Holiday travel: Snoqualmie Pass reopens, Stevens Pass remains closed

The dangerous ice storm that swept through western Washington on Friday morning may be over, but some roads are still very slick. Pair that with Christmas travel, it may take you a bit longer to get to your destination. 

AAA is estimating 112.7 million people will travel 50 miles or more away from their homes between December 23 to January 2. AAA predicts nearly 102 million Americans will hit the road to reach their destinations, especially with gas prices trending downward.

Travel headaches

Mountain Passes 

As of 9:30 a.m., Snoqualmie Pass (I-90) has reopened in all directions after a near day-long closure from North Bend to Ellensburg. Chains are required on all vehicles except all-wheel drive.

Stevens Pass (US 2) closed on Christmas Eve, at the same time as Snoqualmie Pass. It remains closed as of 9:30 a.m. Christmas Day. 

See real-time pass updates here. 

Driving 

Officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol are urging caution after the storm, especially in mountain passes that are open. 

When driving on the passes, make sure you: 

Flying

On Friday morning, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport closed its runways "indefinitely" as crews continued to de-ice the surfaces. This resulted in hundreds of flights getting canceled.

Due to snowstorms across the country, hundreds of flights were delayed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on starting on Thursday.  

You can see flight delays and cancelations here.

Train

Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari says the Empire Builder—which runs from Chicago to Seattle and Portland—is canceled for the next few days. He says service is suspended through Sunday.

The single-digit overnight temps and high winds can cause power outages along the tracks. If that happens, a train could be sitting at a crossing with no power. With trains depending heavily on those power systems, if the signal system goes out along the tracks, it will take a long time to get them moving again.

Check Amtrak statuses here.

Public Transportation

Several transit agencies in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties have suspended or delayed some of its services due to the unsafe road conditions. 

Travel forecast

Temperatures are warming up in the lowlands, which means that all the snow and ice is melting, giving way to wet roads. Over some of the Cascade foothills, there's a slight chance for freezing rain and light ice accumulations through this afternoon. However, for the most part, precipitation should fall in the form of plain old rain. 

Passes are icy and closures are expected on and off. 

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Useful links