Storm brings snow to Cascades, Olympics


by KING 5 News

Posted on October 25, 2010 at 7:10 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 25 at 11:19 PM

SEATTLE – The first big storm of the season is bringing snow to the Washington Cascades and Olympics. It's not enough to fire up the lifts but it is an impressive start.  Everyone is hoping it's a sign of a long and much more lucrative season.

By mid-evening Monday, snow had finally hit Snoqualmie Pass, adding a white dusting to a wet and windy day. A few hours north and 1,000 feet higher, Stevens Pass saw steady snowfall throughout the day Monday. It's heavy, wet snow, also known as Cascade Concrete.

All the snow in the mountains means drivers can now start using studded tires. The Department of Transportation moved up the date because of the stormy weather. The DOT also recommends big rig drivers make sure they have chains if they plan on traveling over the passes.

A winter storm warning for the west slopes of the Cascades is in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday above 3,000 feet. Up to a foot of new snow is likely by late Tuesday. Mount Baker, Stevens Pass, White Pass and Paradise will all be affected.

A winter storm advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday for the Olympics above 3,000 feet. An additional 5 to 10 inches of snow is likely by late Tuesday, with the heaviest amounts falling above 4,000 feet.

Last year Stevens Pass had a below average snow pack. This year, with La Nina, they believe they're on track to potentially double their average, which would be 800 inches of snow

The storm brought heavy rain to some areas of Western Washington. In Renton, water covered lanes of southbound I-405 at NW 44th Street. At one point the back-up was five miles.

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Wind gusts reached over 50 mph in the Puget Sound area. North Bend reported 53 mph wind gusts Monday morning, while Seattle and Oak Harbor hit 42 mph.

The coastal flood warning continues for the central coast as large waves - near 25 feet - are still battering the coastline. The seas were were expected to gradually subside early Tuesday morning.

The Coast Guard closed the Columbia River bar and most other entrances to coastal ports in Washington and Oregon because of dangerously high waves. In addition to Columbia River, other affected crossings include Grays Harbor, Wash., Tillamook, Depoe Bay, Yaquina, Umpqua and Coos Bay.

Tree falls on Kirkland house

A 30-foot tree snapped at the roots Sunday night, falling onto a house and car in Kirkland.

Homeowner Steve Gapper said the massive tree came down on his house right above his kids' bedroom as he was putting them to sleep.

"It sounded like something in the house had broken, like a huge beam or something," said Gapper. "Initially I looked on the deck, and there was a lot of debris there, and came around here and saw this."

Despite all that mess, no one was hurt. Gapper believes the strong winds the night before probably weakened the large tree.

Showers to taper off

The low is expected to drift slowly eastward into Tuesday and gradually weaken. As the low moves off to the east Tuesday afternoon, the showers and winds will taper off .

A weak high pressure will move through on Wednesday ending the showers early and giving a partly sunny day. Another weaker front will produce a little rain on Thursday.