Snow shovels and snowblowers got a workout Saturday morning after residents in Eastern Washington and North Idaho awoke to a fresh blanket of snow.
The Spokane International Airport registered 5.7 inches of snow in the 24 hours ending at 10 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Towns in North Idaho saw about 4 inches, but Clayton and Valley in Stevens County both recorded more than 8 inches of snow in the same 24 hours.
“There was a band, a stretch of higher amounts north of the metro (area),” weather forecaster Andrew Kalin said Saturday.
Less traffic on the roads led to fewer accidents than Friday, but many roads still were in questionable condition Saturday morning, as plows worked to clean up after the storm as snow continued to fall. Snowfall is expected to taper off by Christmas morning.
“I don’t think we’ll pick up a whole lot more,” Kalin said midday Saturday.
Spokane has recorded 19.2 inches of snow this year, a little less than the 22.6 inches recorded as of Christmas Eve last year.
Forecasters say the weather will be clear and partly sunny on Christmas Day with highs in the upper 20s. The next storm is set to arrive Monday night, Kalin said, but forecasters aren’t sure how much snow it will bring.
“It’s still a little too early to say,” he said.
The city of Spokane declared a Stage 1 snow event Saturday morning. Dozens of plows, sanders and de-icers were out working on arterials, hospital routes, bus routes, business districts and residential hills. Residents living on hills should to park their cars on the even side of the street during plowing.
The city of Post Falls announced a Stage 2 snow alert at 7 a.m. Saturday and announced plans to complete a citywide plow. The city of Coeur d’Alene, which holds a “name the snowstorm” contest every year, said it was plowing arterial streets and hills after storm “Dark Chocolate Drizzle” and would evaluate residential streets to determine if they needed plowed.
Spokane County has multiple shifts working around the clock with 90 plows, graders and sanders/de-icers on more than 2,000 miles of roads. While the snow falls, crews focus on emergency routes, primary arterials and trouble spots, county spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter said. Once the snow stops, crews will be able to move into hilly residential areas, before targeting flat, residential streets.
“The goal is to get as much of the system done as we can before the next round comes,” Wheatley-Billeter said. “We’re doing our level best. Please be patient.”
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