service had recorded 15.26 inches for November at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

While much of the eastern third of the nation basked in readings in the 60s and 50s Wednesday, overnight temperatures in western Washington plunged into the low 20s.

Two 16-year-old boys were found dead Tuesday in a garage east of Port Angeles in the Upper Peninsula, apparently the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. They apparently were trying to refuel a portable generator used to supply power during a storm-caused blackout, said Jim Borte, a spokesman for the Clallam County sheriff's office.

Elsewhere, Colorado was digging out after a storm dropped up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains Tuesday, replenishing ski resorts but making mountain travel treacherous.

World Cup organizers canceled a men's downhill practice at the Beaver Creek resort near Vail, saying the racers _ who can exceed 70 mph _ couldn't see far enough in the heavy snowfall. They also cited the threat of avalanches.

The rare Puget Sound snow that fell earlier this week turned commutes into nightmares. Some football fans reported spending eight hours or more getting home on icy roads after the Seattle Seahawks game, and others simply abandoned their cars on freeways.

``It took me 3 1/2 hours to go 10 miles and I didn't even get home,'' said Jennifer Pack, 33, who lives in the northern suburb of Kenmore. ``I checked into a hotel.''

One to 3 inches of snow fell in Seattle, much of it during the Monday evening rush-hour, and as much as 5 or 6 inches in the surrounding suburbs, the weather service said. Up to 2 feet fell in the Cascade Range foothills, blacking out thousands of customers.