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The mountain passes will be hit hard Friday with a mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet on what the Washington State Department of Transportation says is one of the busiest days for travel.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect Friday for the threat of up to a half inch of ice accumulation at Snoqualmie Pass along with occasional snow, with more snow than ice at Stevens Pass.
One to 2 feet of snow are expected in the North Cascades.
Treacherous conditions are expected for pass travel through at least Saturday morning.
There’s already compact snow and ice on both directions of I-90 as drivers return from Christmas vacation or head out for the long New Year’s weekend.
With snow already on I-90, the Washington State Patrol is concerned there could already be several layers of ice underneath and on top of it with more to come. Freezing rain could also weigh down trees and topple them onto the road, forcing closures.
Traction tires are advised on Snoqualmie Pass. State troopers are warning drivers without them to put on chains.
Trooper John Bryant says drivers pushing the limits might push themselves off the road as they make their way over Snoqualmie Pass the next few days.
“Anytime you hear of freezing rain, freezing precipitation, it is a concern. DOT does a great job with the trucks and the sand and whatever products they put down on the road, and they’ll plow off the snow, but that ice … ,” said Bryant.
Though de-icing agent is put down on the highway, it could be washed away with all the rain.
Drivers should allow extra time for pass travel.