Puget Sound region braces for freezing rain

The Puget Sound region is bracing for major freezing rain coming in a few hours.

Up to a quarter inch of ice could cover much of the area and bring travel to a halt.

Places like Tacoma and Seattle that didn’t get much snow earlier this week have been dealing with subfreezing temperatures.

In anticipation of this major ice event, King County Metro is switching to its emergency snow bus routes Friday, which is their most severe winter weather response.

That means they’ll be focusing on about 60 key bus routes along plowed streets and avoiding hills.

“We’re looking at a quarter inch of freezing rain, a lot more dangerous than snow so that’s why we’re taking this extraordinary step of moving to the emergency snow network,” said Sean Hawks of King County Metro, who urged riders to visit MetroWinter.com for detailed information.

An ice storm could also bring down trees and power lines, so Puget Sound Energy trucks are ready to roll to respond to outages.

“We’re also at this point calling contract crews to check their availability so we can supplement our crews if needed, calling in extra system operators, bringing in dispatchers early, that way we’re ready to rapidly respond if this occurs,” said Andrew Padula of PSE.

PSE urges customers to prepare for the possibility of extended outages.

Road crews around the region have been working all week to pre-treat main roads with anti-icer.

“We are as prepared as we can be for whatever this next weather event brings us,” said Tom Zurfluh, maintenance program manager for Pierce County.