Having made it almost entirely through the school year without a single snow day, students in Bickleton finally caught a break Wednesday when enough snow fell — up to 12 inches in places — to cancel classes.
Meanwhile, the Yakima Valley saw record rainfall the past two days. Toppenish saw nearly an 11/2 inches of rain. A 60-year record for rain was shattered in Yakima, and across the region, weather was blamed for flooding streets, knocking out power and phones and complicating the drive over mountain passes.
The rain and cooler temperatures are blamed on a low-pressure system that is keeping the chance of showers in forecasts through Sunday. But take heart. Forecasters said the likelihood of more rain tapers off after Wednesday night.
In the Valley, the heaviest rain came Wednesday morning, causing city crews to scramble to drain a few flooded roads, including the busy three-way intersection of Seventh, Yakima and Summitview avenues. A lane at 30th and Summitview avenues needed to be shored up after water — likely from a busted pipe — washed out the road’s gravel bed.
“Once or twice a year, we’ll have a rain event like we did last night, and our system — 8-inch pipes, 10-inch pipes and such — just can’t handle the flow of water, not instantly,” said Brian Hoyt with the city of Yakima. “It takes some time, and it goes away.”
The rain also cut power to part of northeast Yakima, he said.
Wednesday’s precipitation easily broke Yakima’s 1990 record for the day of 0.27 inches. By early evening, the Yakima Air Terminal had received 0.94 inches — more than three times the previous record, according to the National Weather Service.
But an even more enduring record was broken Tuesday, when 0.49 inches fell at the airport. The previous record of 0.38 inches for that day was set 60 years ago in 1953.
The Washington State University Agricultural Weather Network recorded some of the heaviest rainfall in Toppenish, which had 1.47 inches of precipitation Tuesday.
The low-pressure system also brought a dusting of snow to highway mountain passes and other parts of Central Washington at higher elevations.
A spokeswoman with the state’s Department of Transportation, Meagan McFadden, said the snow at Snoqualmie Pass and Manastash Ridge didn’t cause any problems for drivers.
“It’s not unusual to see snow up there at this time of year,” McFadden said. “We’ve had it as late as June.”
In Bickleton, school Superintendent Ric Palmer said up to a foot of snow fell in places overnight, bringing tree branches down on lines, knocking out power and phones.
Palmer said he had to cancel classes for the first time this school year. About 170 students attend kindergarten through 12th-grade classes in one building in Bickleton. Utilities will likely be restored and classes should resume today.
• Reporter David Lester and photographer Gordon King contributed to this story, and material from the Associated Press was used in this report.