Black ice made driving treacherous throughout Central Washington early this morning (Feb. 15), causing two separate semitruck accidents south of Toppenish and resulting in the closure of both directions of Interstate 82 for 13 miles.

The wrecks -- the first in the westbound lanes at Milepost 48 near Toppenish, the second in the eastbound lanes at Milepost 53 near Zillah -- brought the freeway to a standstill in both directions and stranded travelers for miles, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The truck accidents were among numerous spinouts and other wrecks reported starting at about 4 a.m..

Meantime, the Washington State Patrol reported traffic tie-ups near Union Gap, Wapato and at the junction of U.S. Highway 97.

WSDOT said crews hoped to have traffic moving again before 9 a.m., but the State Patrol told News Talk KIT that it would likely be noon before travel conditions returned to normal in the area.


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