A Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) avalanche team and Twisp maintenance crew members from Twisp traveled up the North Cascades Highway by snowmobile on Feb. 16 to assess snow conditions and make repairs to the Washington Pass weather station, which is again working (www.nwac.us/weatherdata/washingtonpass/now).
WSDOT is observing conditions on the highway to determine when crews might begin clearing the route of snow.
“If weather behaves, the clearing may begin in late March, which is about normal,” WSDOT’s North Central Region administrator Dan Sarles said in his weekly update. “Snow volumes suggest a normal reopening of about six weeks. Reopening could be sometime between the opening of the lowland lakes fishing season and ’49er Days.”
Last year, the snow-clearing work started early on March 16 and the reopening was on April 3.
Last year at the same time, Sarles said, the snow was 5 feet deep at Washington Pass compared to 9.5 feet this year.