Need to cross the Cascades? May want to wait

Don’t try to cross Cascade Range passes this week unless you absolutely have to, state transportation officials say.

With more snow forecast to fall over the mountains today, road conditions near Stevens Pass could be treacherous. If drivers have to travel on U.S. 2 over the pass, their vehicles must to be equipped with snow tires or chains, Washington State Patrol trooper Kirk Rudeen said.

“The biggest thing is: Drop your speed,” Rudeen said. “You have to pay attention. There’s no median separating the lanes” on U.S. 2.

Snow was forecast to accumulate up to 2 feet in the mountains in Snohomish County by this morning, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist of the National Weather Service in Seattle. A storm also is expected to bring more snow this evening. Forecasters said it is possible that people in the lowlands of Snohomish County may wake up to some snow this morning, and could see up to an inch of new snow on the ground by tonight.

An avalanche warning remained in effect for the Cascades, Burg said.

“People should pay attention to the avalanche forecast before they head out,” he said.

An avalanche shut down I-90 between North Bend and Ellensburg all day Tuesday. Nobody was injured in the incident that happened before 7:30 a.m. near the summit of Snoqualmie Pass. Crews from the state Department of Transportation kept busy trying to open the highway and to prevent additional avalanches from occurring, said Lauren Penning, a spokeswoman for the transportation department.

The highway remained closed as of Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, skiers and snowboarders Tuesday enjoyed fresh snow at Stevens Pass Ski Resort.

“It’s great,” said Chris Rudolph, the resort’s marketing manager. “We are looking forward to this storm. It’s likely to snow for the next three or four days.”

The ski resort had 105 inches of snow at the base and 114 inches at the top Tuesday afternoon, Rudolph said.

“Very healthy. We are very happy,” he said.

People driving on U.S. 2 toward the ski resort need to be very careful, have proper equipment and keep enough food, clothing and water in their vehicles, Rudeen said.

“Conditions change very quickly and radically,” he said.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

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