SNOQUALMIE PASS For more than eight hours Monday, Interstate 90 was closed for a 70-mile stretch due to heavy snow.
According to the Washington Department of Transportation, snow started falling at the rate of 2-3 inches an hour beginning at 6:00 a.m.
Officials were finally forced to close Snoqualmie Pass in both directions between North Bend and Ellensburg around 11:30 a.m. At that point,8 inches of snow had fallen since the morning hours, and visibility was poor.
Just before noon, a natural avalanche covered all three westbound lanes.
The closure caused a back-up that stretched more than two miles.
The eastbound lanes were opened by 5:30 p.m., and the westbound lanes were reopened just after 8:00 p.m.
More than five feet of snow has accumulated at the passin the last seven days.
Our avalanche team is assessing the risk for more avalanches to occur and it is likely that they will need to do avalanche control work in several locations before we can open the highway, said Todd Trepanier, WSDOT South Central Region Maintenance Engineer during the afternoon.
The DOT advises drivers to carry chains, allow extra time for trips and prepare for challenging travel conditions and closures on all Cascade Range mountain passes.
For updates on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass road conditions visit the website or call 511.