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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rising temperatures could cause flooding next week

Jan. 12, 2017 Updated Thu., Jan. 12, 2017 at 10:28 p.m.

Matt Cathcart with Rouse’s Towing fastens a Dodge Challenger to his tow truck as he and other drivers clear Browne’s Addition for plowing on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Matt Cathcart with Rouse’s Towing fastens a Dodge Challenger to his tow truck as he and other drivers clear Browne’s Addition for plowing on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Plows dug deeper into residential areas on Thursday with Browne’s Addition getting a visit from crews.

An order to move vehicles off streets during plowing in Browne’s Addition resulted in towing those who didn’t comply.

North and south streets were plowed Thursday, with east and west streets scheduled for Friday. People living on the east and west streets are asked to move their cars to north-south streets by 9 a.m.

Since Browne’s Addition has such narrow streets, snowplows can’t fit if cars aren’t moved, said Mark Serbousek, director of Spokane Streets Department.

Work to remove snow berms on downtown streets was interrupted Wednesday night when the city’s large snowplow machine was disabled. A manhole cover went into the machine and damaged the auger. Repairs were being made and work was to resume Thursday night.

Burn ban in force

The urban areas of Spokane and Spokane Valley were under a stage 1 “yellow” burning ban to prevent worsening air pollution from wood smoke.

The ban was declared by the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency and was expected to continue until Monday depending on weather conditions. The ban will be reassessed on Friday.

It appeared that the ban was working. Air quality remained in the moderate category on Thursday.

Clean-air inspectors were out in neighborhoods leaving burn ban information for residents where it appeared smoke-control measures were not being followed, said Lisa Woodard, spokeswoman for the agency.

Inspectors found about 20 homes emitting excessive smoke and contacted residents there. Even with a certified stove or insert, it’s possible to violate burning standards by not operating the device properly. Typically, excessive smoke is the result of inadequate oxygen to the fire.

Residents can stay abreast of air quality conditions and smoke-control measures by going to the agency website at, or by calling the burning hotline at (509) 477-4710. Residents are also invited to sign up for email notices of burning restrictions on the clean air agency website.

Warmer temps, possible flooding next week

The National Weather Service said arctic cold should continue through most of the weekend with a change starting on Monday into Tuesday. Lows should be in the teens with highs in the teens and 20s until highs go to the 30s on Monday and Tuesday.

Snow is expected starting Monday night followed by rain Tuesday through Thursday. Highs next week may reach the middle 40s. Some flooding on streets and in small streams is possible.

The weather service issued a “hydrologic outlook” for the moderate to heavy rain. “The potential impacts from the snowmelt and rainfall runoff include ponding of water where storm drains or ditches are clogged with snow and ice, ponding of water in low-lying areas with poor drainage or frozen ground, and possible ice jams on small creeks that have frozen over,” the outlook said.

Snow levels are expected to rise to 4,000 feet in northern zones and 5,000 feet in southern parts of the Inland Northwest.

Snowfall above those elevations could be substantial. Forecasters said mountain snow may be measured in feet rather than inches.

Higher than normal absences from school

This week’s snowfall and clogged streets might have led to more student absences from school.

The storm that brought snow over the weekend forced the closure of the region’s largest school districts on Monday. Many roads, especially residential streets, remained in poor condition when schools reopened Tuesday.

Central Valley School District reported that 9 percent of the district’s roughly 13,000 students were absent Tuesday and 6 percent Wednesday. Last year on the same days 5 percent and 4 percent of students were absent.

There were 1,882 Spokane Public Schools students absent Tuesday and 917 absent Wednesday. Normally in January, about 450 students are absent per day, a district spokesman said.

Staff writer Eli Francovich contributed to this report.

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