Snow storm serves as warning for mountain pass drivers

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - One purpose of a warning is to help prevent mistakes, and snow falling in the mountain passes seems to be serving as that cautionary for drivers experiencing the first winter conditions of the year.

WSDOT snow plows cleared several inches of wet snow that piled up on the roads just off I-90, in and around Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort.

Though lift's are not yet open for the season, dozens of skiers and snowboarders hiked up the slopes to carve some turns.

"Yeah, it's wet snow, and there's rocks and stuff, but it's more than enough for some fun," said a snowboarder who did not want to share his name. When asked if he was taking the day off from work, he answered, "maybe."

Washington State Patrol responded to an accident this afternoon on I-90 Westbound at milepost 54, which is essentially the pass.

A report describes a 37-year-old driver who suffered minor injuries when he lost control of his Mustang and hit the jersey barrier. He was cited for driving too fast for conditions.

Conditions were generally good on I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass. Through most of the day Saturday, intermittent snow left mostly wet pavement with areas of slush.

Drivers were not chaining up. Some, however, were carefully planning what time they would travel.

"We were thinking there was probably going to be a lot of snow," says Rosemarie Martinez at a Snoqualmie Pass coffee shop. "So we drove safely and slowly over during the day, not night."

Martinez and her children were heading back to their home in Wenatchee after traveling to Seattle for a concert. She said their trip to Seattle reminded them it's time to switch into winter driving mode.

"Yesterday when we came over from Wenatchee we saw a couple of accidents right up here near the summit. So there were already accidents happening."

Troopers remind drivers to be prepared for Winter by checking the condition of a vehicle's tires and wiper blades. Have proper fitting chains and know how to put them on. Also keep basic supplies like food, water, flashlight and blanket in each vehicle.