More than an inch of snow fell over Spokane on Wednesday afternoon and drivers may see 3 or 4 inches more on their Thursday morning commute.
Midday snow on Wednesday in the Spokane area picked up considerably, leading to multiple crashes and slide-offs on city streets and on Interstate 90, reported the Washington State Patrol. Local law enforcement said most of the crashes were caused by people not adjusting for the conditions.
“Speed limits are for optimum driving conditions,” said Spokane police Cpl. Teresa Fuller. “If you’re driving the speed limit, you’re going too fast.”
Across the county and in Spokane Valley, there were around 41 crashes between midnight and 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, said Deputy Mark Gregory, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. Gregory said there were more crashes than there would be on a “sunny August day,” but fewer than in past snowstorms.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Jeff Sevigney said WSP responded to dozens of crashes throughout the day, many of which were caused by speeding in unsafe weather conditions. Two crashes on Wednesday in Eastern Washington resulted in deaths.
In Adams County, on state Route 26 near Washtucna, a 29-year-old Soap Lake woman died when she lost control of her 2019 Subaru Crosstrek because of icy roads, the WSP reported in a news release. Kaylyn Bossert’s car drifted into the oncoming lane and hit a semitruck head-on about 8:30 a.m.
Five miles north of Reardan, Ronald Skunes, 62, died when he lost control of his 2017 Buick Envision on icy roads and it collided with a semitruck at about 11:30 a.m. on state Route 231, according to a WSP news release.
Excessive speeds for the icy conditions were a factor in both crashes, the news releases said.
About 1.3 inches of snow fell Wednesday afternoon and between 3 or 4 inches were expected to fall overnight and into early Thursday morning. If the storm is as heavy as predicted, this February could be the second snowiest on record, National Weather Service Meteorologist Steven Van Horn said.
The National Weather Service also reported blowing snow and drifting across rural highways in the Columbia Basin and Palouse. Lewiston reported about 5 inches of snow by early afternoon.
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