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Road to Paradise to open about noon; fresh snow at ski area; chains required for most on Snoqualmie Pass

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Feb. 18, 2012 at 8:28 am |
February 18, 2012 11:11 am

UPDATED AT 11:12 A.M.

Mount Rainier officials are now estimating the road from Longmire to Paradise will be open about noon. Crews are currently plowing the parking lots and road at Paradise.

The Paradise area has received 14 inches of snow since Friday afternoon.

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Plenty of new snow in the mountains is causing access issues in some places, but should make for a good day on the ski slopes.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until Sunday night. The forecast calls for at least of foot of snow in the mountain passes.

With the warning in place and with heavy snow already blanketing the Paradise area, there is a possibility the road to Paradise will not open today. That was the word this morning from officials at Mount Rainier National Park.

The area has received more than 11 inches of new snow since about 4 p.m. Friday, according to weather station data.

The update forecast calls for 16-24 inches of new snow through tonight.

If you had plans to head to the mountain, you might want to consider heading up Sunday.The forecast calls for just an inch of new snow Sunday.

At Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge Road is closed today because of blizzard conditions and large snow drifts, after 17 inches of snow fell overnight.

Meanwhile, ski areas are reporting lots of new snow as well. Crystal Mountain Resort got nine inches overnight at the summit. White Pass is reporting it received 7 inches overnight. The Summit at Snoqualmie has gotten 13 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours.

At Snoqualmie Pass, Washington State Department of Transportation is requiring chains on all vehicles except all wheel drive. Oversize vehicles are prohibited. There is compact snow, slush and ice on the roadway this morning.

Traction tires are required on White Pass.

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