Snow lovers rejoice at season’s first storm blanketing Snoqualmie Pass; more expected Sunday – KIRO 7 News Seattle

Date: 2021-11-08 06:36:53

The first significant snow of the season blanked Snoqualmie Pass on Saturday, transforming the summit from fall to a winter landscape. Ski slopes that were bare on Friday were blanketed in white by Saturday afternoon.

Drivers can expect several more inches of snow Sunday. Mountain pass snow will continue to be likely at times with another 1-4 inches possible around the passes, more is expected in higher elevations of Mt. Baker and Paradise. A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. above 3000′.

The roads got slushy at points but stayed fairly clear, bringing people from all around the Sound up to the pass to check out the snow.

Vitaliy Motso drove up from Tacoma.

“Coming down to throw some snowballs at my wife!” Motso said. “I’m a huge fan, the snow is my thing,” he said.

Temperatures hovered around freezing for most of Saturday, sending snow down in the form of big, fluffy flakes.

“It’s wonderful yeah, it’s such a different world up here,” said Perry Bryant, visiting Snoqualmie Summit from Seattle.

KIRO7 also talked with people from Everett, Kent, and North Bend, who were all at the Summit just to experience the white stuff.

Snow plows worked hard Saturday to keep road conditions optimal.

However, WSDOT is warning that this winter, their operations will be reduced.

They’re dealing with nearly 300 fewer employees than normal because of widespread labor shortages, and staff leaving after the state’s vaccine mandate.

The organization is hiring, but says drivers should expect slower response times, fewer plows, and longer closures after big storms.

“We just have fewer staff to accomplish the task, so we may have fewer folks there to open the pass,” said James Morin, a maintenance operator for WSDOT.

Drivers said that change is going to make for a messy season.

“Probably going to be a hectic winter on the pass. Snoqualmie Pass is going to be hectic for sure,” said James Bridgeman, a pass traveler.

“There’s going to be a lot of people on the side, a lot of car accidents for sure. With semi-trucks and everything it’s going to be pretty dangerous,” said Anatoliy Kozuv, another Snoqualmie Pass driver.

Other passes were hit harder with snow.

Chinook and Cayuse passes are temporarily closed due to collisions and adverse weather. Crews plan to reassess highway conditions on Monday, Nov. 8.

Stevens Pass was covered with snow and ice, though only traction tires were advised Saturday.

WSDOT also advises that because of those likely slower response times, it is extra important this season to have essentials in your vehicle — like a full tank of gas, food, water, warm clothes, jump cables, and of course — tire chains, when traveling this winter.

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