The Spokane MegaCar Crash Up, Snow, and a Warning for Southwest Washington

From the Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Spokane MegaCar Crash Up, Snow, and a Warning for Southwest Washington

Yesterday around 2 PM, a band of light snow passed over I-90 just southwest of Spokane.  The result was bedlam, with over ONE HUNDRED cars being involved in dozens of multi-car accidents (see picture).

Screen Shot 2019-11-27 at 11.28.23 AM

Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.   The cause of this disaster?  The meteorological issue was a narrow band of snow showers that dropped .5-1 inch of snow over the highway in the space of 30 minutes (see satellite picture).  I put a blue oval around the cloud band for your reference.

The onset of snow was very rapid.  Compare the WSDOT I-90 cam shot at Geiger Blvd at 1:50 PM Tuesday, with 2:07 PM.  Quite dramatic.

Surface air temperatures were in the mid-20s,  but the road temperature was above freezing.  That produces a very slippery, melting layer on the road.
Now, it is pretty evident that folks were surprised by the snow squall and one can suspect that they did not slow down adequately and increase following distance.  The result was a scene of bumper cars.
Now I mention this now because a similar situation could occur Sunday morning over NW Oregon and SW Washington.  We will have cold temperatures in place.  A weak system will be approaching from the southwest.  The latest model runs suggest the potential for light snow extended northward, as far as roughly Tacoma.
To illustrate, take a look at the European Center cumulative snow forecast from the latest run.  Through 4 AM Sunday– no issues in the west.

But by 10 AM Sunday, up to around a half-inch.  There is a LOT of uncertainty with this forecast.

So if you are out driving on Sunday morning, be careful.  We need a second mega-car pile up at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.
Finally, the big storm yesterday produced gusts up to 95 mph in exposed locations (see map showing max gusts).  A very good forecast starting 84-h before landfall.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pieter Steenekamp
November 27, 2019 10:14 pm

Anyone with half a brain cell can figure out this unexpected cold is caused by Global Warming. I expect the readers of this blog won’t get it, so let me explain in simple terms.
The global warming causes significant increased evaporation in the tropics. With normal atmospheric air currents the vapors move to the poles where it obviously forms a vacuum (simple deduction from Bernoulli’s laws). The vacuum sucks up the cold from the poles and the normal atmospheric air currents move it all over the world and dumps it in any random place.
In conclusion, expect more cold spells and you can blame it on Global Warming! We are doomed!

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 27, 2019 10:27 pm

Is the vacuum a Hoover or a Dyson?

Flight Level
Reply to  WXcycles
November 28, 2019 2:34 am

lol 😉

Reply to  WXcycles
November 28, 2019 4:59 am

No. It is a new Swedish model called a ‘Greta Thunberg’. It has more vacuum than a Hoover or Dyson together!!

Abolition Man
Reply to  gDavid
November 28, 2019 1:11 pm

The Alexandria has a far higher suction power rating than the St. Greta; neither one has an onboard computer though. They have to be remotely programmed for any useful functions; I would recommend the Roomba instead!

Reply to  WXcycles
November 28, 2019 7:14 am

It lies between the ears of most alarmists and when they open their mouths everything just sucks.

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 27, 2019 10:39 pm

Well, I’m very pleased you didn’t call it “snow”. Our children don’t know what that is.

Ninja Sasquatch
Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 27, 2019 10:57 pm

Anyone with half a brain cell knows to slow down on icy roads. Global warming was not afflicting these drivers.

I live in Spokane, it’s cold in winter here. It snows in winter here, it gets icy on the roads in winter. The cold in the winter in Spokane (winter in Spokane is from about Halloween until St. Patrick’s day) is normal, the cold was not unexpected, just not prepared for.

For the next few months, those of us in the cold on the northern hemisphere will be waiting for global warming to once again afflict us with growing plants, bbq’s, visits to the lake and hikes on beautiful days.

Reply to  Ninja Sasquatch
November 28, 2019 12:30 am

A fall of snow causes chaos in southern England these days because no one ever expects it and most people don’t know how to drive in it. In the more frequent severe winters of my childhood people seemed to cope – my school never closed though occasionally children from outside the city were allowed to leave early.

Reply to  Susan
November 28, 2019 2:00 am


I am in southern england, and you are right lol when I was a kid, we never had days of when it snowed. England has become to soft, to “health and safest”, Leaves on a train track cause hours of delays, the biggest problem is local councils not cleaning the road side drains, as when it rains big puddles form and traffic slows down

Gerry, England
Reply to  Sunny
November 28, 2019 5:38 am

The problem of leaves on the line has been solved by the amazing solutions of a) cutting back the trees like they used to be when we had steam trains so the leaves don’t fall on the tracks and b) use of track cleaning trains. But ice on the rails – or the faint possibility of such – well that is full on panic especially for South Eastern.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Sunny
November 28, 2019 6:33 am

@ Susan ….. and Sunny,

I don’t think that you two understand the “root” of the problem as to why the school systems declare a “snow/cold day” and the students can stay at home.

“Snow/cold days” are not called to protect the children from having to travel to and from school in the ice, snow and cold.

Most “snow/cold days” are called by the Administrators (Superintendents/Principles) because …. too many Teachers “call in” and notify their Supervisor that they taking a “personal” or ”sick” day and will be absent.

And when the Teachers “take off” in mass, there is not enough “substitutes” so they just “close” the school.

It’s the Teachers that don’t want to go out in the “cold temperatures”.

Reply to  Susan
November 28, 2019 2:19 am


I went to school in Scotland in the 1960’s/70’s and I concur with your observations (I too live in the SE of England now and ‘snow panic’ is a genuine phenomenon).

On the bright side, there are now around 100 instant converts to the sceptical view of global warming! 🙂

Reply to  HotScot
November 28, 2019 3:47 am

I can confirm that as well. In the early 80s we had a Londoner as Area Sales Manager in East Scotland. The experience stood him in good stead a couple of years later in London when, as he put it, 15-20 year salesmen hadn’t a ….clue how to cope with half-an-inch of the stuff. Never seen it!

Gerry, England
Reply to  Susan
November 28, 2019 5:40 am

But we all drive 4x4s – oh hang on, they all have wide thin tread sports tyres fitted LOL

Reply to  Susan
November 28, 2019 5:44 am

The same in the Netherlands in the 1960’s/70’s. And about driving. Most people don’t know how to drive.
100 km per hour are 28 meter per second. Most people have a reaction time of more than 1 sec and if they use their mobile phone or other distraction it is much longer. So before most people react the vehicle has moved between 28 and 50 meters.
The question should be ‘why are there so few accidents?’

Richard Patton
Reply to  Susan
November 28, 2019 10:24 am

There are school districts in the northern peninsula of Michigan (where they get 200+in of snow a year) which have never ever canceled classes because of snow.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Richard Patton
November 29, 2019 4:30 am

In all school districts in WV’s 55 counties, the Teachers contract stipulates they are allotted 10 or 15 “paid” sick days …… and 8 or 10 “paid” personal days, …… for each and every school year, …. with unused “sick days” being cumulative from one year to the next.

So, iffen the weather is bad or your not in the mood, ….. why go to work that day, ….. you get paid regardless.

So, so, …… when its a little cold or a little snowy, ….. and too many Teachers “call in”, ….. the Super “closes” school for that day.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
November 29, 2019 10:19 am

It appears that there is also a ‘cultural’ element, or maybe peer pressure in play here. If no one else is letting the snow stop them you are not so inclined to stay home when the weather gets bad. I have **never** missed work because of snow or ice. I know PDX doesn’t get much snow but when we had 12-18″ of snow on the roads in 2008 I didn’t miss any work. There were times when I and three others of a group of 30 people were the ony ones who made it work. If your attitude is you can do it and you are prepared and give yourself enough time you can do it. Of course, I have never encountered whiteout blizzard conditions, which I do think would give me second thoughts.

Diane Shears
Reply to  Ninja Sasquatch
November 28, 2019 8:10 am

Well said, my friend! CO2 = The Gas Of Life

Reply to  Ninja Sasquatch
November 28, 2019 4:07 pm

There have been years without a summer. Let 2020 not be one of them.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 12:19 am

Might be a joke of course, but here in the tropics there hasn’t been any globulwarming, other than from adjustments eg cooling the past.
Atmospheric currents just move the heat across to the corresponding pole where it tends to dissipate into space. Doesn’t cross all over the world. Exchange at the ITCZ is about 10% per annum.

Flight Level
Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 12:45 am

So is the warming global there or here ? Because apparently it’s not global if it evaporates too much there and snows too much here. And evaporated water takes a lot of energy away, so if it snows here then something had to cool what was hot there. Because now with all that evaporated water there, it’s way cooler there. And snowing here.

Capisci ?!

Oh, yes, I love to hate those armchair weathermen so much at odds with elementary thermodynamics.

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 1:09 am

Pieter Steenekamp

You do know that its not called “global warming” any more, its “climate change”. How much of my hard earned money is needed for you or anybody else with half a brain cell, to save the planet from weather cycles, sorry I meant “climate change”? I’m sure the 5 dollars per month I could afford will result in perfect sunny days with a lite breeze, with monthly rains? If not would I need to give up everything I have in order for me to give more money?

steve case
Reply to  Sunny
November 28, 2019 1:52 am

Sunny … at 1:09 am
You do know that its not called “global warming” any more, its “climate change”.

It’s now “The Climate Crisis” and “Climate Emergency” Do try to keep up.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  steve case
November 28, 2019 4:02 am

Cli-pocalypse, coming soon to a MSM outlet near you!

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
November 28, 2019 6:15 pm

Oh – excellent! I’m going to use that around my CAGW friends! They already know I think they’re silly. Now I can go ballistic!

Cli-pocalypse! Worse than a Sharknado, if somewhat less likely!

Reply to  steve case
November 28, 2019 5:17 am

Extinction rebellion in the UK called it “Climate breakdown” a couple of months ago

David Chappell
Reply to  jono1066
November 28, 2019 6:32 am

The very latest is global environmental change.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  jono1066
November 28, 2019 7:34 pm

Environmental change is mostly the pennies that people drop and don’t bother to retrieve. 🤡

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  steve case
November 28, 2019 8:53 am


Ill Tempered Klavier`
Reply to  steve case
November 28, 2019 11:48 am

Regardless of what it’s called, it is still compounded from approximately 87.5% male bovine fecal material and about 12.5% equine equivalent.

A skunk by any6 other name still stinks about the same.

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 4:25 am

“Pieter Steenekamp November 27, 2019 at 10:14 pm
Anyone with half a brain cell can figure out this unexpected cold is caused by Global Warming. I expect the readers of this blog won’t get it, so let me explain in simple terms.”

What an oxymoron!
Warmist using “simple terms” to allege utter nonsense.

Then warmist supply silly absurdities to explain things they obviously are clueless about.

“With normal atmospheric air currents the vapors move to the poles where it obviously forms a vacuum (simple deduction from Bernoulli’s laws). The vacuum sucks up the cold from the poles and the normal atmospheric air currents move it all over the world and dumps it in any random place.”

No simple deduction.
Ignorance about Bernoulli’s principle and equations. i.e. Another warmist dropping names hoping no-one knows what the name and theory means and how it really applies to the atmosphere.

“Bernoulli Equation; Principle
The Bernoulli’s equation can be considered to be a statement of the conservation of energy principle appropriate for flowing fluids. It is one of the most important/useful equations in fluid mechanics.
It puts into a relation pressure and velocity in an inviscid incompressible flow. Bernoulli’s equation has some restrictions in its applicability, they summarized in following points:
• steady flow system,
• density is constant (which also means the fluid is incompressible),
• no work is done on or by the fluid,
• no heat is transferred to or from the fluid,
• no change occurs in the internal energy,
the equation relates the states at two points along a single streamline (not conditions on two different streamlines)
Under these conditions, the general energy equation is simplified to:

Bernoulli Theorem – Equation
This equation is the most famous equation in fluid dynamics.
The Bernoulli’s equation describes the qualitative behavior flowing fluid that is usually labeled with the term Bernoulli’s effect.
This effect causes the lowering of fluid pressure in regions where the flow velocity is increased.
This lowering of pressure in a constriction of a flow path may seem counterintuitive, but seems less so when you consider pressure to be energy density.
In the high velocity flow through the constriction, kinetic energy must increase at the expense of pressure energy. The dimensions of terms in the equation are kinetic energy per unit volume.”

Once again, warmists blaming the sub-deity molecule, carbon dioxide performing mysterious inexplicable atmospheric occurrences where warm means more cold. Throw out the names of famous scientists and allege that their science and equations prove the warmist nonsense.

Reply to  ATheoK
November 28, 2019 6:09 am

Is this satire of satire or satire?

Reply to  ATheoK
November 30, 2019 9:55 am

ATheoK — pretty much sure it was satire. The “we are doomed!” at the end…

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 4:43 am

Anyone with half a brain cell knows that China and the developing world have been causing it for the past 50 years….
Why do believers deny that unless it’s a $c@m?

comment image

Tekov Yahoser
Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 9:10 am

Professor Mass is frequently on Seattle media as a climate change commenter. He is a low-key believer in AGW but is also attacked by the Loonies as being in the pocket of Big Oil. Go figure.

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 9:52 am

You’re right! The weather IS getting more EXTREME! Because never in my 64 years had I ever heard of a “bomb cyclone”. Now I read about “bomb cyclones” … and “MOAB cyclones” every winter … ohhhhhh maammmmmmaaaa. The language … the language …

Richard Patton
Reply to  Kenji
November 28, 2019 10:35 am

You just haven’t been in the right circles. I learned about them way back in the mid-’70s in Navy weather school. A Bomb Cyclone, more properly called explosive cyclogenesis, is a mid latitude low pressure system that deepens more than 24mb in 24 hours. They are usually found off the East coast of the US when a low pressure system coming off the continent hits the gulf stream which provides tremendous energy for them to deepen. Off the west coast, they are relatively rare as we have cold currents here and not warm currents.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 10:20 am

Thanks Pieter. I wonder what caused snow before we managed to create man made global warming?

Richard Patton
Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 10:21 am

you forgot to label this as sarcasm. I’m pretty sure it is by the way you ended it. But there are people who do frequent this site who really do believe we are doomed by the non-existent (since the turn of the century) global warming.

Nic marshall
Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
November 28, 2019 4:37 pm

The world’s done this countless times over million of years… If you believe scientists… Man never caused this… That’s just a big scam

Reply to  Pieter Steenekamp
December 1, 2019 11:51 am

We probably are doomed, but it won’t because of anything the climate does.

November 27, 2019 10:24 pm

OT: The following is an excerpt of a long comment I just made in JoNova’s active “Mid-Week Unthreaded” page. It’s about very curious anomalous high jetstream speeds forecast over the Pacific within the most recent ECMWF and GFS 10-day forecasting period, which I noticed today. For example see this image showing the jetstream speed of 406 km/h at 300HPa (30,000 ft) just east of northern Japan:

comment image

This speed is approximately 70 km/h above a normal maximum speed range during deep mid-winter for that region, so what is being forecast outside of deep winter is a very significant change and two major models indicate it will occur and will be sustained and enhanced. The comment’s purpose is to draw weather observers’ attention to the extraordinary nature of this forecast, and the implications if it is sustained and becomes a general feature this years’ northern winter.

Due to the curious and unusual pre-winter coldness and storminess being seen in the N-Pacific and N-Atlantic during November, and forecast to be much enhanced in December I decided to do a little WX forecast model ‘recon’, to try to identify what’s changed? So I looked at the ECMWF jetstream wind model outputs this morning, because it’s become clear the Jetstream is in the process of flipping to a very strongly meridional phase, and this is occurring extraordinarily early in the northern hemisphere’s 2019 pre-winter.

What I found in the forecast I’ve not seen before, not even close. Normal strong jetstream flows usually don’t rise in speed above about:

340 km/h | 211 mph | 183 kt

The fastest jet usually reaches that maximum range in deep-winter, just east of Japan, at 34,000 ft, as cold air rushes into the northern Pacific basin, sourced from central and northern China. The jetstream speed in that area is unusual, because in other parts of the world the jetstream usually doesn’t exceed 325 km/h or 175 kt, in recent years.

However, today, when I investigated the reasons for the early cold and the aggressive jetstream flow behaviors, I saw that toward the end of the current ECMWF model run, that the highest forecast wind speed @ 34,000 feet east of Japan was an incredible high:

405 km/h | 252 mph | 219kt

This is about 65 km/hr faster than the fastest jetstream I’ve ever seen occur, as I’ve captured in this “Windy” graphical screen display – take a look:

comment image


Much more of the comment is at the link below if the topic of much enhanced jetstream speed is of interest:

John VC
Reply to  WXcycles
November 28, 2019 10:16 am

Mr.WX–just a bit more off topic. Flight home (freedom bird) from Vietnam about 10 December 1970. Scheduled re-fueling stop in Anchorage was canceled and we went directly in to Oakland. Pilot announced that because of an unusually strong “tail wind” we had enough fuel onboard to make our final destination non stop. Announcement was of course met with a huge cheer. Flight over a year earlier required 2 stops–we were kept very close at hand at both.j

Reply to  John VC
November 28, 2019 5:31 pm

Best bit John is they cut hours off the flight. Fine when strong and zonal, but when ‘kinky’ like now, not quite so much. The fringes can also get very rough air, like heading down rapids. That north western Pacific jetstream is always a fast one.

November 27, 2019 10:29 pm

That web cam is very near Spokane International Airport (GEG) which was Geiger Field in the earlies. Spokane gets a fair amount of snow in winter, but the most disruptive weather in winter is persistent fog in stagnant conditions which can effectively shut down the airport for days on end.

Reply to  brians356
November 27, 2019 11:22 pm

Spokane just has their coldest October since records began in the 1880s.

Reply to  Kristen
November 28, 2019 1:13 am


Everything is a record now, over here in england, we had a cold, wet, windy October, yet the news media said it was the “hottest October Ever” 😐 if it rains for more then 3 minutes or the sun shines for more then 7minutes, its the hottest/wettest day “Ever”…

Ron Long
Reply to  brians356
November 28, 2019 2:13 am

During the Cold War Geiger Field was an important B-52 base, Brians356. Because of this fog you are mentioning they had a series of large, gas-fired, blowers strung out along the runway, and when the B-52. scrambled they fired them up and bingo! The fog was gone! Sort of like your cars windshield defroster writ large. Never mind the reports of secondary and unintended effects, it kept the Russians away.

Reply to  Ron Long
November 28, 2019 7:56 am

I thought the SAC B-52 base was nearby Fairchild AFB. The B-52s were still there in the 1970s, long after GEG was a commercial airport.

November 27, 2019 10:42 pm

“We need a second mega-car pile up at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.”

Shouldn’t that read “We DON’T need…”? Or is it a form of U.S. irony I haven’t come across?

I can just see the tweets of the climate priesthood accusing you of inciting mass murder.

Reply to  Scute
November 28, 2019 4:49 am

I read that too, but I thought Charles Rotter was just being sarcastic and I took it as that. I would guess that Charles Rotter proofreads his posts.


Reply to  Scute
November 28, 2019 10:26 am

Cliff edited that sentence shortly after the post came out. The revised sentence reads “We don’t need a second mega-car pile up…”

Dodgy Geezer
November 27, 2019 10:47 pm

You say that we NEED a second car pile-up???

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
November 27, 2019 11:05 pm

C’mon now, obviously a typo.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
November 27, 2019 11:16 pm

Read that too.
I’ve done that mental mind fart here on WUWT comments, that is, forgetting the NOT and hitting POST without a careful read back.
Clearly Dr Mass does not want a pile up. Only psychotic Progressives want to see “mass” death.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 28, 2019 12:03 am

And Darwinists? 😎

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 28, 2019 4:45 am

I thought climate science destroyed Darwin. Remember, NOTHING is supposed to change now.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 28, 2019 7:36 am

Whenever I am getting too frustrated by my own typos, I simply recall the first printing of the King James Bible – which contained the admonition “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

Reply to  Writing Observer
November 28, 2019 11:10 am

I took it to heart.

Reply to  Writing Observer
November 28, 2019 5:05 pm

The Wicked Bible, sometimes called Adulterous Bible or Sinners’ Bible, is an edition of the KJV Bible published in 1631. The KJV was first published in 1611.

nw sage
Reply to  Writing Observer
November 29, 2019 8:02 pm

Did that change??

Joe B
November 28, 2019 12:04 am

Interstate 5 was shut down much of yesterday and this morning from Redding, CA to Ashland, OR … about 130 miles.
Pretty much off topic – perhaps – is that the water level in Lake Oroville should now start to rise.
It is over 100 feet higher than this time last year, which is a huge amount.

Reply to  Joe B
November 28, 2019 12:38 am

They were running extra water out of Oroville while the spillway work was ongoing. They’re letting the lake fill up again. It’s still 125 feet or so below “full pool” at about 55% of capacity and still below the average storage for Oroville. It’s still 10% below average for this date of the year.

November 28, 2019 12:20 am

Even before the pile-ups the driver’s seemed to be ignoring the ‘two second’s rule.
In the snowy conditions it needs to be 10 seconds at least, but it looks as if the cars are driving far too close, however maybe the traffic has stopped in the snowy picture.
First lesson in driving, engage brain before gear.
When we had snow in big quantities for the first time a few years ago there was a spate of accidents, mainly among young people. One of the causes was that many people under the age of forty had little experience of driving in snowy conditions since taking their driving test.

Reply to  StephenP
November 28, 2019 3:44 am

If you are driving with 2 seconds distance and road is full, there is no way to get to 10 s distance and keep traffic going. If you try to make 10s from your 2s, you need to brake and you directly cause pile up as first.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Peter
November 28, 2019 9:07 am

Letting up on the gas pedal works much better than stepping on the brake pedal.


Federico Bär
Reply to  Peter
November 28, 2019 9:29 am

How much do 2 seconds, 4 seconds last, ad at what speed?
Keep Braking Distance, is the Golden Rule.
Nothing more on-the-spot than this sign on a rear window:
…When you can read this
You are too damn near!!!…

Richard Patton
Reply to  StephenP
November 28, 2019 11:05 am

two seconds? Are you crazy? On dry pavement it should be at least 3 seconds. Not because you can’t come to a full stop with 2 seconds but it is because with 3 seconds you don’t have to brake as hard and thus get hit by the idiot behind you who has a 1/2 second rule.

November 28, 2019 12:23 am

Err, are winter tyres not mandatory at this time of year in places like Spokane ?
I choose to run them on my car here in Scotland as I like to be able to get home when it snows.
The right rubber for the conditions makes a big difference.

Gary Mount
Reply to  sonofametman
November 28, 2019 2:08 am

My brother who lives in Spokane tells me that it is not required to have winter or snow tires.

Reply to  Gary Mount
November 28, 2019 2:18 am

Gary, I can’t think of any State I’ve lived in (and I’ve lived in many) where drivers are required to have snow tires while driving in wintery conditions.


Steve Keohane
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
November 28, 2019 5:44 am

Hi Bob,
In Colorado one is required to have chains or adequate snow tires to go over the passes, ie. continental divides, on the highways. Thanks for all your climate work. Have a great Thankgiving to all.

Reply to  Steve Keohane
November 28, 2019 7:29 am

Probably only required to have them in the vehicle and required to put them on when conditions warrant. CA is similar. When driving in the mountains during winter they are required when the Highway Patrol says you need them, and if you don’t have them they send you back down whence you came.
Where I grew up (Chicago area) they weren’t required by law, but state law did require that no studded or chained tires were allowed on the roads after a specified date.
Snow tires work because of the tread design not so much because of the rubber formulation.

Reply to  Steve Keohane
November 28, 2019 8:09 am

When I was doing a lot of coast to coast truck driving I avoided I-70, I-80, and I-90 during the winter if there as any doubt about the conditions I would be encountering. I-40 or I-10 are the way to go. All others have passes where chain up is required when the lights start flashing. Colorado BTW requires every drive and trailer tire be chained while other states allow you to get by alternating.

I am approaching two million miles behind the wheel of a big truck and have only had to chain up once. That occasion was east bound on I-84 in Oregon along one of the most dangerous stretches of Interstate in the country. It’s called “Cabbage Hill” by truck drivers but if you look it up on the map it’s “Immigrant Hill”. The lights were not flashing but the chain up pull off had a couple of rigs with drivers chaining up and there were dark clouds over the hill ahead. Should have taken the hint. As I approached the top it turned nasty very quickly. Everyone just stopped right on the interstate blocking both lanes. Where I had to stop had some slope on the road and my trailer slide sideways to within 6″ of the trailer of the rig beside me. I and my co-driver got and started chaining up. Had to help the driver in front of us. He had some old rusty chains but had never put them on nor been trained to do so and lacked the tool necessary to tighten them. About 40 minutes later we started moving again. Once we started descending down the east face the sun came out and all was well. Took the chains off at the bottom of the hill.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
November 28, 2019 6:05 am
Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  Scissor
November 28, 2019 11:21 am

Sunny southern California. Friday, January 4, 1974. Interstate 10. The grade from Redlands to Yucipa – elevation about 2,00 ft – was closed to vehicles without chains at 4PM. Measured next morning in Beaumont, a few miles further east – 2,600 ft – 16 inches of ‘white stuff’. Saw more Californians walking that day than we had in the previous four years.

It’s happened in the past – it will happen again in the future; just have to live with it…..

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Gary Mount
November 28, 2019 4:33 am

It is if you want to get anywhere in deep snow in a car. A 4×4 wont help.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 28, 2019 11:14 am

The only thing a 4×4 helps you with is getting going. It has as much difficulty stopping/going straight in extreme conditions as any other vehicle. I have seen video on Youtube of cars that were stopped sliding sideways off the road even with snowtires.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Richard Patton
November 28, 2019 5:22 pm

Having driven 4x4s practically all my driving life from Land Rovers to Subaru’s I would have to disagree with you.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 28, 2019 9:33 pm

You are welcome to disagree. I would suggest you review “4WD/AWD safety – Is 4WD/AWD safer on snow and ice?” at ( ). The article points out that 4×4 drivers tend to get into MORE trouble because they think that they are safer. The article ends by saying that the only thing that only chains will make a significant safety difference on snow and ice.

Reply to  Richard Patton
November 29, 2019 12:10 am

A jeep or any 4WD actually designed for off road will get you there in significant snow when a standard front wheel drive or AWD will not. Not only because of 4WD, lockout/in capability, and the ability to negate traction control when needed but also because of ground clearance and because they are fitted out with tires suited for off road use. I love my Toyota FJ in snow and slick conditions and will put it up against any front wheel drive or AWD out there in snow or ice. I judge the Jeep Rubicon to have slightly superior off road capability but the FJ is a much more comfortable vehicle for passengers in the back and I think a bit better on the road.

Reply to  sonofametman
November 28, 2019 2:27 am

Americans are very loosey goosey about winter tyres, there is no uniform approach or mandating.

When I lived in Europe they did it with soft insurance pressure. Winter, no snow tyres, no cover.

November 28, 2019 12:25 am

Winter in North America is not waiting for December.
comment image
comment image

November 28, 2019 12:38 am

Meteorologist Paul Dorian of Perspecta, Inc., forecast this snow 2 days ago here at WUWT. It has ended the fire season.

Roger Knights
November 28, 2019 12:53 am

The cost to repair all those fender-benders would be three (?) times higher if the cars had been Teslas, and take three times longer to fix. (The reason why insurance rates are high for Teslas.)

November 28, 2019 1:22 am

Special tires for the winter are used in Europe.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  ren
November 28, 2019 4:25 am

I use NOKIAN WR G3 SUV winter tires all year around. Now passing 10K miles in a year and I am pleased. Previously I used Hakkaplittas for ten winters as snow tires but now I’m too old to be crawling around swapping wheels.

Justin Burch
Reply to  Doug Huffman
November 28, 2019 6:06 am

Doug those Nokians are the absolute best ever tire. I have them on my truck.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ren
November 28, 2019 4:31 am

No. That is called snow chains.

Reply to  ren
November 28, 2019 5:01 am

They are here too. Tires do not help if the driver is clueless to start…

Patrick MJD
November 28, 2019 4:21 am

Snow is quite good to drive on, if you know how.

Black ice, humm…

Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 28, 2019 7:42 am

I live in north Georgia, and it has become almost a yearly ritual to watch transplants from northern parts of the country show us how to drive in snow.

For the most part, they come from coastal areas that are as flat as a pancake. We have steep grades that can be found on every type road, from subdivisions to interstates, and the ice dooms them. If you don’t have chains or studded tires (not legal in most areas here), you aren’t going to successfully handle a curve at the bottom of a steep hill coated with a layer of ice; there is no traction at all. With virtually every snow, we get some daytime melting, followed by a hard freeze during the night. That leaves a layer of ice on the roadways in the morning. And often we just get freezing rain, no snow, that creates the same conditions.

We don’t laugh at them (maybe shake our heads, because we warned them), but help them – no one wants to see someone slide off the road. We do, however, laugh at the ones who get out right after a snow and shovel their driveways. Why bother? They can drive as far as the end of their driveway, then what? We don’t plow our roads, and only interstates are salted or sanded. Besides, everything will be closed, and the snow will melt within a day or so.

BTW, there have been complaints published in the Atlanta newspaper (the AJC), that the term ‘black ice’ is racist, Atlanta is controlled by Democrats, so you might want to avoid saying it if visiting the city. There are pockets of extreme ignorance everywhere.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 28, 2019 11:17 am

You are correct there. Back in the `90s I drove from Fallon NV through Reno, Alturas CA, Klamath Falls Or and to Portland. Snow on the road all the way to Eugene. Between Alturas and Klamath falls it was 4″ powder snow on the road with very little traffic. With snow tires I was able to maintain with complete control 45mph. Now the rest of the trip was a different story.

Doug Huffman
November 28, 2019 4:22 am

Hyperbole is the penultimate click-bait (means but one). A statement of fact or falsehood is the most basic of click-bait, the ultimate.


Happy Thanksgiving! We are so Blessed, and Blessed with a President for the times. Not a perfect man, but God selected the perfect man for the job. Happy Thanksgiving.

Patrick MJD
November 28, 2019 4:29 am

Driving on snow is interesting, bit like driving, but different, on roads after a long dry period and then heavy rain. Black ice, now there’s a thing!

Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 28, 2019 4:49 am

Yes, and we have it frequently. There is very little you can do except drive slowly and hope everyone else does too. Fortunately, traffic is low in Wyoming but still, many, many people land in the ditch every winter, in spite of road sign warnings, etc. It’s extremely dangerous.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
November 28, 2019 4:33 am

So if you are out driving on Sunday morning, be careful. We [don’t]need a second mega-car pile up at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Missing “don’t” added for you.

November 28, 2019 5:02 am

This reminds me of what happens here in eastern and central North Carolina when it snows. What people do not realize, especially those who came from the northeast, is that the snow this far south is different. It is wetter. It is very rare to have our snows start when the roads are cold enough to collect right away. It is also common that the snows here start as rain. Taken together, it means you almost always have water under frozen stuff. That water freezes and things become slick.

Do not mock our snow driving skills. Nor mock us for shutting down for so little snow. Snow is different here.

Reply to  Wade
November 28, 2019 6:18 am

Plus we have very few snow plows. Here in Raleigh they plow the bus routes and let everything else melt naturally. The good news is it generally gets above freezing within two or so days so melting occurs but the refreeze at night can be treacherous.

November 28, 2019 5:02 am

Love that term “snow squall”. It shows up on our road conditions now as a warning.

New climate change drink:
comment image?role=personal

Reply to  Sheri
November 28, 2019 7:30 am

Snow squalls are a mainstay of the winter weather along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Large pile-ups on I-94 around St. Joseph Mi. are a result every so often. Snow squalls occur as long as the lake remains ‘open’ and doesn’t freeze-over during colder weather.

Craig Moore
November 28, 2019 6:03 am
Jim in SW WA
November 28, 2019 7:06 am

Oops on “headline” … I am writing from SOUTHWEST Washington … sitting on my porch overlooking the Columbia River facing Clatskanie, OR. (NW Ore.)

In all the family trips on holidays to N. Idaho as a kid, Spokane was always in EASTERN WASHINGTON !

(sarc) Don’t believe everything you read on the internet; especially headlines.

Have a safe (chain up!) Thanksgiving !

November 28, 2019 11:04 am

Here, we call that … Tuesday. People traveling in Northern climates need to be prepared for this type of weather.

November 28, 2019 3:10 pm

Clearly an effect of the worst greenhouse gas of all – dihydrogen monoxide – accidents, drownings, flooding, exposure, steam scalding, hailstorms etc etc all due to this powerful greenhouse gas, dihydrogen monoxide ….. water in its multiple forms

Jake J
December 2, 2019 1:39 pm

I have some experience in all of this. I have driven >400,000 road trip miles in all 50 states, live in rural Eastern Washington, and have been in Spokane quite a few times. I think the #1 driving hazard is thick fog, followed closely by snow squalls of the kind highlighted here.

Spokane is vulnerable to both of those, but even drivers in places where these are fairly common often fail to take the right precautions. There are regular stories about multi-dozen vehicle accidents in places where fog is common, central Washington and central California being two such places. Another one is the western shore of Lake Michigan near between Port Washington and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

In all my considerable vehicular ramblings around this unbelievably scenic country, the single scariest experience was driving in fog near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin during an unseasonably warm stretch one early January. Could barely see even two car lengths ahead, and was being passed by vehicles going 70 miles an hour. I had slowed down to about 40, with my emergency flashers on, and it occurred to me that I could easily be rear-ended.

I still get the shakes when I think of it. There was no alternative route in that situation. This is something that calls for upgrading of traffic control systems to slow people down. I’m not even close to being a cautious grandma driver, but heavy fog and snow squalls call for MUCH slower driving. I was shocked by the risks people took that day.

Verified by MonsterInsights