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Snow slides block U.S. 2 at Stevens Pass

STEVENS PASS, Wash. (AP) — U.S. Highway 2 at Stevens Pass will not open until Friday at the earliest after a series of snow slides today blocked the highway that runs from Wenatchee to Monroe through the Cascades.

It was hit by a snowslide at 5 a.m. that covered all lanes about 15 feet deep, according to the Washington Department of Transportation.

By 9 a.m., the DOT reported that the highway was covered by a series of four separate slides.

This afternoon, the DOT said that the pass would be closed until Friday at least. During today’s operation, a snow blower machine was partially buried.

Early this morning, spokesman Jeff Adamson reported that the slide pushed jersey barriers aside, and the situation was so unstable that crews had to wait for daylight to get to work.

Adamson says they’ll likely find other slides in avalanche chutes near the pass. He says crews also will have to use explosives for avalanche control work before U.S. 2 reopens. In the meantime, he recommends drivers traveling between Eastern Washington and Western Washington use Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass.

The National Weather Service earlier this week issued an avalanche warning for the entire Cascade Range in Washington as well as portions of Oregon after heavy snow has been accumulating throughout March. Heavy rain was reported on Thursday in the mountains.

Flood warnings are in effect for several rivers flowing from the Cascades, including the Skykomish River, which drains the west side of Stevens Pass.

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