Traffic moving, but barely
Traffic was moving across the Inland Northwest this morning as commuters snaked their way to destinations on icy, treacherous roads.
Accidents were occurring across the region, but traffic cameras showed that most major routes were opened and moving, although vehicles were proceeding slowly.
Compact snow and ice was reported on area highways. Snow, slush and ice were reported on Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90. Snow also was visible on Fourth of July and Lookout passes in North Idaho.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office received reports of more than 40 vehicle accidents from midnight to noon today.
The Monroe Street hill south of Fifth Avenue was closed for a short time around 8 a.m. due to slippery conditions.
A collision on Interstate 90 east of Coeur d’Alene this morning blocked the right travel lane on the westbound side. A tractor and trailer moving too fast for conditions flipped on its side about 5:45 a.m.
No major bottlenecks were reported in the region this morning.
A rollover was reported on U.S. Highway 395 near North Dragoon Road about 11 a.m. A vehicle rolled down an embankment there.
In Spokane, street crews had completed plowing on hill routes this morning and were moving onto other arterial streets for plowing and deicing. An easing of the snowfall at mid-morning was allowing crews to catch up on snow that has already accumulated.
At 8 a.m., an accident involving three vehicles was reported at Five Mile and Waikiki roads and another two crashes were on Rutter Parkway. Five Mile Road was being blocked to keep traffic from getting caught in the area of the accident.
Spokane police reported that they responded to 45 accidents in the city alone on Sunday.
In a news release Sunday night, Spokane police said, “Most all of these accidents were due to citizens driving too fast for the conditions and/or not allowing enough distance to stop. Even driving at the speed limit can be too fast with snow and ice on the roads. Citizens are urged to allow themselves extra time in their travel plans due to the extremely slick nature of the roads.”
Law officers are asking motorists to slow down and be cautious when approaching stop lights and intersections.
Also, make sure your vehicle is equipped for winter. Having an emergency supply of clothing, food and water is a good idea, along with carrying a shovel and tire chains or cables.
On Sunday, a head-on crash shortly after 9 a.m. between a car and semitruck closed down the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 at Argonne for about an hour, the Washington State Patrol said. Several other collisions slowed and stopped traffic all over the freeway in the area, from the Broadway exit to Medical Lake, the WSP said.
A 17-year-old girl from Post Falls was hospitalized with injuries she received after she spun out on Interstate 90, slid down an embankment and crashed through a cyclone fence on Indiana Avenue between Evergreen and Pines, the WSP said.
Washington State Department of Transportation officials said they were prepared for dangerous travel statewide, from the Puget Sound, where snow was forecast, to southeastern Washington, where heavy snowfall was expected.
Snow fell overnight and this morning in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, slowing traffic in that region.
Accumulations of 2 to 3 inches were expected from Olympia southward. A winter storm warning was in effect for the Puget Sound region.
A winter weather advisory was also in effect for the Portland and Vancouver regions along with portions of the Columbia River Gorge.