Snow ushered in the new year Sunday in the Inland Northwest, but gusty winds and frigid temperatures are expected to put their stamp on the first week of 2017.
Gusty winds that were expected to roll in Sunday evening and pick up into Monday morning could cause the weekend’s dry snow to form drifts, creating hazardous driving conditions. The National Weather Service office west of Spokane estimates gusts could reach 20 mph in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene on Monday.
High temperatures are expected to remain in the low 20s Monday under partly cloudy skies. However, sustained winds from the northeast of 15 to 18 mph – and gusts up to 30 mph – will make it feel like minus 2 at times. Monday night will see lows near zero, with the wind chill factor dropping as low as minus 14, according the weather service.
By Tuesday, cloud cover is expected to break and the sun will peek out. It won’t feel warm, however, as high temperatures near 12 will pair with sustained winds approaching 10 mph to keep wind chill readings near minus 15.
The region could see lows below zero Tuesday and Wednesday evening, according to the weather service.
“The first several days of the new year are going to be very cold,” Greg Koch, National Weather Service meteorologist, said Sunday. “We’ll actually see quite a bit of sunshine this week, but it’ll still be bitterly cold.”
Koch said snow-packed roads could be hazardous for drivers. He said well-traveled roads, such as arterials and highways, should be in good shape, though residential areas may be troublesome.
“Residential roads will certainly be slick and snow-packed for quite a few days,” he said.
A lingering snowstorm over the weekend was partly responsible for dozens of vehicle collisions Sunday across the region.
About 33 collisions were reported in Spokane County by midafternoon Sunday, many of which were attributed to poor weather conditions and slick roads, according to the Washington State Patrol. Collisions on Interstate 90 near Lincoln Street and in Spokane Valley blocked parts of the highway.
The Idaho State Police reported nine collisions in Kootenai County.
The weather service reported 1 to 2 inches of snow fell in the Spokane metro area Saturday evening, but areas farther north near Spirit Lake and Newport received as much as 6 to 12 inches.
Snow continued to fall north of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene throughout Saturday evening and into Sunday morning before winds pushed the storm to the south. From 2 to 5 inches of snow fell Sunday in Spokane.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.