Three dead, several missing in Washington avalanche

Three people were killed and as many as eight others are missing after an avalanche near a Washington state ski resort, authorities say.

King County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindi West said the avalanche struck near the Stevens Pass ski area and that rescue crews were on the scene.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary said the snow came down at a road about 3km from the resort and about 16km from the town of Skykomish.

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center warned on Sunday of high avalanche danger above 1520m in the Stevens Pass area, with considerable danger at lower altitudes.

The center said heavy snowfall of 76-90cm in the area in recent days triggered the avalanches.

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