Editor’s note: This story was published Sunday, Feb. 21. On Monday, Feb. 22, the Washington State Department of Transportation said it will reopen White Pass around 10 a.m., and is still evaluating Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass. Click here to read Monday’s updated story on the weather.
Three main east-west routes through Washington will be closed in both directions beginning Sunday night at 6 p.m. because of avalanche danger in the mountains, the Washington State Department of Transportation said.
Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass will be closed from North Bend to Easton, and U.S. Highway 2 over Stevens Pass will be closed from Scenic to the summit, the state agency said Sunday afternoon. U.S. Highway 12 over White Pass will also close at 6 p.m., officials said around 4:30 Sunday. The passes will be assessed for reopening in the morning.
Heavy mountain snow has raised avalanche danger and prompted an avalanche warning covering the central Washington Cascades. The northern and southern portions of the mountain range in the state were already under avalanche warnings, meaning large and destructive avalanches, including those that can run long distances into mature forests, valley floors and flat terrain, are very likely, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center.
The West has seen 24 avalanche deaths since Jan. 30, including a fatality Feb. 8 in the Salmon la Sac area.