Snow storm wallops Seattle, people rescued in Sierra Nevada

Cars and a bus make their way in the snow on Capitol Way, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Olympia, Wash. A much-anticipated winter storm hit Washington state Friday, and many businesses, schools, and offices closed early so workers could get home. State and local officials urged people to stay off the roads as traffic slowed to a standstill in some places because of the snow. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Hershel Odle looks out toward the cityscape lost in a whiteout as he fishes from a pier during a snowstorm Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. The National Weather Service said the warning will be in effect from noon Friday to noon Saturday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected in the interior lowland areas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
As the cityscape is lost in a whiteout behind him, Scott Mathews snaps a photo of a metal sculpture of women on a beach during a snowstorm Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. The National Weather Service said the warning will be in effect from noon Friday to noon Saturday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected in the interior lowland areas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A bicyclist rides past a homeless encampment as snow falls, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Traffic backs-up heading out of downtown on State Route 99 at the beginning of a snowstorm Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. The National Weather Service said the warning will be in effect from noon Friday to noon Saturday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected in the interior lowland areas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A pedestrian moves along the waterfront during a snowstorm Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. The National Weather Service said the warning will be in effect from noon Friday to noon Saturday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected in the interior lowland areas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The U.S. flag flies in the snow next to those of other nations, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, on the Capitol campus in Olympia, Wash. A much-anticipated winter storm hit Washington state Friday, and many businesses, schools, and offices closed early so workers could get home. State and local officials urged people to stay off the roads as traffic slowed to a standstill in some places because of the snow. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Trucks from the Bowlin Group, an energy company from Kentucky, idle in the parking lot of Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. The church served as a staging area for the vehicles. (Neil Blake/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)
The bread section of a Safeway store in Tacoma, Wash., is shown Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. Many shoppers were stocking up Thursday after officials issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region from noon Friday to noon Saturday with snow accumulations approaching six inches in some areas including Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A de-icing truck filled with salt-brine fluid pulls away from a maintenance yard Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Tacoma, Wash., during preparations for snow and ice expected to hit the area Friday and Saturday from an anticipated winter storm system. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Shoppers line up to check out with their groceries, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at a Safeway store in Tacoma, Wash. Many were stocking up after officials issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region from noon Friday to noon Saturday with snow accumulations approaching six inches in some areas including Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Cars, trucks, and a lone cyclist make their way in the snow on Capitol Way, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Olympia, Wash. A much-anticipated winter storm hit Washington state Friday, and many businesses, schools, and offices closed early so workers could get home. State and local officials urged people to stay off the roads as traffic slowed to a standstill in some places because of the snow. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A cyclist rides in the snow across a pedestrian bridge, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Olympia, Wash. A much-anticipated winter storm hit Washington state Friday, and many businesses, schools, and offices closed early so workers could get home. State and local officials urged people to stay off the roads as traffic slowed to a standstill in some places because of the snow. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Light traffic passes by as a highway sign over Interstate 90 warns of expected snow later in the day Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. The National Weather Service says the warning will be in effect from noon Friday to noon Saturday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected in the interior lowland areas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A bicyclist rides through a snowstorm and past a metal sculpture of women on a beach Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. The National Weather Service said the warning will be in effect from noon Friday to noon Saturday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected in the interior lowland areas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A pedestrian joins traffic as it backs up heading out of downtown on State Route 99 at the beginning of a snowstorm Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Seattle. Officials have issued a winter storm warning for the Puget Sound region including Seattle. The National Weather Service said the warning will be in effect from noon Friday to noon Saturday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected in the interior lowland areas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Abby Morin shovels a path as snow continues to fall on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Morin said power was restored to her home the night before. (Neil Blake/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)
A worker moves a front end loader onto a low-boy truck, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at a City of Tacoma maintenance yard in Tacoma, Wash. City workers were moving the loader a location in East Tacoma where a remote supply of road salt is stored so that trucks that serve neighborhoods in that area can be filled more efficiently. The move was part of preparations for snow and ice expected to hit the area Friday and Saturday from an anticipated winter storm system. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Snow falls at the Washington Capitol in Olympia, Wash. on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Seattle and other areas of the Puget Sound are bracing for a winter storm that is expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of snow. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
Bus driver Marsha Wilson helps a man to an American Red Cross shelter at Union High School in Grand Rapids, Mich.,on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. People were evacuated from Villa Maria Retirement Community to the shelter due to a power outage. (Neil Blake/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

SEATTLE — A winter storm pounded Washington state Friday, forcing the cancellation of 200 flights in Seattle as officials worked to get people off the streets and into shelters during the nation's latest bout with winter weather.

Snow began falling north of Seattle with some areas recording 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow before it made its way south and enveloped the city.

Many businesses closed early so workers could get home.

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency, saying everyone in the state should focus on staying safe.

"Forecasters predict this may be a storm unlike one we've seen in many years," he said.

In California, more than 120 visitors and staff members were rescued after being snowbound in a Sierra Nevada resort for five days.

Up to 7 feet (2 meters) of snow had trapped the guests and staff beginning Sunday at Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Alicia Embrey said.

Crews had to travel by snowmobile to get to the lodge in mountains east of Fresno. Heavy equipment and crews then cleared more than 20 fallen trees and 8 miles (13 kilometers) of deep snow on the road leading to the lodge to allow guests and staff to leave the property Thursday night.

Another winter storm was on the way to the region.

In Yosemite National Park, as many as 50 housing structures near Half Dome Village were damaged by trees toppled during a snowstorm earlier this week, displacing more than 160 employees who provide food, lodging and other services for visitors.

Elsewhere, more than 148,000 customers were without electricity in Michigan following days of freezing rain. The Consumers Energy utility said power would be restored by late Sunday.

In Seattle, officials urged people to stay off the roads as traffic slowed to a standstill in some places because of the snow.

"Doesn't matter where you're going, expect it to take a very. long. time," the Washington Department of Transportation said on Twitter.

Schools and colleges had canceled classes ahead of the storm expected to bring 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) of snow. Scores of flights were cancelled or delayed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Snowfall from Sunday and Monday lingered into the week as below-freezing temperatures gripped the area. A 59-year-old man died Thursday from exposure at a Seattle light rail station.

Additional shelter space opened by city and county officials was filling up. The city was focused on people who are willing to come inside, Will Lemke, spokesman for the Seattle Human Services Department, told the Seattle Times.

"This is an extreme weather event, and offering shelter is the most important thing we can do right now," he said.

Forecasters said Portland, Oregon, could get up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow later in the day, with two more snowstorms expected to hit the city next week.

Residents in Portland and Seattle, two cities where rain is more common than snow in the winter, emptied grocery store shelves and waited in long lines to buy shovels and de-icer.

Autumn Sang was at a mobbed grocery store in Tualatin, Oregon, on Friday stocking up for the coming storm for herself and her neighbor, who is disabled and doesn't have a car.

Sang said she had never seen the store so crowded. She grew up in southern Oregon, where snow is more common, and wasn't fazed by the forecast.

"I love it. I'm excited about it," she said of the snow. "I think that Portlanders, most of them are city people and they come from a lot of different places, so they're not so used to it. It's like, 'Use your brain! If you don't have to go out, don't go out.'"

___

AP journalists Amanda Lee Myers in Los Angeles and Gillian Flaccus in Portland, Oregon, contributed to this report.

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