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Snow snarls morning commute; new band of snow expected tonight

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 29, 2014, 5:31 p.m.

Another round of snowfall is expected this evening and should bring 1 to 3 inches of accumulations to areas around Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

National Weather Service forecasters said the snow is being spotted on radar dropping southeastward toward Spokane about 5 p.m. The snow could put a new icy covering on streets and highways in the region.

A separate band of precipitation was expected to bring rain to the Palouse.

On Thursday, forecasters said snow showers could bring 1 to 2 additional inches in Spokane.

Earlier today, police throughout the Inland Northwest dealt with multiple crashes and slide-offs this morning as drivers headed out into a mix of snow and freezing rain with snow piling up in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller said she counted seven different crashes on Interstate 90 this morning between Maple Street and Barker Road and that the average speed was around 40 miles per hour. The Idaho State Police said troopers were dealing with multiple crashes and slide-offs on Interstate 90 around Fourth of July Pass, which was heavily covered in snow.

I-90 at Lookout Pass had a disabled truck trailer blocking one lane. U.S. Highway 2 north of Laclede had one lane open following an accident.

Heavy traffic west bound Interstate 90 into Spokane this morning was at a crawl, left, as east bound motorists avoided an accident near the Altamont Street exit in a snow storm that left several inches on the ground. (SR Photo: Dan Pelle)

A van pool driver who works at Spokane County arrived to work an hour later than normal because of slow going on I-90 as well as to and from stops to pick up pool riders, the driver said.

National Weather Service forecasters said the storm moving through the state will bring a mix of freezing rain to the south and west of Spokane and snow to Spokane and Coeur d’Alene through today.

A winter storm warning was extended from North Idaho to the Spokane area overnight for up to 5 inches of accumulation through today.

Snowfall totals through 10:45 a.m. showed that 3 to 4 inches fell from Bayview to Coeur d’Alene. Spokane International Airport had 2.7 inches while Felts Field had 3.2 inches.

An inch or so of snow was reported in Pend Oreille and Lincoln counties.

About 3 inches were on the ground by 8 a.m. in Spokane, and plow crews were out in force, including the army of smaller trucks cleaning commercial parking lots.

David Jackson broke out his snow thrower for the first time in two years to clean the area in front of his home on the 4100 block of East Hartson in Spokane this morning. Jackson was out early before heading to work. (SR Photo: Dan Pelle)

Freezing rain was expected especially south of I-90 in the Palouse and in the south and western Columbia Basin.

The storm should taper off to snow showers by this evening, but the showers are expected to continue through Thursday. Friday should see partly sunny skies.

Highs are expected to be near freezing with lows in the 20s over the next several days.

In the Coeur d’Alene area, snow is expected to continue through Thursday.

A winter storm warning is in effect until Wednesday afternoon for freezing rain in Washington’s Cascade passes. The Weather Service expects hazardous driving conditions on Snoqualmie, Stevens and White passes before the precipitation changes to rain or snow. Snow accumulations should be less than 6 inches.

This version of the story corrects an accident location to Lookout Pass on I-90.

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