A highly anticipated snowstorm hit Seattle and the surrounding area Wednesday, dumping less snow than expected on the Pacific Northwest.
Forecasters downgraded their initial predictions of snowfall of 8 to 12 inches in the region to a more moderate 4 to 7. The expected snowfall could still be more than the average annual amount of snow of 5.9 inches in Seattle.
While eastern Washington state is accustomed to heavy snowfalls, Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound cities are not. Residents are unaccustomed to driving in snow and the city is not equipped with the necessary salt and snowplows that are commonplace in Chicago and New York.
The National Weather Service put out a winter weather advisory in the area for Tuesday and Wednesday with warnings of dangerous roads and difficult travel conditions. Residents were advised to be prepared with extra flashlights, food, water and blankets in case of an emergency.
The expected snowstorm also prompted many schools to post delays and closures for Tuesday and Wednesday. Major airlines also cancelled their flights to and from the Seattle-Tacoma airport Wednesday.
There were expectations that the storm this week could exceed the amount of snow seen in the region since the record-breaking November 1985 blizzard. On Nov. 21 and 27, snow storms in the area brought a total of 17.5 inches of snow in Seattle in one of the coldest Novembers on record. Seattle's largest snowstorm on record of all time occurred Jan. 5-9 in 1880, with snow accumulation of 6 feet in some places, according to the Daily Mail.
Following the storm, snow may give way to rain later in the week, leading to more typical weather for the winter months in the region. Temperatures should rise Thursday and Friday, followed by an expected weekend forecast of rain with temperatures in the mid-40s.
Joshua Richardson of Seattle slides down Virginia Street in a laundry basket in Seattle, after heavy snowfall in the Puget Sound Region. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante
A motorist gets help while stuck on a lane barrier in the early morning commute near Interstate 405 in Kirkland, Wash. on Jan. 18, 2012. Seattle area residents on Tuesday braced for an epic storm, expected to drop up to 10 inches of snow and nicknamed "Snowmageddon" for the havoc it was expected to wreak on the region. REUTERS/Cliff DesPeaux
I-5 Interstate Highway traffic crawls along the Southbound lane into downtown Seattle after an overnight winter storm brought heavy snows to the Puget Sound region on Jan. 18, 2012. While metropolitan Seattle received only a few inches, snowfall was heavy in the South Puget Sound and Olympic peninsula. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante
Priya Naik runs through the snow after an overnight winter storm brought heavy snows to the Puget Sound region, around Greenlake in Seattle on Jan. 18, 2012. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante
The Space Needle is seen as snow flurry clouds surrounded downtown Seattle on Jan. 17, 2012. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante
Cary Rheder of Newcastle, Wash. shovels snow off his car in downtown Bellevue, Wash. while on his way to work on Jan. 18, 2012. REUTERS/Cliff DesPeaux
Seattle resident Carmel Pope is bundled up in wool as she walks through a snow flurry in Volunteer Park in Seattle on Jan. 17, 2012. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante