Idaho


Snow, rain keep falling; disaster in N. Idaho

UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2012, 10:37 A.M.

Gene Rayman, of Manito Automotive Technicians, brushes of a layer of snow from a parking lot full of cars, April 4, 2012 in Spokane.  After 60 degree temperatures on Tuesday, snow blanketed many parts of the area on Wednesday.  "I have to clean them off before I can work on them," said Rayman. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gene Rayman, of Manito Automotive Technicians, brushes of a layer of snow from a parking lot full of cars, April 4, 2012 in Spokane. After 60 degree temperatures on Tuesday, snow blanketed many parts of the area on Wednesday. "I have to clean them off before I can work on them," said Rayman. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

As another snow storm covered mainly grassy surfaces around Spokane and Coeur d’Alene this morning, emergency managers in North Idaho were trying to figure out how they are going to repair a series of road washouts caused by record March rainfall combined with lower-elevation snow melt.

Some snow was sticking to pavement at higher elevations around Spokane.

The National Weather Service has dropped a winter weather advisory after snowfall today did not accumulate on roadways, and is expected to taper off by mid-afternoon.

An accumulation of 1 to 4 inches was expected today above 2,000 feet in elevation, which is on the north and south hills of Spokane and Valley areas east of Argonne Road. Traffic cameras across the region showed that the snow stuck mainly to grass and trees. Additional snow was forecast at elevations of 2,500 feet and above, forecasters said.

Spokane International Airport had 0.8 inches of snow by mid-afternoon, well short of the record of 2.3 inches of snow for April 4.

In Bonner County, county commissioners on Tuesday formally declared a disaster because of road washouts, and the Idaho governor followed suit by approving the disaster declaration, said Bob Howard, emergency director for the county.

Shoshone and Idaho counties have also declared disasters.

Nearly $700,000 in road damage was caused in Bonner County since last week, but no residents are stranded, Howard said, explaining that emergency repairs are being made where warranted.

“Our primary goal is life safety,” he said.

The most recent washouts are on Cocolalla Loop Road near Cocolalla, Merril Martin Road west of Sagle and Gold Creek Road north of Sandpoint.

The state homeland security department is going to provide the stricken counties with a 50 percent match for repairing damage. The losses so far fall below a threshold of more than $2 million for federal emergency assistance, he said.

Today’s storm was making local officials nervous in the affected counties because any additional precipitation is a hazard in places where the ground is saturated and waterways are full, Howard said.

In Spokane today, vehicles arriving downtown from areas at higher elevations were showing an inch or two of snow on vehicle tops and trunk lids around mid-morning.

The winter weather advisory has been lifted much of Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

A winter storm warning is in effect for 6 to 10 inches of snow in mountain areas of North Idaho and Northeast Washington. The warning was issued to alert travelers across passes and mountain roads in the region.

Locally, snow showers are possible until about 8 p.m. with a high today of 38 to 39. The low temperature tonight is forecast to be 33 to 34 degrees.

Precipitation today was more likely to be snow in the Coeur d’Alene area, where 1 to 4 inches was possible.

Wednesday’s cold front arrived just a day after spring-like weather pushed temperatures into the lower 60s. Tuesday’s highs had warmed road pavement, nearly eliminating problems with slick surfaces, forecasters said.

A low pressure area has sent a cold front over Eastern Washington and North Idaho today, and the low is expected to linger over the region for the next several days. Forecasters said the parent low in the upper atmosphere is strong enough to create new waves of precipitation.

Less than a half inch of snow may fall in the Spokane area on Thursday night and again on Friday morning.

Forecasters said the parent low is going to linger over the region and may sling additional waves of precipitation into Saturday morning.

Highs will mostly be in the 40s with lows in the lower to middle 30s.

The next possibility of sunshine arrives on Easter Day high of 56 in Spokane and 57 in Coeur d’Alene.

Milder weather is expected early next week with highs returning to the upper 50s to lower 60s by Monday and Tuesday.

The first expectation of sunshine is for Saturday, with a forecast of a high of 50 and a low of 34.

Easter Sunday may be fairly nice with partly sunny skies and a high of 56 in Spokane.

Milder weather is expected early next week with highs returning to the upper 50s to lower 60s by Monday and Tuesday.

At 10 a.m. it was 33 degrees with light snow at Spokane International Airport.



Click here to comment on this story »






Back to Spokesman Mobile