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Additional snow brings plows out

Mayor Verner declares stage 2 emergency

City crews spent Saturday clearing Spokane streets of snow, while some residents scurried to buy snow gear and others simply enjoyed building snowmen and sledding.

The city of Spokane declared a Stage 2 Snow Emergency early Saturday morning after the region was hit with snow showers that lasted well into Saturday evening and added to a week’s worth of accumulation.

The snow emergency means city crews will work around the clock until they completely plow the city, including all residential areas. The stage 2 emergency required that residents park their cars on the even side of streets by 8:30 p.m. Saturday in residential areas. Parking is also restricted downtown between 2 and 6 a.m. during emergency operations, and no parked cars are allowed on arterials or bus routes.

Restricting parking allows plow drivers to clear more snow and reduce the amount of snow on sidewalks and at the end of driveways, according to a city news release. The residential parking restriction is no longer in effect in the areas that have been plowed.

“A Stage 2 Snow Emergency requires the city and citizens to work together to keep people and commerce moving,” Mayor Mary Verner said in a prepared statement. “New parking restrictions in the neighborhoods will help the plow drivers do their work far more efficiently.”

It’s no surprise snowblowers sold out at several Spokane hardware stores over the weekend as residents struggled with all the snow.

“As fast as we can get them on the shelf, it’s flying right out the door,” said Ron Ungari, a department manager at the General Store.

The store’s parking lot was crammed with cars as people stocked up on winter survival gear. And not just snowblowers – boots, gloves, sandbags, tire chains, shovels and snow melt.

“All snow-related items,” he said.

In the 24 hours ending at 4 p.m. Saturday, 4.2 inches of snow fell at Spokane International Airport, according to the National Weather Service, bringing the accumulation since Nov. 21 to 17.9 inches.

Not everyone is letting the snow slow them down. Quincy McKinnon, 6, of Spokane, is embracing the wintry weather.

“It’s good,” he said. “It’s very fun to sled in.”

McKinnon and his younger cousin, Abram McKinnon, of Spokane, bundled up Saturday evening and tested different parks trying to find the best sledding spot.

Abram said the snow was “cool,” though the pun probably wasn’t intended.

Not everyone can travel by sled, though.

The Washington State Patrol was busy Saturday evening responding to several collisions that resulted from poor road conditions, according to a WSP dispatcher.

Roads had become slushy and sloppy during the day but iced up in the evening as temperatures dropped.

“They’re very poor right now,” the dispatcher said. “The troopers are reporting that the roads are icing over again.”

Driving conditions should improve greatly today thanks to a break between snowstorms, according to the National Weather Service. But the break will likely be short.

More wintry weather is likely Monday night and into Tuesday as another moist storm collides with cold air over Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

Monday’s high in Spokane is expected to hit 27 degrees, with a nighttime low around 23 and a 30 percent chance of snow.

Tuesday’s forecast shows a 100 percent chance of snow, with a high near 30 degrees and a low around 28. Three to 7 inches of snow is expected in the area Tuesday.