SEATTLE — If you’re hoping to find a winter wonderland at The Summit at Snoqualmie’s opening day or Leavenworth’s Christmas Lighting Festival, you won’t be disappointed this weekend.
Storms dumped fresh snow all over the Cascades on Thursday and Friday, giving Paradise on Mount Rainier 23 inches within a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service. By 5 a.m. Friday, 14 inches had fallen at Snoqualmie Pass and 21 inches at Stevens Pass within 24 hours.
“Snow plows can’t keep up with that,” said meteorologist Andy Haner in the Seattle National Weather Service office.
About 6 inches of more snow dropped on all three locations as of 5 p.m. Friday, with at least another 6 inches expected overnight.
White Pass Ski Area opened Friday morning with about 63 inches of snow reported at the summit and 93 percent of its terrain open to skiers.
Shifting weather conditions constantly changed tire requirements for drivers on Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass on Friday, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Drivers without four-wheel drive needed chains at some points, though in other places there were no requirements, said spokeswoman Summer Derrey.
“Drivers should be ready for everything this weekend,” Derrey said. She encouraged drivers to check conditions before traveling and to download WSDOT’s Mountain Passes cellphone app for live updates.
At 4 a.m. Friday, WSDOT put out an accidental alert that even four-wheel-drive vehicles would be required to put on chains at Snoqualmie Pass, but the weather never got that bad, Derrey said. The alert was later withdrawn.
Skiers were already flocking toward Stevens Pass on Friday, according to WSDOT. The State Patrol went after illegally parked cars along the highway that added to congestion along Highway 2, according to a news release.
Snow also fell Friday in the eastern third of the state, including Spokane. But a “rain shadow” kept the Columbia Basin, including Moses Lake, in the clear.
The snow should taper off for a drier weekend across Washington, Haner said Friday. Only 1 or 2 inches of snow is expected to fall in the mountains during the daytime today.
Snow is possible during the daytime Sunday and likely Sunday night, according to meteorologist Chris Burke of the National Weather Service.