The snow blanketing the region Thursday sent scores of motorists skidding out of control.
In North Idaho, two women escaped injury when their truck careened into Fernan Lake near Coeur d’Alene.
More than 150 traffic accidents were reported in the city of Spokane and surrounding roads and highways by late evening.
No serious injuries were reported.
More snow is in the forecast for Saturday. Today should be dry, with daytime temperatures in the mid-20s.
Jenifer Farley and her mother, Jean Rade, took an unexpected dip when their truck went off the road and sank into Fernan Lake Thursday afternoon.
The two Kootenai County women had to wait, perched on top of their swamped rig, for the fire department to rescue them.
“It really was petrifying,” Farley said as she and Rade warmed up, uninjured, in the back of a Kootenai County sheriff’s car.
Farley said she was rounding a curve when her truck started slipping on the ice. It hit the embankment, rolled and then crashed through the ice.
At first, the truck landed upside down. When they tried to open the doors, the truck abruptly rolled right-side up 14 feet from shore where they waited until a passing motorist summoned help.
The National Weather Service said Arctic air will continue to seep southward from Canada today. The arrival of the cold air Thursday triggered the snowfall because it cooled the mild and relatively moist air that settled over the region earlier in the week.
“It’s a real dramatic winter effect, but you don’t get any large (snowfall) accumulations with it,” said Irv Haynes, forecaster for the weather service in Spokane.
Only an inch of snow fell at the weather service office near Airway Heights. More snow fell in other areas. St. Maries in North Idaho had three inches on the ground Thursday.
Forecasters said the worst of the cold air is expected to remain east of the Rockies. Highs in the Inland Northwest will be in the mid-20s today and Saturday, and warming into the low 30s on Sunday and Monday. The low tonight will be in the teens.
Forecasters said there is a risk of freezing rain in the lowlands around Spokane on Sunday, but precipitation should fall as snow at mountain ski resorts.
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