The first heavy snow of the winter across the Inland Northwest was to give way to rain overnight, which would make for a sloppy, slushy return to school after the long holiday break.
Snow-removal crews worked Sunday to keep up with the storm, which brought two-day accumulations expected to range from 5 to 10 inches in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas and from 12 to 24 inches in the mountains. Ski areas celebrated the long-awaited major snowstorm. “We’re talking feet, not inches,” Lookout Pass posted on its website.
But down in the valleys, a warm front pushing north late Sunday and early today was to make for a messy transition to rain, including a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain moving from south to north overnight, forecasters said.
“This is a very dynamic storm,” the National Weather Service said over the weekend.
The warm front was expected to push the temperature up to around 36 degrees by 1 a.m. and to nearly 39 degrees later today, ushering in up to a quarter-inch of rain in the Spokane area and as much as half an inch in Coeur d’Alene, according to Sunday night’s forecast.
The rain is expected to taper off heading into Tuesday, with a chance of rain or snow back in the forecast Friday.
The city of Spokane declared a stage 1 snow event Sunday, ordering cars to be removed from arterial streets and public transit routes and moved to the even side of the street on residential hill streets to allow snow plows to pass.
Officials cautioned drivers to slow down and be patient, especially as road conditions this morning could vary between ice, slush and packed snow.
Heavy rains Sunday prompted a weather service flood watch for much of Western Washington. Forecasters said as much as 4 inches of rain could fall on the West Side through today, prompting worries about potential floods as well as a moderate risk of landslides. Areas most susceptible to landslides include steep coastal bluffs and other steep hillsides.
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