Travelers face mountain snow for Thanksgiving journey



SEATTLE - Drivers crossing the Cascades Wednesday should expect periods of snow in the mountain passes.


 The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory until 10 p.m. Wednesday.


 Forecasters expect  3 to 11 inches of snow in the mountains, with the snow level down to 2,500 feet.


KIRO 7 Eyewitness News meteorologist Morgan Palmer said 4-5 inches is forecast to fall on Snoqualmie Pass and 6-10 inches on Stevens Pass.


 The snow level is forecast to rise Thursday, but there's still a chance of freezing temperatures in the passes.


 The Department of Transportation closed the North Cascades Highway on Tuesday for the winter because of heavy snow and avalanches. Last year, the 37-mile section of Highway 20 closed on Nov. 21.


 The DOT reminds travellers that the day before Thanksgiving is by far the heaviest travel day over the pass. They put together charts and information on the best times to travel.


There’s also the Apple Cup, the classic football game between the University of Washington and Washington State, that happens mid-day on Friday and is expected to amp up the traffic Wednesday and Thursday.


In the lowlands, Northline Sounder commuter rail trains between Everett and Seattle are still not running because of slides on the tracks.


Sound transit said it hopes to have the Northline trains rolling again on Friday if there are no additional mudslides.


Wednesday morning brought heavy rain during the commute, causing multiple spinouts on wet roads.  There were scattered power outages in Burien, SeaTac, Rainier Beach, Kent, Auburn, Maple Valley and Covington.  Some of the outages were caused by downed trees or tree limbs on lines.


 KIRO 7 Eyewitness News chief meteorologist Sam Argier said while the rain will taper off Wednesday afternoon,  the wind is going to kick up.


“Showers turn scattered during the afternoon and winds will become breezy, blowing 15 to 25 mph with 30 to 40 mph gusts,” said Argier.


The region will finally get a dry break on Thanksgiving but widespread rain picks up again on Friday.

The snow in the Cascades is allowing some ski resorts to open in time for the holiday weekend.  Stevens Pass opened Tuesday. Crystal Mountain and Mount Baker opened Wednesday.