National Guard Helps Washington Town Dig Out From Record Snowfall

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Washington State National Guard is helping one town dig out of between 3-4 feet of snow.

Leavenworth mayor Carl Florea told Fox 13 that “this has definitely been the most challenging, one day (snow) dump on us in our history.”

The mountain town is 135 miles east of Seattle. It styles itself as a Bavarian-styled village of almost 2,400 people.

Running Out Of Places To Put The Snow

Some parts of the city even collected as much as 48 inches of snow in less than 48 hours.

About 20 to 25 National Guardsmen traveled to the town to help with the efforts. They conducted at least 250 welfare checks by Monday and helped dig out trapped seniors and other residents over the past few days.

The mayor declared a state of emergency and started getting snowplows to come into town to join in the help.

“The health and safety of this community are foremost, and that’s what’s behind this declaration and getting that added manpower,” Florea said.

The mayor said public work crews could hand 8-10 inches of the white stuff. Usually, they prepare for 85 inches of snow a year. But 24 inches in a day is too much to handle. The Seattle Times reported the crew was plowing and hauling 24 hours a day. On Monday, the newspaper said that the city’s boat ramp parking lot looked like an ice rink with 15-foot tall snow walls.

Tourist Stuck After Record Weather

Jerry Magin and his wife wanted to take a short little trip to the tourist trap.

Now with all the snow, they may stick around a little longer to check out the town’s famous Nutcracker Museum and Waterfront Park, which is a habitat for ospreys and eagles. They may visit if they can get through the snow.  

Magin said “it never stopped snowing” when they arrived and “were shocked in the morning when (they) looked outside.”

“Everything was buried in more snow than we have ever seen,” the tourist said. “We couldn’t go anywhere. We were glad the power was on, but the TV cable went down for the entire town.”

Did we mention the Magin’s may be there a while? Tumwater Canyon, which sits 15 miles west of town on the main transportation artery of U.S. route 2, recorded 208 snow slides. According to the Washington DOT, that’s roughly 25 slides a mile.

The state agency also said some of the snowed areas had 30-35 feet of snow on them. Officials closed that main road on Thursday, and it’ll be impassable going into the middle of the week