GOLD BAR, Wash. -- Communities stranded along a 30-mile stretch of U.S. 2 that's been closed for days should see some relief soon: Volunteers gathered in Gold Bar Wednesday morning to collect food, water, fuel and other supplies for those affected by major snowstorms.
The highway has been closed between Gold Bar and the summit of Stevens Pass since Sunday night, when a winter storm brought down trees and power lines that continued to fall through Tuesday afternoon.
The closure has created a desperate situation for some people who are blocked in. Some have been without power for days and have not been able to get in their car to get more food and water.
Skykomish Mayor Henry Sladek says he understands it's frustrating for people who have been shut in for several days, but he's advising residents to hunker down for a couple more days. He said help is available to those who need it: an emergency shelter has been set up at the Masonic Hall in Skykomish.
Although the snowfall has stopped in the area, a high wind warning is in effect for the Cascade foothills and along the coast. Gusts could top 60 mph Wednesday afternoon and overnight.
By Thursday, the lowlands should start thawing out as snow levels rise. But that creates more problems for the foothills and the mountains that are covered in snow. Pass travel will continue to be problematic.