Winter may not be officially here, but it’s settling into the mountain passes.
Chinook and Cayuse Passes are temporarily closed due to some 20 inches of new snow creating an avalanche danger, the Washington State Department of Transportation reports. WSDOT says the avalanche risk is too great to allow traffic to safely cross Highway 410 over Chinook Pass and Highway 123 over Cayuse Pass. More snow is in the forecast, which could produce several more feet of snow on Monday.
WSDOT maintenance crews will evaluate conditions after the storm to determine if the passes will reopen or remain closed for the season. In the past 40 years, the earliest the passes have closed was Oct. 7 in 1996. In 1976, the pass remained open all winter.
Stevens Pass has compact snow and ice, and Snoqualmie Pass has slush and rain. Traction tires advised on both.
Highway 20, the North Cascades Pass, remains open. Last year it closed on Nov. 20.