Road crews prepping for harsh weather, avalanche control

STEVENS PASS, Wash. – Winter is here, and Q13 News Meteorologist Walter Kelly says wet, rainy and snowy weather will continue through the week across Western Washington.

That includes our mountain passes, like Stevens Pass, which has since reopened after being closed due to trees falling from heavy snow. At the pass on Tuesday, light rain and fog clung to U.S. Highway 2 but the roadway was easily passable.

“The concern is keeping the road clear and safe for the traveling public,” said Alan Willard, avalanche specialist with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Snowplow crews continued clearing the pass Tuesday, and the same crews are preparing for a busy week. Willard says so far this season, major snow accumulation has yet to fall.

“We’re getting there. It’s been kind of a slim season so far, but the snow is stacking up and our main area of concern are the old faithful chutes, just on the west side of Stevens Pass,” he said.

Considering storms are forecast to continue hammering the mountain passes, travel across the Cascades could become hazardous.

“We’re supposed to get more snow in the next couple days and another big storm this weekend,” said Willard. “We could be doing avalanche control this weekend.”

People planning to hit the slopes or cross over the pass are reminded to pack an emergency kit and chains.