Snow storm wallops Pacific Northwest, people rescued in Sierra Nevada – NBCNews.com

SEATTLE — A winter storm pounded Washington state, forcing the cancellation of flights in Seattle as officials worked to get people off the streets and into shelters during the nation’s latest bout with winter weather.

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for the state of Washington, saying everyone in the state should focus on staying safe, as a winter storm warning went into effect from Friday until Saturday at 4 p.m. PST.

“Forecasters predict this may be a storm unlike one we’ve seen in many years,” he said.

Snow began falling north of Seattle with some areas recording 8 inches of snow before it made its way south and enveloped the city.

Many businesses closed early so workers could get home.

More than 50,000 customers were without power on Saturday, according to Washington state utility company Puget Sound Energy.

As of 9 a.m. PST on Saturday, more than 180 flight had been cancelled at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

Vehicles make their way through the snow in Olympia, Washington, on Feb. 8, 2019.Ted S. Warren / AP

In California, more than 120 visitors and staff members were rescued after being snowbound in a Sierra Nevada resort for five days.

Up to 7 feet of snow had trapped the guests and staff beginning Sunday at Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Alicia Embrey said.

Crews had to travel by snowmobile to get to the lodge in mountains east of Fresno. Heavy equipment and crews then cleared more than 20 fallen trees and 8 miles of deep snow on the road leading to the lodge to allow guests and staff to leave the property Thursday night.

Another winter storm was on the way to the region.

In Yosemite National Park, as many as 50 housing structures near Half Dome Village were damaged by trees toppled during a snowstorm earlier this week, displacing more than 160 employees who provide food, lodging and other services for visitors.

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