3 Dead, 8 Missing in Washington Avalanche

Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle struck by tragedy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2012 4:00 PM CST
An avalanche killed at least two people near a Washington state ski resort today.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Three people are dead and as many as eight missing after an avalanche today near a popular ski resort in Washington state, authorities said. The King County Sheriff's Office began receiving word about the slide near the Stevens Pass ski area just after noon, Sgt. Cindi West said. Stevens Pass is in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle. The deaths occurred in an out-of-bounds area near the resort, she said. Search and rescue crews and other emergency responders were at the scene.

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center today issued a warning for high avalanche danger for areas above 5,000 feet, saying warmer weather could loosen surface snow and trigger a slide on steeper slopes. The elevation of the avalanche wasn't immediately clear. It's been a deadly winter in Washington's mountains. Four people disappeared in vicious storms while hiking and climbing on Mount Rainier last month. Across the West, there has been 13 avalanche deaths this season as of Feb. 16. (Read more avalanche stories.)

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