GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. The National Weather Service has issued an Avalanche Warning for Mt. Hood and the west slopes of the Washington Cascades.

A small avalanche was already blocking traffic on Stevens Pass in Washington Wednesday. And, on Mt. Hood, skiers were warned to stay out of the back country.

That s because not snow, but rain, was falling steadily on the mountain Wednesday, weakening heavy snow layers below.

Kevin Mahe took the warning seriously, cutting his snowshoe trip short Wednesday because of the weather risks.

Cross country skier Robert Lipnosky also decided to play it safe, venturing only onto groomed trails.

In weather like this, you always want to be careful, let people know where you re going, he said. Usually it s better to ski with a partner and stuff, just in case you have any kind of injuries or anything like that.

The Mt. Hood Avalanche Warning is set to expire at 6 p.m. Wednesday. But the NWS warned that the dangers won t necessarily all vanish until after the rain stops.

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