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Accidents, school closures follow snowfall

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 20, 2012, 8:23 a.m.

Good Snow-maritian.  Deborah Jepson cleans off a neighbor's sidewalk along 26th Avenue near Monroe Street, Dec. 20, 2012 in Spokane, Wash. Jepson said the neighbor has a medical condition, so she cleared his walks while he swept the porch stairs after an overnight snow fall blanketed the area.  (Dan Pelle)

Drivers were slipping on slick and snowy roads this morning as weather forecasters predicted more snow on the way.

The city of Spokane was reporting that crews are plowing to clear off arterials before more snow arrives and that streets are largely wet or slushy in the core.

The chains and parking brake of a garbage truck snapped this morning and it slid into six or seven other cars on icy roads near Sixth Street and Howard Avenue.

The weather closed and delayed operations at several school districts, including closing the Mary Walker School District in Springdale, the Christian Heritage School in Edwall and Palisades Christian Academy in Spokane. Garfield-Palouse and Inchelium school districts were running two hours late.

Other accidents were piling up around Spokane and North Idaho, including a single vehicle crash at 13th Street and Grand Avenue, a vehicle off the road at Newport Highway and Nevada, a single vehicle crash on Interstate 90 eastbound near Medical Lake and two vehicles stuck heading north on Argonne Road in Spokane Valley.

In the Silver Valley, on I-90 westbound near Kellogg, a semi went over onto its side and was blocking both lanes of traffic this morning. Traffic was diverted off the highway at the Big Creek exit and through Kellogg.

Residents in Sandpoint and Blanchard, Idaho, were reporting 15 to 16 inches of snow this morning.

A winter storm warning remained in effect until 10 a.m. today with additional snow accumulations of up to three inches expected. In Idaho’s Silver Valley, the storm warning remains in effect until noon, with 2 to 4 inches of snow expected today, and 4 to 6 in the mountains.

Winds from the southeast were expected to hit speeds of up to 25 miles per hour in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area, up to 45 mph on the Palouse and up to 40 mph in the Silver Valley.

Snow was expected to snarl the morning commute with blowing and drifting snow creating more difficulties in exposed areas including the West Plains, according to the National Weather Service.

Traffic was moving on compact snow and ice across Snoqualmie and Stevens passes this morning around 7:30 a.m. The state Transportation Department closed both passes briefly early this morning for avalanche control, after the heavy snow of the past couple of days.