If you don't live in the high desert, it can be hard to remember that tumbleweeds are a real thing and not just a convenient western movie prop. If you were in one of the six vehicles trapped in a massive pile of tumbleweeds in Washington State overnight earlier this week, they're all too real.
That's right, a storm of tumbleweeds closed Washington State Route 240 on Tuesday night, trapping at least five cars and a semi-truck, according to the Washington State Patrol. The pile of sagebrush rolled up to berms along the side of the road and quickly clogged the highway. When cars stopped to avoid hitting them, they were quickly buried as well.
If it sounds funny, it's not. The tumbleweeds were piled nearly 10 metres high in places, closing the highway for 10 hours. To help clear the blockage, highway crews put their snowplows to new use, pushing dried-out plants off of the road in what the Washington State Department of Transportation is calling Tumblegeddon.
"It was a new experience," WS DOT maintenance worker Jason Vandine said. "We'd dealt with tumbleweeds before, but not to that extent. To have a road closed because of it was different. And then not knowing the extent of it because it was so dark. I opened the first section and thought we were in business to let traffic go and then found out there's a whole other section covered. You couldn't get a good perspective."
The DOT crews estimated that it would have taken 5,000 truckloads to haul all of the tumbleweeds away from the scene. At least it's not snow, right?
It has been referred to as "Tumblegeddon" 1/3/2020 8:53:43 PM 1/3/2020 8:53:43 PM