LEAVENWORTH, Wash. -- The Washington National Guard is now in Leavenworth, helping community members dig out after record snowfall last week that left the town buried in three feet of snow in 24 hours.
"This has definitely been the most challenging, one day (snow) dump on us in our history," Leavenworth Mayor Carl Florea told FOX 13 Seattle.
- Image 1 of 19
- Image 2 of 19
- Image 3 of 19
- Image 4 of 19
- Image 5 of 19
- Image 6 of 19
- Image 7 of 19
- Image 8 of 19
- Image 9 of 19
- Image 10 of 19
- Image 11 of 19
- Image 12 of 19
- Image 13 of 19
- Image 14 of 19
- Image 15 of 19
- Image 16 of 19
- Image 17 of 19
- Image 18 of 19
- Image 19 of 19
City officials said some areas received as much as 48" of snow in less than 48 hours, calling it "unprecedented and record-breaking snowfall."
About 20 to 25 members of the National Guard arrived in Leavenworth on Monday to help go door-to-door to do welfare checks and to be able to get food delivered to seniors, as well as help in the snow removal efforts. By Monday evening, Guard members had made 250 welfare checks and helped dig out many residents who had been trapped by snow for the past few days.
Florea declared a state of emergency on Friday, allowing the city to hire independent contractors immediately without a formal bidding process, which is essential to reopening streets and adding resources for snow removal.
"The health and safety of this community are foremost, and that’s what’s behind this declaration and getting that added manpower," Florea said.
Approximately 2,000 people live in the city. Florea said public works crews can handle between 8-10 inches of snow, and the town averages about 85 inches of snow a winter. But this amount of snowfall in one storm is unprecedented.
Jerry Magin arrived in town Wednesday with his wife when the storm unexpectedly extended their trip.
"It never stopped snowing that night, and we were shocked in the morning when we looked outside," Magin said. "Everything was buried in more snow than we have ever seen! We couldn't go anywhere. We were glad the power was on, but the TV cable went down for the entire town."
Tumwater Canyon, about 15 miles west of Leavenworth along US-2, reported 208 snow slides in the area -- or about 25 slides per mile, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Some of the slides left the road buried under 30-35 feet of snow, the WSDOT said. Since Thursday, Highway 2 has been closed and was expected to remain closed into the middle of the week.