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Wintry mess of snow and freezing rain slams mountain passes

The passes were a mess of freezing rain and snow Thursday night. Some cars and tractor trailers had trouble getting through Snoqualmie Pass. (Photo: KOMO News)

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - The mountain passes were a mess of freezing rain and snow Thursday night. Some cars and tractor trailers had trouble getting through Snoqualmie Pass.

As of 11 p.m. the Washington Department of Transportation said drivers were required to have chains in both eastbound and westbound directions, and the State Patrol is out enforcing those rules.

RELATED | Check Mountain Pass Conditions

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the North and Central Cascades until 6 a.m. Friday for areas above 2,000 feet, when it then upgrades to a Winter Storm Warning through 10 p.m. Friday for areas above 3,000 feet.

Before drivers heard the crunching sound of ice under their tires, WSDOT required them to pull over and yank out their tire chains for the trek through Snoqualmie Pass.

KOMO News saw several vehicles stuck, including a tractor trailer without chains stalled out on the side on of the snowy highway.

Troopers said if a driver without all-wheel drive doesn't have chains, they could get a ticket or be forced to turn around.

Families traveling for the holiday weekend say it's not worth it to take the chance.

"We debated on coming up. We got all the way up here and we had our snow tires, we had our chains,” said driver Josh May. "Throw the chains on, otherwise we are all going to be stuck, there’s going to be big problems, major accidents and we don't want any of that, especially over the holidays so we just have to do our part to stay safe."

Troopers said travelers should give themselves extra time because delays were already over 30 minutes and they also just want people to be safe.

Stevens Pass didn’t look much better.

Compact snow and ice was covering U.S. 2 and the highway was scheduled to close for avalanche control work. The closure will start around 4 a.m. and should last about two hours.

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