SEATTLE — The latest storm to hit the Pacific Northwest brought flood warnings, the shutdown of a major mountain pass, school closures and icy roads Thursday.
Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state’s Cascade mountains was closed Thursday due to high avalanche danger, zero visibility, and blowing, drifting snow. Stevens Pass on U.S. 2 was also closed due to heavy snow. Snow and ice closed Blewett Pass on U.S. 97.
Heavy rain and snowmelt brought flooding concerns in western Washington and Oregon as the latest atmospheric river moved into the region. Flood advisories were in place Thursday and a flood watch extended through Friday.
After days of rain and snow, a debris slide briefly closed the Historic Columbia River Highway, U.S. 30, in Oregon early Thursday between Vista House and Larch Mountain Road, the Weather Service said. Crews were able to get the road open before sunrise.
A Thursday morning slide between mileposts 36 and 37 forced the closure of Interstate 84 in both directions between exit 17 in Troutdale, Oregon, and exit 62 in Hood River, Oregon.
In Eastern Oregon, OR 334 was closed Thursday by heavily drifting snow.
Snow at higher elevations was expected to turn to rain as the day progresses, adding to flooding concerns.
In Central Washington, the National Weather Service said Yakima could get 6 to 8 inches of snow through 4 p.m. Friday, Ellensburg may see up to a foot.
Steve Bodnar, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Spokane, said Wenatchee could receive 20 inches of snow Thursday, with nearby Leavenworth receiving 22.5 inches,
At least 4 inches of snow fell early Thursday in Spokane, and the snow was expected to turn to freezing rain by Thursday afternoon, the Weather Service said.
Numerous school districts in Spokane County canceled classes Thursday, while others delayed the start of classes.
The heavy snow made it hazardous to drive, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Ryan Senger in Spokane.
“If you don’t have to go to work or you don’t have to be out on the roads, try not to be,” Senger said.
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