Outdoors

In mountains, snow storm means closed roads, avalanche risk, epic skiing

A Crystal Mountain web cam image from Monday morning. The ski area received 19 inches of new snow in 24 hours.
A Crystal Mountain web cam image from Monday morning. The ski area received 19 inches of new snow in 24 hours.

UPDATE: Mount Rainier National Park will be closed Monday.

The storm blanketing the South Sound area with snow means potential hazards and epic skiing conditions for those heading into the mountains.

The Summit at Snoqualmie ski area is reporting 17 inches of snow in the past 24 hours, but as of 8 a.m. access to the ski area is blocked according to the state Department of Transportation website. Interstate 90 is closed at North Bend.

Crystal Mountain Resort reports receiving 19 inches of new snow while White Pass was blanketed with 18 inches in the past 24 hours. Traction tires are advised on state Route 410 and there is snow on the road, according to WSDOT. On White Pass where there is compact snow and ice on the roads, traction tires are required and chains are required for vehicles 10,000 pounds and heavier.

At Mount Rainier National Park, the road from Longmire to Paradise will not open Monday. Chains are required for 2-wheel-drive vehicles between the park entrance and Longmire.

The Northwest Avalanche Center rates Monday’s avalanche risk as “considerable” (its third highest rating) throughout most of the Cascades and the Olympics. The organization’s website says avalanche risk is “high” (the second highest rating) in the southwest portion of the Cascades, an area that includes Mount Rainier.

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