On the Saturday before Christmas, Tim, Chelsea, Tyla and I made our annual trip to the Bavarian tourist trap of Leavenworth on the other side of the mountains. There was a lot of snow which made the Christmas lights of the town even more beautiful. We perused some shops, bought bacon themed Christmas village pieces, and ate dinner at Gustav’s.
Around 8:15 we hopped in the car for the trip back across Stevens Pass. As soon as we got to the end of town, we saw a police car blocking the road. A quick check on our phones indicated that the pass was going to be closed all night. Surprise! That meant that instead of a ~1.5 hour drive home, we’d have to take the long way down to Snoqualmie Pass. It took us about 3.5 hours to get home, but a trip like that goes quickly in the company of good friends.
But what closed the pass? On Friday night, two people were killed on Stevens Pass when a tree fell on their car. A lot of heavy, wet snow fell over a relatively short period of time and created a lot of stress on trees. On Saturday night while we were in Leavenworth, it happened again. This time, nobody died but four people ended up in the hospital. WSDOT ended up closing the road for three days while they investigated the incidents and figured out how to make the roadway safe. It must have been an incredible challenge to look at thousands of trees along tens of miles of road to try and guess which ones might fall down.
The road is now open and the 3500 residents of that stretch of road are finally free to leave their homes. Cliff Mass has also posted a theory about why this is one of the worst Decembers for fallen trees that we’ve ever seen.