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Police urge drivers to stay off roads as snowstorm blankets region

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 11, 2018, 10:42 p.m.

Snow blanketed the region Thursday, closing roads, causing accidents and prompting police to implore drivers to stay off the roads amid the evening commute.

The storm dumped 7.7 inches of snow before turning to a light drizzle at about 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The City of Spokane announced Thursday that extra snow crews would operate overnight, working on primary and secondary arterials. Work in residential areas is planned to continue tomorrow.

Road closures and hazards were commonplace on steep roads during the height of traffic between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tree branches were falling onto some streets.

Spokane had 74 crashes by Thursday evening, according to Spokane Police officer Theresa Fuller. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office reported 83 crashes and slideoffs in before 7 p.m. Spokane Valley and the rural portions of Spokane County.

Washington State Patrol’s District 4, which covers seven Eastern Washington counties, reported 113 crashes, including a fatal two-vehicle accident near Kettle Falls that killed a 32-year-old woman.

Troopers responded to multiple vehicle collisions Thursday afternoon, including on Interstate 90 west of Spokane, south on Highway 195, and on State Route 291, according to the Washington State Patrol.

South of town, Spokane County Fire District 8 reported between 20 and 30 vehicles blocking Highway 27 near Elder Road.

The Spokesman-Review

Idaho State Police reported three crashes on Eastbound I-90 near milepost 15 in Coeur d’Alene, and warned motorists to expect delays and closures.

Power outages were reported in places around the city, the largest south of I-95 in Latah valley. Roughly 1,300 customers in the area were affected, according to Avista. Power was restored around 6:15 p.m.

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