Heavy snow at Snoqualmie Pass offers possible benefits for fire season

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I-90 was closed on both sides for hours Saturday due to multiple collisions, but experts say heavy snowfall could help during the dry season

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. – 14 inches of fresh snow fell on Snoqualmie Pass Saturday evening, marking the 9th snowiest winter in 20 years. It also caused more traffic problems on Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass.

It was clear on Sunday heading for Seattle at Snoqualmie Pass. As the road continued, a wintry mix in North Bend quickly turned to snow and traffic jam near the top.

“I’m going at least 10 miles per hour slower, we saw a few platforms, one passed me, it looked like it spun and came into the road” , said Larry Huffman who was driving over the pass.

On Saturday, both sides of I-90 were closed for several hours due to multiple collisions. On Sunday, KING 5 crews saw more of the same, with state troopers responding to a handful of vehicles swerving off the road.

WSDOT’s Snoqualmie Pass Twitter account tweeted Sunday morning that the pass had 14 inches of fresh snow overnight, moving it to 9th place for snowiest winters in two decades. Experts said the historic amount of snow received in western Washington could pose a hazard to drivers, but could make a difference during fire season.

“That could hopefully help build the snowpack, so we have more of those reserves as we approach our dry season,” said University of Washington assistant climatologist Karin Bumbaco.

Bumbaco said the snowfall this late in the year was not unusual. She said snow accumulation typically peaks across the state in early April and there are several years where heavy snowfall continues in the mountains throughout the month.

State troopers want to remind drivers to slow down on the roads and leave enough space between vehicles, and of course to follow all driving restrictions along the pass.

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