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Heavy mountain snow brings frowns to drivers, smiles to skiers

Heavy snow continues to fall in the Cascades including Snoqualmie Pass, where Summit West ski area will open Saturday. (WSDOT image)

The heavy snow that blanketed the Cascades over the past day was bad news for drivers but great news for local ski areas, especially the Summit at Snoqualmie, which finally has enough to fire up the lifts at Summit West Saturday.

Check local ski resort cameras

KING 5 meteorologist Rich Marriott says at least a foot of snow fell in all the major mountain passes between Thursday and Friday morning alone. He’s predicting another 10-16 inches of snow in the Cascades between now and Saturday morning.

The latest storm could bring wet snow as low as 500 feet in some areas of Western Washington, but isn’t expected to stick around or cause many problems, Marriott says.

Check your latest weather forecast

The National Weather Service says a winter storm warning remains in effect for the west slopes of the Cascades and passes until 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

The heavy snow has caused a number of problems on the passes. The DOT was forced to close eastbound I-90 for a time Thursday because of numerous spin outs caused by treacherous conditions.

Check the latest conditions on the mountain pass cameras

While Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain ski resorts have been open for several weeks, the Summit at Snoqualmie has been waiting for a big dump. Marketing Director Guy Lawrence says the base at Summit West now totals at least 32 inches, enough to get going Saturday.

“That basically doubled from the morning before. That kind of shows you how much snow we had yesterday (Thursday) and snow is continuing to fall right now, so I guess how much we get is anyone’s guess,” he says.

Heavier snow fell at some of the higher ski areas, including Stevens Pass and Mount Baker, which both got 21 inches during the 24 hour period ending Friday.

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