WHATCOM — Due to avalanche risk, the Mt. Baker Highway will be closed early Thursday, Jan. 23, at milepost 37 about three miles east of Glacier, the Washington State Department of Transportation has announced.
  
The forecast of warming temperatures and intense rain following heavy snow is expected to create an avalanche risk along the State Route 542 highway, the agency said in a travel advisory Wednesday afternoon.
  
The closure was set to be effective at 4 a.m. Thursday, or earlier if conditions warrant. 
  
The highway to the Mt. Baker Ski Area will remain closed until the risk subsides, which is expected to be at least 24 hours.
  
Travelers can get real-time updates on this safety closure by following WSDOT_North on Twitter or subscribing to Mount Baker Highway email updates. Also, get Washington State Travel Alerts on the WSDOT website at www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts.
  
People choosing to travel mountain highways like SR 542 during the winter can prepare by visiting the National Weather Service and Northwest Avalanche Center websites.