The issuing of a rare Blizzard Warning for the Cascade Mountains has crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) scrambling to get ready.

The National Weather Service Office in Spokane is forecasting up to four feet of snow combined with gusty winds as high as 60 mph from 4 a.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 9) until 10 a.m. on Wednesday for most of the state's major mountain highways, including Snoqualmie, Stevens, and White Passes.

DOT spokesperson, Lauren Loebsack, says the agency's plows will be out in full force throughout the expected storm, but the forecasted conditions could make it very difficult for them to keep up.

"When we see forecasts for the potential of snowfall that's more than an inch per hour, that starts getting into a level of snow which becomes a challenge to keep pace with. We can clear the snow but then it's just falling so fast that it piles up right behind us."

The DOT is especially concerned about the potential for motorist collisions with its snowplows - something Loebsack says has already occurred several times this winter.

"Not only do such incidents put the driver and our snowplow drivers at risk, but it also takes that plow off the road for a while. So, we really want people to be cognizant of our plows when they encounter them on the roadway. Stay alert for our crews and be sure and give them the space they need to do their jobs when they're out there clearing the roads."

In addition to the potential for heavy snow on the roadways, Loebsack says any blizzard conditions always elevate the risk for avalanches.

To mitigate the hazard on Stevens Pass, the DOT is scheduled to perform avalanche control detail ahead of the storm at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, which is expected to close U.S. Highway 2 for up to two hours.

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