OLYMPIA – Snow and a high threat of avalanches prompted officials to close the three main east-west mountain passes in Washington state on New Year’s Day and two of the highways were expected to remain shut down into today.
Snoqualmie Pass, which carries Interstate 90 across the Cascade Mountains, reopened at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday after highway crews used a 14-hour closure to bring down potential avalanches and plow the highway, state Transportation Department spokesman Lloyd Brown said.
Another storm was expected to dump as much as 18 inches of new snow on the Cascades overnight, keeping avalanche danger high.
When all three passes were closed, travelers between Eastern and Western Washington were directed to detour south through Portland.
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