Apparently, snow isn’t the only danger lurking around the corner during Washington’s winters.
On New Year’s Eve, several people were trapped in their cars and semi-trucks after winds blew an extensive amount of tumbleweeds onto Highway 240 in Benton County.
As 911 calls started to come in around 6:30 p.m., the Washington State Patrol told news outlets, officials realized they had a problem on their hands.
The incident, which happened near Yakima, or about 150 miles southeast of Tacoma, fully encased at least five vehicles. One semi-truck was also partially trapped as a result of what officials dubbed the “Tumbleggedon 2020.”
— Trooper C. Thorson (@wspd3pio) January 1, 2020
Occupants of two of the impacted vehicles abandoned the area and hitched a ride with strangers. Officials said they fled the location after becoming too scared to stay in their cars.
After officials responded to the calls, they closed both directions of the road for ten hours. That was the time the state Department of Transportation clean-up crews required to make sure the road was safe and ready for traffic.
According to at least one of the workers who helped to clear the road, he has never seen tumbleweeds encase a car in the 20 years he has served the area.
While this was certainly not a common sight for local authorities, officials were thankful that nobody was injured. However, many of the entrapped motorists were far from happy to have spent their New Year’s Eve completely encased in tumbleweeds.
It’s important to keep in mind that staying calm can help prevent accidents whenever emergencies prompted by natural elements take place. While we all understand the drivers were scared, we also urge all drivers across Washington to stay calm and wait for help from inside their car when a similar incident takes place.
For more on this tumbleweed episode, click here.