Avalanche, heavy snow close I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass for hours

Feb 28, 2011

Updated 9: 21 p.m.

Avalanche danger, heavy snowfall and spun-out vehicles have kept Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass closed for hours as a winter storm buffets the Washington Cascades. Eastbound lanes reopened late this afternoon, and westbound lanes later Monday evening.

Transportation officials closed the pass late Monday morning due to eight inches of snow that had fallen since 6 a.m., plus poor visibility and spinouts.

Just before noon, a natural avalanche covered all three westbound lanes at Milepost 51 near Franklin Falls.

By late Monday afternoon, the disabled vehicles were cleared and avalanche control crews worked to make the pass safe enough to open. 

The closure extended more than 70 miles, from North Bend on the west side to Ellensburg on the east.

Snow continues to fall in the Cascades, and WSDOT's cameras along I-90 show the most current conditions. 

Late Monday compact snow and ice covered the freeway, and chains were required except for travelers with all wheel drive.