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Tumbleweeds bury cars on rural WA highway

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Tumbleweed blocks SR 240 near Richland on Dec. 31, 2019 (Photo Courtesy: Laura Sannes via KEPR-TV)


In what looks to be the first viral news story of 2020, national news media outlets are publicizing the story of a tumbleweed avalanche 20 miles northwest of Richland, WA.

KING 5 posted video clips of the tumbleweed tsunami, too., which required DOT snowplows to clear.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Sarah Clasen was there.

“It was an interesting night. Definitely not the New Year’s Eve I planned on working patrol,” she told KATU-TV via telephone.

Troopers said that while tumbleweeds seem harmless, the sheer number of them Tuesday night proved daunting.

“Everybody said, ‘Oh, it’s just a tumbleweed, drive through.’ But, literally, you had vehicles driving off the road because they couldn’t see the roadway,” Clasen said. “Even semi-trucks (were on the) wrong side of the road. It was a little bit of chaos and a lot of, well, we haven’t had this before, but I guess we’ll just figure it out.”

She said a single tumbleweed may seem light and easy to move, but bunch them together and they are sharp and can cut you if you’re not wearing gloves.

WSDOT crews were able to get the road reopened around 4:30 a.m. but the cleanup continued into the daylight hours.




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