The state Transportation Department approved the use of studded tires five days before the usual date, Nov. 1, as heavy snow fell in the Cascades Wednesday and snow warnings were issued for much of Eastern Washington.
The storm's character will change as it develops, CBS affiliate KIRO-TV reports, with winds coming from the south instead of the east. Three to six inches of snow in the Mountain passes is expected.
The National Weather Service issued a Coastal Flood Warning for Wednesday night and Thursday, as winds and heavy surf batter the Coast.
Marian Granger Vincent, 62, visiting the state from her home in Silver Spring, Md., died when a windblown tree fell onto her while she and her sister were hiking near Rattlesnake Lake south of North Bend on Wednesday morning.
The surviving sister managed to leap free of the falling tree, which caught her sister on the back of the head, as they were about a quarter-mile up the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail, heading back to the trailhead to get out of the wind, King County sheriff's deputies said.
Puget Sound Energy reported more than 50,000 houses, businesses and offices without electricity Wednesday afternoon as trees and branches were blown over utility lines, mostly in the suburbs south and east of Seattle. The number of outages was down to about 14,000 by early Thursday.
Snow levels were originally predicted at 4,000 feet. By noon, the forecast fell though, as snow hammered 3,107-foot Satus Pass, dropping more than 3 inches, according to the Washington State Patrol.