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More snow to come; county keeps plowing

It’s not over yet.

An additional 3 to 5 inches of snow is expected in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene by Wednesday morning.

Light snow could fall late in the day today, with heavy snow starting Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported. A winter storm watch has been issued for Spokane, Whitman, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties, portions of Lincoln and Okanogan counties and most of North Idaho.

Although most streets were clear or at least passable on Sunday, crews continued to work to unbury roads from last week’s snowstorms.

Spokane County was focused on unclogging routes covered by snow drifts. The biggest efforts remain in southern and western Spokane County, said county spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter. On Sunday, the Washington Air National Guard spent its second day using industrial snowblowers to clear roads with drifts as high as eight feet. The county requested the help on Friday.

The city of Spokane went back to normal staffing of plows at 1 p.m. Sunday, said Mark Earley, Mayor Mary Verner’s chief of staff. The city had been on a 24-hour plow schedule for more than a week and pulled employees from the sewer and water departments. Companies hired to provide and operate six graders have finished their work, Earley said.

City street department crews will continue to plow problem areas but also will focus on filling potholes, Earley said.

After Wednesday, a thaw is expected.

By the end of the week, temperatures in the Spokane area are expected to reach the 40s. Even with 20 inches or more of snow on the ground, that shouldn’t cause too much of a flooding problem, said Rocco Pelatti, a National Weather Service forecaster in Spokane. That’s because the air is predicted to cool below freezing at night

Pelatti called it “a slow, gradual melt.”

“It is something we are watching because there is a significant amount of snow,” he said.

Wheatley-Billeter asked people in residential areas to check storm drains and uncover them to prevent flooding.

“If you have neighbors you know can’t do it, get out there and help them,” she said.