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Heavy snowfall at Snoqualmie Pass causes temporary issues, offers long-term benefits

I-90 was closed on both sides for hours Saturday due to multiple collisions, but experts say the heavy snowfall might help during dry season

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. — Fourteen inches of new snow fell over Snoqualmie Pass Saturday night, marking the ninth snowiest winter in 20 years. The snow and weather also caused traffic woes on Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass.

It was a clear day on Sunday heading from Seattle to Snoqualmie Pass. As the drive continued, a wintery mix in North Bend quickly turned to snow and snarled traffic near the summit.

“I drive at least 10 miles an hour slower," said Larry Huffman, who was driving on the pass. "We did see a couple rigs, one that passed me. It looked like he spun out and went into the road."

On Saturday, both sides of I-90 were closed for several hours due to multiple collisions. On Sunday, KING 5 crews saw more of the same, with state troopers responding to a handful of vehicles going off the road.

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The Washington State Department of Transportation Snoqualmie Pass Twitter account tweeted Sunday morning the pass had 14 inches of new snow overnight, moving it to ninth place for the snowiest winters of the two decades. Experts said the historic amount of snow western Washington has been receiving may be a hazard for drivers but could make a difference during the fire season.

"This could hopefully help build the snowpack, so we have more of those reserves coming into our dry season," said University of Washington Assistant State Climatologist Karin Bumbaco.

Bumbaco said snowfall this late into the year isn’t unusual. She said snowpack usually peaks statewide at the beginning of April, and there have been several years where heavy snowfall continues in the mountains throughout the month.

State troopers want to remind drivers to take it slow on the roads and leave plenty of room between vehicles, and of course, follow all driving restrictions along the pass.

Click here to check current pass conditions.

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