Snow makes island slippery

Beginning Sunday, Island County work crews spread 503 hogsheads worth of sand on North Whidbey Island roads.

The sand was needed to make the roads safer due to the 1 to 3 inches of snow that hit the area late Sunday night or early Monday morning and continued throughout the day and into the evening.

A hogshead is traditional English way to measure the volume of wine. One hogshead equals 63 gallons.

Crews started working on the roads at 11 p.m. Sunday and continued Monday as the roads on the north end of the island appeared to have fared worst. The slickest areas could be found in areas around Frostad and Troxell roads.

One or two crews from each shop were on the roads during the snow, said Randy Brackett, engineer for Island County Public Works Department. They normally start with the snow routes first and then follow a priority list based on reports from law enforcement.

He said there were also slick roads on the south end of the island, but work crews didn’t get nearly the number of calls that were received on North Whidbey Island and Camano Island.

He reminds residents that they should have the proper tires on their cars suitable for driving in the snow. Some who didn’t ended up in the ditch.

The weather caused several spinouts and fender benders during the Monday morning drive to work. There did not appear to be any serious injuries stemming from the conditions.

Marv Koorn, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue chief, said firefighters responded to approximately a half-dozen calls Monday morning. Even though a truck jackknifed, there weren’t any major injuries.

Joe Biller, Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue chief, said an accident where an SUV rolled on Fort Casey Road was the only incident that resulted from the weather.

Another SUV rolled on Regatta Drive in Oak Harbor late Monday morning. The driver was proceeding toward Highway 20, hit a slick spot, slid into a ditch and rolled.

Emergency personnel were keeping a close eye on the weather. Snow was forecast to fall later in the day, however it didn’t arrive.

The snow caused school delays and cancelled meetings.

Coupeville and the Oak Harbor school districts delayed starting times by two hours Monday.

Oak Harbor School District Superintendent Rick Schulte said the decision to delay school has to be made around 5:30 a.m. To help make that decision, four employees begin driving the roads at 3:30 a.m. to get an idea of the conditions. He pointed out that different sections of the community had different weather conditions.

“We take our responsibility seriously,” Schulte said during Monday night’s Oak Harbor School Board meeting.

He said the goal is to make a decision two hours before classes at Oak Harbor High School begin.

The Keystone/Port Townsend ferry partnership meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning was also cancelled.

Hadley Greene, communications manager for Washington State Ferries, said that people from as far away as Olympia were scheduled to attend the meeting in Port Townsend.

“We thought that it was safer for us to cancel,” Greene said. The meeting will be rescheduled sometime in early February.

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