North Cascades Highway temporarily closed

MAZAMA — Due to heavy snow and high winds on Sunday, the state Department of Transportation on Sunday closed the North Cascades Highway at 3 p.m., at least temporarily.

Avalanche control specialists will travel to Washington Pass today to find out how much snow came down, and see whether avalanches are covering the roadway, said Transportation spokesman Jeff Adamson. “If it’s reasonably re-openable, they’ll do it,” he said.

Adamson said the pass between Mazama and Newhalem had already received about two feet of snow since Thanksgiving, and forecasters predicted another 20 inches on Sunday.

He said if the filled avalanche chutes did not let loose and spill across the highway, there’s a good chance that cold weather predicted over the next several days will stabilize them.

The highway closes every winter due to avalanche danger. Last year, it closed for the season on Nov. 19.


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