March 30 Update: 12:01 a.m. April 11 is now time to remove the studded tires

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30: And, so that fickle Mother Nature went and threw us a curveball...Due to the threat of more severe winter weather forecast for the Cascade mountain range, Washington State Department of Transportation officials today extended the deadline to remove studded tires through April 10. Drivers must remove their studded tires by 12:01 a.m., Sunday April 11.

Travel over the mountain pass highways and in typically-snowy Eastern Washington sure has been odd this year. Now, the word “drought” seems to be popping up all over the news.

But first we have to get through the last few weeks of March and into April. April 1, 12:01 a.m. is the deadline to remove your studded tires. In Washington, studded tires are legal Nov. 1 - Mar. 31. You can receive a $124 fine for studded tire use after the deadline.

Studded tires damage the highway, and make it harder to stop on wet or dry pavement. In icy conditions, studded tires add some benefit.

Our forecasts don’t call for any large-scale snow or ice storms. (well, oops..that changed today) And next year, please talk to your local tire dealer about alternatives that offer that same ice benefit, are safer and don’t damage the highway.

If you are driving into the higher elevations, be prepared as El Nino may bring some typical late March and early April conditions. While good for the summer water supply, those of who have enjoyed some almost 70-degree days may be a little surprised to see snow in the mountains.

Some mountain snow is typical in March and April. Please remember, no one can guarantee bare and wet roads everywhere, all the time. Plan ahead, carry chains and drive for conditions.

On the WSDOT Winter Driving Web site, you can find answers to some questions we receive over and over (FAQ), ways to prepare for winter driving, winter driving tips, plus more about WSDOT’s winter roadway operations, snow and ice removal and avalanche control.