Snow closes Chinook Pass for the season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Snow closes Chinook Pass for the season

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CHINOOK PASS--The Washington State Department of Transportation has closed Chinook and Cayuse Passes for the season due to heavy snow and a high avalanche risk.

DOT crews closed Chinook Pass just after 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7.  That closure was hoped to be temporary, but the next morning avalanche forecasters decided the threat of avalanches was too dangerous to allow travel.

DOT representative Meagan McFadden said Chinook Pass has received more than three feet of snow.  More snow is forecasted to fall on the slopes above the pass.

Chinook Pass is closed from the gates of Morse Creek (five miles east of the summit) and at Crystal Mountain Boulevard (eight miles northwest of the summit).

Access to the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort from SR 410 remains open.

Chinook Pass typically closes around November 20, but McFadden says it is not unheard of to close this early.

It remains to be seen what effect the closure has on conditions in the Nile Valley.  McFadden said Saturday that construction on a road around October's landslide was not impacted by snowy conditions.

Crews remain confident the road will be completed by Thanksgiving, before the Naches River floods out the Nile Loop Road.  With Chinook Pass closed, that road is now the only way to access the Nile Valley.

DOT also shut down State Route 123 (Cayuse Pass) for the season.

For information on these and other mountain passes visit:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/.

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