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Winter Storm

On Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008, much of the Inland Northwest awoke to a heavy coating of snow. Which kept falling. And falling. Spokane ended up with 23.3 inches over 34 hours ending at 4 p.m. Thursday. Coeur d’Alene had 25 inches by Thursday morning. Dozens of roofs collapsed. Stores sold out of roof rakes and snow shovels. Schools and offices closed down for multiple days. Additional snowfall would make December the snowiest on record with 61.5 inches. By the end of the winter, 93.6 inches had fallen at the airport, besting 1949-50 as the snowiest winter on the books. With the 92.6 inches that fell in the winter of 2007-08, Spokane also set a snow record for back-to-back years.

Avista customers shocked by big bills

A lot of people got a shock in the mail over the past couple of days: a whopping power bill. January’s bills are typically among the year’s highest, and this year’s came loaded with the effects of four weeks of harsh winter, a longer-than-average billing period, and rate increases for Washington customers.

Spokane Schools to make up all five snow days

Students in the Spokane Public Schools will have to make up all five snow days they got off during the record-breaking December storms, the school board has decided. Other school districts across the Inland Northwest still are deciding how to make up the lost days, if at all.

Season’s snowfall on record pace

It’s another impressive season for snow totals at Spokane International Airport. As of early Tuesday morning, 80.3 inches of snow has fallen, almost double the seasonal normal. The average snowfall between now and the end of April is about a foot. It’s quite possible that we may challenge the all-time record of 93.5 inches set back in 1915-16. Last year, we were close to that all-time amount with 92.6 inches.

Snow deterred customers

Spokane went from winter wonderland to wet dog smell in just a few days. The big snowstorms left behind miles and miles of crusty berms and piles of ashen snow. Sidewalks and parking lots turned to skating rinks, covered in standing water, and errands that used to take a half hour, took all morning.

Storms wrought chaos, complaints and some successes

It’s already been the toughest winter in Spokane in a generation. Schools and government offices closed. Businesses shut down during their busiest season. Buses were pulled from streets. Drivers had to depend on chains to traverse even main routes. Pedestrians – and schoolchildren – were forced to walk in traffic lanes because sidewalks were impassable. Roofs collapsed. Even garbage and mail service were delayed.

Plans to make up snow days in works

For the second consecutive winter, Inland Northwest schools must decide how – and whether – to make up the days that were missed because of snow. Most districts canceled school both before and after winter break, as the region was hammered by one storm after another. Now, the question is whether that means shorter vacations, the loss of some three-day weekends, lengthened school days – or perhaps no change at all.

Lots of snow, but just average Wash. snowpack

You might think that the record-breaking snowfall so far this winter in Washington state would ensure there will be plenty of water to avoid drought when it melts this spring and summer. You would be wrong.


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