I thought I was clever with the title I gave to my last post: "snow, snow go away", but I now feel slightly haunted by it. Snoqualmie, Stevens and White passes are all closed again this afternoon for avalanche control work, with little hope of opening until sometime early Saturday.
The short story is that the passes got dumped on today, with conditions described as "blizzard-like." White pass was reporting two inches per hour this morning, and 40-50 mph sustained winds. Stevens was reporting one inch of snow per hour. All three passes had nearly 10 inches of new snow. Keep in mind the forecast only called for 6 inches or less.
I feel haunted by asking it to stop snowing because forecasts say that after 5-10 inches more snow tonight the temperature may rise in the next couple of days, the freezing level may go as high as 4500 feet. A dreaded Pineapple Express, normally not that much of a problem but with the recent snowfall it it could create extremely dangerous situations.
My favorite quote right now is from the national weather center storm warning: "This is the highest level of avalanche danger with widespread natural avalanches certain and large destructive slides possible." Need I say more?
Troubles with cameras
The Denny creek and Franklin falls Snoqualmie pass cameras got knocked out by recent avalanches. The bad news is that because of the amount of snowfall and because the wiring that supports those units is so torn up the cameras may not be replaced until spring.
Both Stevens pass cameras are out right now also. The extreme conditions knocked the power out to the area and the conditions are so bad that crews can't get up there to repair them.
It's hard to tell the long term outlook. I've seen reports that it could snow clear through next week. (NOAA, weather underground, weather.com) I just hope those crews get a break up there.
If you haven't seen them yet a couple of maintenance crew members shot some great video of what Stevens pass looked like early morning yesterday. Here is an example of what they have had to deal with:
To get the latest information, keep checking the Web site, call 511, or just watch the message signs on the side of the highways. We plan on updating the status all weekend (and you thought state employees only worked Monday-Friday 8-5 :) ).
It's been a wild ride and it just keeps going.
Drive safely out there.
If you didn't see the answer to the trivia question, I asked when was the last time that three passes were closed at once. The answer was 1996, Snoqualmie, Stevens and White passes were closed. It has now happened twice in as many days.