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Slush, snow causing numerous accidents

UPDATED: Thu., March 22, 2012, 12:36 p.m.

Numerous accidents were reported throughout the Spokane region this morning due to a wet mix of rain and snow that made for messy roads.

The storm system is moving off to the east this afternoon, and National Weather Service forecasters are calling for partly sunny skies and a high of 42 within the next several hours. Gusty winds are possible, and snow showers could persist through Friday.

This morning around Spokane, accidents were reported along Interstate 90, westbound at the Sprague Avenue exit, eastbound at Broadway Avenue, eastbound at Barker Road and westbound at Medical Lake. Accidents and slide-offs also were reported at Third Avenue and Maple Street and eastbound on Bigelow Gulch Road near Weile Avenue.

A winter weather advisory was downgraded to a hazardous weather outlook at mid-morning. A winter storm warning remained in effect for the Idaho mountains east and southeast of Coeur d’Alene.

Snowfall totals were impressive in some locales with up to 7 inches reported north of Spokane in Elk and Bonners Ferry.

The official accumulation at Spokane International Airport was 4.3 inches.

Elsewhere, Chattaroy had 6 inches; Newport, 5 inches; Davenport, 4.9 inches; Sandpoint, 4 inches; Athol and Mullan, 4.7 inches; and Spirit Lake, 4 inches.

Forecasters said the higher accumulations were expected 2,300 feet.

The city of Spokane reported 20 plows, de-icers, and sanders hit city streets this morning.

KHQ was reporting school closures at Boundary County, West Bonner County and Lake Pend Oreille school districts in Idaho.

I-90 eastbound over Lookout Pass at the Idaho-Montana border was closed for several hours Wednesday night and early this morning due a jacknifed semi, the Idaho State Police reported. The roadway was closed around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday and reopened around 3 a.m. this morning, the ISP said.

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