It’s one for the record books.
Tuesday’s snow storm dumped 5.1 inches of snow at Spokane International Airport, making this the snowiest November on record, according to the National Weather Service. The month’s total asof 10 p.m. was 25.7 inches, which easily surpassed the record or of 24.7 inches set in 1955.
Inland Northwest drivers encountered fairly good road conditions during the daylight portion of Tuesday’s snow storm, but things got messy as darkness arrived.
One mid-afternoon slide out forced a temporary closure of Hatch Road hill south of 57th Avenue. Police stopped drivers until traction sand was applied and vehicles were moving again. On Highway 291, near Suncrest, drivers were stopped at the bottom of the Big Sandy hill and allowed to proceed one at a time.
An accident blocked one lane of eastbound Interstate 90 at the Pines Road exit about 3:30 p.m.
Temperatures rose to freezing or just below it during daylight hours, and most arterial travel lanes were wet with slush and some ice.
The rate of snowfall in the Spokane area started to pick up about 1:30 p.m., but roads stayed initially clear in the downtown area and on I-90.
About 3 p.m., I-90 at the Sunset Hill and U.S. 2 interchange slowed down and traffic became congested.
Some rural school districts, including Colville, Freeman, Mary Walker, Sprague Lamont, Ritzville, Colton, and Colfax announced delayed starts for today.
National Weather Service forecasters said they expect snow today through 10 a.m. with a high of 35 in the downtown area.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, a total of 2.8 inches had fallen at Spokane International Airport, making November nearly the snowiest on record with 23.4 inches of snow for the month. The record of 24.7 inches in 1955 was expected to be broken through the evening.
“We’re going to break the record, we just don’t know by how much,” said Michael Fries, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Fries said an observer at the airport made an unofficial report that an another two inches – enough to break the 1955 record – had fallen since 4 p.m., but the official measurement won’t be taken until about 10 p.m.
Snow will persist until afternoon at elevations above downtown Spokane as well as the Liberty Lake and Post Falls areas.
There is a slight chance of rain and snow showers after that.
Coeur d’Alene should see all snow and a high of 36.
At Snoqualmie Pass, the state required chains or all-wheel drive on all vehicles, and oversized vehicles were prohibited.
State highways 194 from Almota to Colfax; 272 from Colfax to Palouse and the Idaho state line; and 23 from Whitman to Lincoln counties were all closed Tuesday afternoon from blowing and drifting snow.
Snow is likely again on Thursday with accumulations of 1 to 3 inches possible in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas and greater accumulations in the central Panhandle and Palouse areas.
In Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, the parade of storms should ease off on Friday through the weekend, although chances for snow showers remain in the forecast.
Saturday’s Apple Cup in Pullman has a 20 percent chance of snow showers and a high near 25.
Snowfall chances go up again on Monday night and Tuesday.
Highs go from the middle 30s on Thursday to lower 30s on Friday to middle 20s on Sunday. Lows go from the upper 20s to teens over the weekend.
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