Snow, arctic cold and wind are expected today for the Inland Northwest, already closing schools or delaying start times. Spokane Public Schools will be closed today.
A winter storm warning remains in effect until 4 p.m. for Spokane and Coeur d’Alene as an additional 1 to 3 inches of snow is forecast along with temperatures in the teens, according to the National Weather Service. With wind gusts up to 32 mph, officials also warn of blowing snow throughout the area.
Temperatures are expected to fall to 4 below zero tonight.
Today’s storm comes after several inches of snow dumped in the area Wednesday, wreaking havoc on roadways and reminding people that winter is not over.
Some areas around Spokane had up to 4 inches of snow by 4 p.m. while other areas to the north, near Diamond Lake, reportedly had as much as 8 inches, weather officials said. Coeur d’Alene received about the same snowfall as Spokane.
The accumulations varied around the region because there were “bands of intense snow floating through the area (in clouds), and wherever they decided to set up is where they got a lot of snow,” said Mark Turner, a weather service spokesman.
The first storm hit about 11 a.m. Wednesday and continued through the afternoon.
About 2 p.m., a stream of collisions started along Interstate 90.
The worst was a multiple-vehicle collision in the eastbound lanes of I-90 at Division Street about 2:30 p.m. It blocked traffic for nearly two hours, backing up traffic for about three miles. Traffic was moving again as of 4:15 p.m. In Post Falls, an accident on westbound I-90 where it meets Highway 41 snarled traffic, causing long delays.
“We’ve had a couple of weeks of good driving, and I want to remind people they need to use caution,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. “There’s a bumper sticker that says, ‘Put down your cell phone and drive.’ That’s actually good advice.”
Highs today will be about 18, according to weather officials. 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 are expected to be 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.