Avalanche warning issued for Cascades as snow turns to freezing rain

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. -- Winter weather is making for tough travel conditions across the Pacific Northwest, especially in the Cascade Mountains.

An avalanche warning was issued late Thursday for Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass and much of the Cascade Mountains.

The Northwest Avalanche Center said the danger would be high from Thursday night through Friday as snow turns to freezing rain in the mountains.

As of Thursday evening, chains were required for all vehicles (except all-wheel drive) on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass. Travel times in both directions were about 45 minutes longer than normal.

About six inches of snow fell overnight Wednesday into Thursday on the pass. After a break in the morning, snow began falling again shortly after noon.

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    The Washington State Department of Transportation said crews are watching as the conditions change, but for now the areas that normally pose a problem are not full of snow yet.

    "We’re staffed up for tonight, our day shift crew is fully staffed in anticipation for today and the night crew for tonight," said Kevin Nicholson with WSDOT. "Supposed to snow tonight and into tomorrow."

    When the snow comes down so hard it also creates a visibility issue.

    Meteorologists said it's possible that the snow could change over to freezing rain, before switching back to snow again.

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