November 22, 2011 in City

Snoqualmie Pass now open

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tags:weather
On the Web
Weather: Washington | Idaho

Traffic: Street cameras

Highway information: Idaho | Washington | Montana | Oregon

Update 7:33 p.m.: Snoqualmie Pass is now open to eastbound and westbound traffic.

The Washington state Department of Transportation recommends traction tires be used for driving the stretch of Interstate 90, and reports that slush and standing water are on the roadway.

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Original report: Eastbound and westbound Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass were closed late this afternoon while highway maintenance workers performed avalanche control along steep exposed slopes in the pass. It was the latest in a series of pass closures throughout the day due to heavy snow.

The avalanche work was scheduled for 3 p.m. Traffic cameras showed a line of trucks and passenger vehicles waiting to climb the hill at Denny Creek at milepost 47. Another line of waiting vehicles was at milepost 71.

The pass remained closed at 4 p.m.

Westbound was closed earlier today. Eastbound lanes were closed and then opened also today and are now closed again, the Washington state Department of Transportation said.

Eastbound lanes were previously closed as a result of spin outs. Chains have been required at times on all vehicles eastbound, except those with all-wheel.

Lanes are partly clogged with what appears on traffic cameras to be heavy snow and slush, and heavy traffic has been seen consistently through the pass when vehicles have been permitted to cross.

Snow has been falling and the late afternoon air temperature was 33 with a pavement temperature of 31.

The National Weather Service had been calling for a high of 38 in the pass, but the warmest temperature during the day has been 34. The temperature is only going to drop a few degrees tonight and rain remains in the weather service forecast, although snow is falling.

The pass appears to be just above the line between rain and snow. Rain is in the forecast tonight and Wednesday before 4 p.m. The current round of precipitation is expected to ease during the day on Wednesday with snow showers bringing light snow accumulations by Wednesday evening and night, according to the National Weather Service.

However, the forecast has not matched up with the snow conditions during the day today.

Looking ahead, another 1 to 3 inches of snow could fall on the pass on Thanksgiving to be followed by snow showers Friday.

For pass conditions and updates, check with DOT at http://wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/snoqualmie or by phone at 511.

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