Snoqualmie and Stevens passes re-open; White Pass opening also expected today
SEATTLE — Order was being restored to Washington’s three major mountain passes late Friday morning, after all three were closed overnight.
The eastbound lanes of I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass opened around 1 a.m., and the westbound lanes opened just before 11 a.m.
Just after 12:30 p.m., Stevens Pass opened as well. The Tumwater Canyon section of Highway 2, however, remained closed from milepost 85-99.
White Pass is also expected to open at some point Friday. WSDOT said it expected to have an estimate around noon.
Soaking rains were slamming western Washington while freezing rain falls on top of snow in the mountains and Whatcom County.
A traffic nightmare
The three major east-west mountain passes remained closed Thursday because of avalanche danger.
Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass was closed all night due to avalanche danger, said officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation. I-90 is closed eastbound at milepost 34 near North Bend and westbound at milepost 71 near Easton, milepost 84 near Cle Elum and milepost 106 near Ellensburg.
US 12 over White Pass remained closed in both directions "due to a snow slide" near Wild Cat Creek, WSDOT said.
US 2 was closed over Stevens Pass from Scenic, milepost 58, to Leavenworth at milepost 99, due to snowslides and high avalanche danger. Chumstick Highway is open to local traffic only.
Washington State Patrol Trooper J. Sevigney tweeted Wednesday night, "Alternate route to west Washington...try Oregon."
Looking ahead to the weekend
By Friday morning, more rain and wind before the system starts to weaken late in the day. It wills start to dry out by Saturday for most.
The snow in the mountains becomes unstable when rain and ice accumulate on top of it.
"A very rough weather pattern is over us through Friday," Q13 News Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley said. "Flooding rains for most of us, snow or ice up north around Bellingham, gusty winds Thursday evening for the weight-loaded trees up in the foothills, pass closures, tidal overflow early Thursday for Puget Sound, you name it and we’ve got it."
Tidal overflow for Puget Sound will come with the high tides. The first high tide is around 5 a.m. Thursday.
The mountains will be a total mess through Friday," Kelley said. "Heavy snow, to lots of rain, to heavy snow again Friday equals big problems up there. I’d expect long duration closures."
But some good news -- "This weekend looks quiet, dry and mild!"