Several people got trapped in their cars Tuesday after strong winds blew a thicket of tumbleweeds into a portion of a state highway, authorities said.
Washington State Patrol announced via Twitter at about 6:30 p.m. that State Route 240 was closed in both directions near West Richland.
Trooper Sarah Clasen told reporters that vehicles were trapped in a pile of tumbleweeds that stood up to 15 feet (4.57 meters) tall.
The state Department of Transportation used snow plows to clear the scene.
Trooper Chris Thorson said it took about 10 hours to clear the road, which opened again around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Thorson says five cars and one 18-wheel semi truck where trapped in the tumbleweeds. No injuries were reported.
“People were still stuck at midnight and rung in the new year trapped under the weeds,” Thorson said.
One car was found trapped in the tumbleweeds after the sun rose, but it had been abandoned by its driver, he said. No injuries were reported.
“A pretty incredible sight from SR 240 where tumbleweed closed he road for 10 hours last night,” the Washington State Department of Transportation East tweeted. “Big thanks to our crews who worked through the night to clear roadway.”