State starts issuing pass reports

A light dusting of snow coats trees at Washington Pass in October 2017.

Photo by Dee Camp
A light dusting of snow coats trees at Washington Pass in October 2017.

OLYMPIA - The state Department of Transportation has started issuing winter condition reports for mountain passes throughout the state.

As of late Monday morning, Nov. 5, the North Cascades Highway remained open with the roadway bare and wet with slush and ice in places, no tire restrictions and 33 degrees at Rainy Pass. Snow flurries were falling.

The agency urged travelers to prepare themselves and their vehicles for winter travel by checking road conditions before they leave for a trip.

“Our crews are ready for winter and work hard to keep roads clear of snow and ice,” said agency Maintenance Operations Manager James Morin. “But we also need the public’s help in being prepared for winter weather. Most of the pass closures we see are due to spin-outs or crashes from a vehicle traveling too fast or not having proper winter driving equipment.

Tips from the agency include:

-Downloading the department’s mobile app for road conditions at, select Newsroom and “Start preparing for winter driving before snow and ice arrive.”

-Signing up for email or text updates about road conditions.

-Downloading, printing and carrying the state winter driving guide.

-Getting vehicles ready and planning extra time to cross mountain passes.

-Carrying chains and knowing current traction and chain requirements for mountain passes. Conditions are posted on highway advisory signs, special radio frequencies or by calling 511.

-Presetting the radio for 530 AM and 1610 AM for traffic information.

Studded tires are legal as of Nov. 1. Information about chain and stud alternatives also is on the department’s website.


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