'Thunder hail' storm a drag for drivers but not for police on Pacific Raceway

The bombardment of "thunder hail" that pelted South King County during Monday evening's commute with a blinding barrage of pellets slowed traffic to a crawl in most places, except for the Pacific Raceway in Kent.

"These are real conditions. This is what we drive in," said Renton Police Commander Dan Figaro, who was teaching a high-speed pursuit training to several officers on the closed race course.

"This can be Seattle weather, even though it's a little extreme today," he said. "Today was probably one of the worst days. I mean, this is just like driving in snow and ice conditions, and we thought about canceling it."

But Figaro figured the conditions would be a great teaching tool for officers to learn when fast is too fast in slick hazardous weather conditions. Knowing when to stop chasing a suspect for safety is a critical part of the training.

"Looked like a good quarter or half inch of hail on the ground," Figaro said. "It was extremely slippery, so we did actually have to slow down our training a little bit. But this is really important to train in real conditions."

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