Everybody ready for a wild weekend? It looks like it's going to be a fun one, if you like storms that is. Personally, I happen to love them, but then again I don't have any Christmas shopping to do this weekend.
It's dumping in the passes today, with up to 2 feet of snow expected in some areas. If you have to travel over the passes this weekend I highly recommend you take the time to get prepared before you go. The road conditions are changing very quickly.
One of the most vital pieces of information you can have before you travel over the passes is the reports that tell you the current conditions and let you know if you need to put your chains on or not.
We have several different ways to get this information and I wanted to let you know about all of them, especially before this weekend.
You can sign up to get the reports directly to your inbox as conditions change. A word of warning though: on days like today that can mean a lot of messages in your inbox. But, it can be very beneficial to know what the current conditions are and how quickly and often conditions change up there.
Put the RSS feed of your favorite pass in your RSS reader to stay up to date. There is a link on each mountain pass page to it's RSS feed.
Don't forget you can always dial "511" and get the latest conditions.
We have a new tool in the arsenal by using Twitter. You can get current pass conditions by direct messaging the WSDOT twitter account. Set yourself up with a free twitter account, and by using the specific keywords and instruction provided on this page, you can send a text to the WSDOT account and it will reply back to you with the current conditions. That means if you are about to drive over the passes and you send a text message (of course not while driving) to Twitter (40404) with the words "d wsdot pass sno" Twitter will text back to you the current conditions of Snoqualmie Pass by using Twitter's direct messaging feature.
Twitter is the only way we offer pass reports via text message as of right now. We are working on a way that would allow a system to send you a message whenever the pass report updates, but we are still working the bugs out of it. Limiting these messages to 140 characters is proving to be a challenge.
Stay warm this weekend, take the time to get prepared, and drive safely out there.
On a side note, for all you 520 bridge drivers. We are watching the Lake Washington Bridges and the wind speed closely. If we get gusts of 50 mph or more we will have to close the 520 bridge.
On another side note... We had a little glitch with our server that serves up mountain pass images this morning. For some reason it decided to ask for a username and password to view the images. We gave it a good kick and it's back to normal now, sorry about that.