The Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the seasonal closure of the North Cascades Highway.

The 37-mile stretch of State Route 20 between the Ross Dam Trailhead (milepost 134) and Silver Star (milepost 171) will close tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 30) at 6 p.m.

DOT spokesperson Lauren Loebsack says the current forecast for heavy snow followed by wet weather has prompted the annual shutdown.

"It looks like we're looking at up to twenty inches of snow up there to end the week followed by a rain/snow mix, and that's the type of conditions that really pose an avalanche risk over both passes."

Both Rainy and Washington Passes are a part of the closure zone.

Recreationists will still be able to access areas beyond the closure points but are being reminded not to park in the roadway near the closure gates, since the DOT still uses those spaces as turnaround points for their maintenance vehicles.

Thursday's scheduled closure date is the second latest in the last decade and is tied for 17th latest in the highway's 51-year history.

The road will reopen next spring.

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