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Yakima is under state of emergency; people are urged to stay indoors

WINTER BLIZZARD.PNG

YAKIMA Wa. -- Yakima has now declared a state of emergency due to severe winter weather that began Friday evening and is expected to continue until Sunday morning.

People are urged to stay indoors and only come out if it is an emergency.

Yakima Valley Emergency Management Operations Manager Horace Ward says travel could be very difficult to impossible do to blowing and drifting snow.

He says to avoid traveling but if you must travel to have a winter survival kit with you and if you get stranded stay with your vehicle.

“Having some spare blankets, some extra water and some snacks, if you do end up getting stuck in a vehicle that stuff will help keep you safe and alive until somebody can get there to help you," said Ward.

According to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office many of the county roads have three to four-foot snow drifts, visibility is down to five to 10 feet in some places and wind gusts are bringing down road obstacles such as branches, phone lines and much more.

First responders are handling stranded motorists, accidents and road closures as calls come in but can quickly become overwhelmed.

There have been over 30 power outages in Yakima County with more than 2,000 people staying without power.

According to Pacific Power they are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Spokesperson for WSDOT Summer Derrey says several roads have been closed including interstate 82 between Ellensburg and Selah, State Route 24 between Moxee to Hanford as well as Interstate 90 between Vantage and Kittitas.

“We’re in winter mode and we were well prepared for the storm, we have all crews available working today we pulled in extra staff," said Derrey.

The National Weather Service predicts that blizzard conditions including snow accumulations of five to 10 inches and winds gusting as high as 50 miles per hour will be most active mid-morning through mid-evening today with winds diminishing tonight.

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