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Snow snarling afternoon commute

Snowfall that began in the Spokane area about 11 a.m. has begun causing numerous traffic problems on the region’s roadways.

Multiple crashes along Interstate 90 in the downtown area have been reported, including an injury accident at the Sprague off ramp and east Interstate 90 and several cars off the road in the Post Falls area.

Conditions are not expected to improve.

“It will be an interesting commute later,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

“We’ve had a couple of weeks of good driving, and I want to remind people they need to use caution,” Reagan said. “There’s a bumper sticker that says ‘Put down your cell phone and drive.’ That’s actually good advice.”

The arctic cold front that is accompanying the storm should arrive later tonight will send temperatures well below freezing.

A very cold air mass aloft combined has been combining with milder air near the ground today to trigger the snowfall as the arctic cold spreads southward.

The National Weather Service said the storm could bring accumulations in Spokane of 3 to 5 inches tonight and 1 to 3 inches on Thursday.

Winds are going to pick up tonight and switch from the southwest to northeast and then east. Gusts by Thursday could peak at 32 mph.

The wind chill feeling on the skin could approach minus-25 during overnight hours.

Also, blowing snow may become a problem in exposed areas.

Highs today are expected to approach freezing, but the arctic front will plunge temperatures into the lower teens tonight. Highs on Thursday will barely recover to about 18.

Then, the deeper cold settles over the region with a low early Friday of minus-4 and highs in the teens on Friday and Saturday.

The low early Saturday could be about minus-5 in Spokane.

Temperatures moderate on Sunday with highs rebounding from a low of 6 in the morning to 30 by afternoon.

A chance of snow returns on Monday.

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