Sunny skies: holiday weekend travel forecast

Good news for holiday travelers this weekend: Snoqualmie and Stevens passes should be relatively clear over the weekend.

Allen Kam, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said the central Cascades could see a slight chance of snow showers on Friday, but by Saturday and Sunday they should be sunny.

“We’re looking for sunny, dry weather,” he said.

The sunny conditions over the passes could continue through Christmas.

In Puget Sound lowlands, there is a chance of rain or snow in some areas on Friday that could make for slippery conditions.

A high pressure system will be diverting most weather systems from moving into the lowlands later this week.

It is predicted to be cold in the lowlands, with highs in the mid-30s on Saturday and Sunday.

On the pass, the temperature will likely be below freezing through the whole weekend.

Heavy snow fell on the Cascades earlier this week, with more than a foot of snow projected to accumulate by Tuesday.

Multiple crashes closed eastbound lanes of I-90 on Tuesday morning.

Even though it is unlikely to snow over the holiday weekend, Kam said it’s always a good idea to travel prepared.

“You never know what will happen, it may not be snowing, but the snow will be deep on the sides of the roads,” he said.

The Washington State Department of Transportation lists advice for drivers on its website.

These include driving for the conditions, namely driving slower, bringing traction tires or chains, avoiding cruise control and leaving extra room between vehicles for stopping room.

Other recommendations include doing a winter maintenance checkup on a vehicle’s battery, belts, hoses and other equipment.

Carrying a basic survival kit is also recommended. This should include a flashlight and batteries, blanket, food, water and winter clothing like boots, gloves and a first aid kit.

If travellers find themselves stranded, the Department of Transportation advises staying in the car with flashers on before calling and waiting for help.

Passes generally close several times a year during the winter season due to disabled and crashed vehicles, avalanche control efforts and road plowing.

Over the last two winters, Snoqualmie Pass was close more than 100 times each year, according to the state Department of Transportation website.

As of earlier this week, there had been more than 110 inches of snow to date this year on the pass.

Over the last five years, 2014-2015 saw the least amount of snowfall, with only 104 inches falling all season.

The snow should be a good omen for skiers and snowboarders, as all six areas of the Summit at Snoqualmie are set to open by next week.

According to the Summit’s website, five areas should be open by Saturday, with only the Summit East staying closed until next Tuesday.

However, the website also cautioned that early season conditions are still in effect and advises people to watch for marked and unmarked hazards, especially near the end of the Silver Fir area, according to the Summit website.

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