SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. — Washington State Department of Transportation is warning drivers of difficult conditions expected in the mountain passes starting Wednesday.
Winter storm warnings are in place across the Northwest ahead of an incoming storm. Widespread snow is expected from the Cascades to the Northern Rockies.
The forecast calls for the possibility of several feet of snow in the Washington mountain passes through Thursday. WSDOT said the storm could dump a couple of inches of snow an hour, on top of snow that has already fallen.
“While our crews continue to plow 24/7, with that level of snow, no amount of plowing would keep the pass clear,” WSDOT tweeted. “As soon as we plow an area, a bunch more snow covers it until we can come back around.”
The snow comes at a time when Snoqualmie Pass has already seen its highest snowfall amount in 20 years. As of Monday, 236 inches had already fallen along I-90.
Drivers have already faced several closures of the mountain passes this winter, including Snoqualmie Pass along I-90 and Stevens Pass on Highway 2. The closures cut off the primary driving routes between Spokane and Seattle.
WSDOT warns conditions could deteriorate later this week with a warm-up and rain in the forecast. That is expected to create significant avalanche danger, which could force the closure of the passes.
If you do travel over the mountains in the next few days, WSDOT said, “it’s going to be REALLY challenging.” The agency is asking drivers to be prepared for delays and closures and extremely slow going.
Snoqualmie Pass alerts
Drivers on Snoqualmie Pass can sign up to receive text alerts for pass delays of 30 minutes or longer.
Here are the steps on how to sign up for text alerts:
- Click this link
- Select “SMS/Text Message” as your subscription type
- Enter your cell phone number
- Confirm your number and enter an optional password
- Select the topic: I-90 Snoqualmie Pass Travel Alerts
Or just send a text to sign up:
- Send a text message to the number 468311 with the words “wsdot snoqualmie”
- To unsubscribe, send a text message to the same number with the words “wsdot stop”
WSDOT shares these tips for winter driving.