Forecasts call for a snowstorm to hit the mountain passes just in time for Christmas holiday travel, and travelers should plan to pack tire chains and a winter kit alongside presents before hitting the road, state officials say.
The system is predicted to move into the mountains late Saturday and into Sunday. Heavy snow could fall in areas above 2,500 feet, which includes all of Washington's mountain pass highways.
To give travelers a break from construction delays, work at most road construction sites around the state will move off the highway by noon Friday. Drivers should be prepared for shifted lanes, detours and reduced-speed zones.
As of Wednesday night, the National Weather Service in Pendleton was predicting Christmas Eve in the Tri-Cities will be partly cloudy with a high of 36 and a low of 24 and zero percent chance of precipitation.
On Sunday, the forecast shows a 10 percent chance of precipitation with a high of 40 and low of 24.
A storm is expected to arrive in the Northwest on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a 50 percent chance of rain in the Tri-Cities on both days.