The National Weather Service is predicting the first snowfall of the season this weekend in the mountain passes around the Northwest. Cold air arriving behind a frontal system could drop the snow level to around 3,000 feet in Washington and generally between 3,000 and 4,000 feet in the Oregon Cascades through early next week.
Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Meagan McFadden says the plow trucks are prepped.
"We actually have all of our crews ready. We switched into winter shift so that means we have crews ready to plow snow and put down de-icer 24 hours per day."
McFadden says highway crews do not anticipate a big dump of snow this weekend. The current forecast suggests just a few inches per day on the main cross-state mountain highways.
In the Inland Northwest, valley floors might see a rain-snow mix during cooler nighttime hours. But the weather service says the ground is still too warm for snow to stick below 3,000 feet.
Even though there are wet flakes in the mountain forecast, you're not allowed to put on studded tires just yet in Washington and Oregon. Studded tires become legal after Nov. 1, and there's no sign that deadline will be moved up this year. In Idaho, studded tires have been legal since the beginning of October.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network
On the Web:
Washington State DOT winter driving tips:
Oregon DOT winter driving information: