Friday, February 8, 2008

The weather outside is frightful...

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.

Weather
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.

7 comments:

JH said...

What crazy weather! I hope it clears up so my dad (and everyone else) doesn't have to sit up there in the cold!

Good work DOT!!

And since we have no snow where I live.. Make some snowmen for us!

The Geezer said...

Jeremy--

It says the Stevens Pass video is unavailable. You just posted this sucker.

What happen, you forget to mark it on youtube.com that it was adult content, or somthin'?

Or it is just another statie screwup. Why don't you work all weekend getting that video back up, so the sheeples can watch their tax money at work?

And with that bigarse generator that they have at Stevens how can the power go out? Chelan PUD has a huge shed, right behind yours, with a huge generator, and a huge diesel tank, so wassup with the power being out?

The Geez, even more cantankerous than usual.

Jeremy Bertrand said...

Sorry to hear it isn't working for you. You could always go directly to our YouTube channel and watch it there.

The power is out at one of the electrical boxes close to the cameras. The box is unreachable right now due to the conditions. Rumor has it there have been several unsuccessful attempts. It's really bad up there.

Tracy Tallman said...

Remember the Wellington Disaster March 1 1910 where at least 101 people died when two Great Northern trains were swept off the mountain into a ravine... The weather doesn't appear to be much worse now. Now Burlington Northern has a snow shed and the roads are suffering - there wasn't a road over Stevens Pass in 1910...

lacquer said...

Remember the Wellington Disaster March 1 1910 where at least 101 people died when two Great Northern trains were swept off the mountain into a ravine... The weather doesn't appear to be much worse now. Now Burlington Northern has a snow shed and the roads are suffering - there wasn't a road over Stevens Pass in 1910...

Joe LaForm said...

I am a truck driver from Pennsylvania. I know what you guys have to go through. Thanx for all your hard work to try and keep up the roads. We in Pa. dont have winters nearly as bad as you guys and our DOT cant keep our roads clear to save their lives!!! Keep up the good work. See you next week.

Bryan said...

Thank you to WSDOT for all that you guys do and have done this season. You have worked many long hours since December keeping the roads safe a clear for the rest of us and I don't think you all get the credit that you deserve. We would be lost without your services over the hills.