DOT & drivers gear up for snow along White Pass

WHITE PASS, Wash. -- Conditions for White Pass are getting dicey. KIMA learned Washington State Department of Transportation is amping up snow patrols to keep the roads safe as you travel for Christmas.

A blanket of white covers the pass creating dangerous roads for travelers during the holidays.

"We thought it was just wet and then we realized that it was icy as we watched cars go off the side," said traveler Kristin Maki.

Nearly five inches of snowfall on Friday had drivers sliding on the roads over White Pass.

"It was pretty slippery," said Michael Littlefield. "I was going slow and tried to turn and make a corner but, it didn't make it. It just went straight right into a guardrail."

In some areas, snow sits 10 inches high. Now, DOT has increased their man power from eight workers to a minimum of 12 maintaining the roads around the clock. Roads were pre-treated with de-icer earlier in the week.

Now, salt will be laid down when needed. A total of 16 snow plows are ready to go in case the snow begins to stick. But, it's not the snow drivers are concerned about.

"Black ice, that's the getter," said Bryan Frank.

Bryan Frank manages a local tire store. He told KIMA his sales increased in December as neighbors geared up for the winter season.

It's our busiest time of year with snow tires and with people buying new tires in general," said Frank.

"The worst time to be out on the roads is when it's wet, slushy and snowy," said Maki. "It's when you're not prepared for it."

More snow is expected to come, up to five inches a day until Christmas. Drivers are preparing now, so the snow wont put a dent in holiday plans.

DOT recommends that drivers keep chains in their car while traveling the pass.