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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

2 inches of snow falls on Spokane and chaos ensues on Walnut Street

Joshua Shelton tries to keep his balance after his car was involved in a multi-car collision on the Walnut Street hill at Fifth Avenue, Thursday morning. There were around a dozen collisions on the slippery hill, including a Spokane Police car arriving to help.  Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

About 2 inches of snow fell early Thursday in Spokane, forcing a slow start to the morning commute.

Snow started to fall about 3 a.m. at the National Weather Service office on the West Plains. It stopped about three hours later.

While the snow may have stopped falling, drivers were having a hard time stopping during their morning commute, especially at Walnut Street approaching Fourth Avenue.

After numerous crashes, including one involving a Spokane police cruiser, officers helped direct traffic and block off portions of the road.

“By the time you get to Seventh, if you’re not going 10 mph or less you’re going to have an accident,” said Rosemary Small, a longtime resident in the area.

Small and her husband Phil lived in The Cedars apartments for years before buying a house nearby.

“We used to sit on our porch at Cedars and just call it TV,” Small said.

Now, the couple still keeps an eye on the nearby traffic.

“When we look out our windows, we can see where the traffic is stalled because of some idiot,” Small said.

Front porch fender-benders may provide some amusement for the Smalls, but the couple also acknowledges the danger the icy streets pose to drivers.

“This is just going to get slicker as it warms up,” Phil said just before 10 a.m. Thursday.

“This is the major arterial coming off the South Hill and people go too fast – they always go too fast,” Rosemary Small said. “You won’t see us going up and down these hills at this time.”

Other steep and busy intersections had stop lights flashing, including at Sixth Avenue and Washington Street and at Sixth and Stevens Street.

About 2 miles east of Geiger Boulevard, a semitruck and a car crashed in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 around 6:30 a.m Thursday morning. The road was not blocked, and no one was seriously injured.

Another semi-and-car collision blocked the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 395 at North Hatch Road for less than an hour Thursday morning. No one was seriously injured.

The Spokane Police Department said it investigated 26 car crashes before 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Despite the snow, some commuters rode their bikes with snow tires or donned a coat and walked to their destination.

Up to an inch more snow could fall in Spokane from a second round of snow this afternoon, said meteorologist Bob Tobin. But that is expected to turn to rain.

Rain, heavy at times, will continue through Sunday morning; three-quarters of an inch of snow is possible through Sunday morning, Tobin said.

“The snow will just melt off,” Tobin said.

Meanwhile, between 2 and 3 feet of snow is expected to fall in the mountains of northeastern Washington and North Idaho where precipitation will continue falling as snow, Tobin said. Snow levels will rise, however, to about 5,000 feet by Saturday afternoon.