The first blast of a major snow storm hit Spokane this afternoon, with swirling snow and gusty winds in what forecasters said was an unusual snow thunderstorm.
In North Idaho, the Idaho State Police advised motorists traveling I-90 to the Wallace area to use extreme caution. Winter driving conditions were in effect over to the Montana state line, and Lookout Pass is experiencing blizzard-like snowfall resulting in limited visibility.
Garfield-Palouse Schools closed early today due to weather conditions. A winter weather advisory remains in effect in the Pullman area until this evening. Parents of elementary school students in that district must call the school if no one will be at home or at the designated emergency bus stop. Buses will be on paved plowed roads only. School will be dismissed in Garfield at 12:30 p.m. and in Palouse at 1 p.m.
Coeur d’Alene Tribal School has canceled today’s after school programs.
The Inland Northwest is facing a wintry week, with snow in the forecast every day. The heaviest days will be Wednesday and Thursday as a major winter storm moves across the region.
A winter storm warning is in effect for much of Eastern Washington and North Idaho until late Wednesday night. In the mountains, from 24 to 42 inches of new snow is expected to pile up.
Snoqualmie Pass this morning was closed in both directions from milepost 33 near North Bend to milepost 106 near Ellensburg for avalanche control work and plowing.
Wednesday’s forecast calls for 3-5 inches of snow in Spokane, 3-7 inches in Coeur d’Alene, with even more Wednesday night. On Thursday, another 1-3 inches is possible in Spokane, and 3-5 inches in Coeur d’Alene, the weather service said.
More snow is likely Friday, but rain also is possible Friday night and Saturday as the temperature climbs above freezing for a day or so.