The Inland Northwest is bracing for heavy snow on Wednesday as schools announced closures and road crews prepared for the inclement weather.
The National Weather Service predicted heavy snow starting late Tuesday night. Two to 4 inches of snow were expected by Wednesday morning, followed by another two to 4 inches throughout the day.
Spokane Public Schools alerted parents and students to the possibility of Wednesday delays or closures. A decision is expected by 6 a.m.
The Coeur d’Alene School District declared Wednesday a snow day for its students.
The East Valley School District announced in an email Tuesday night that its schools would start 90 minutes late Wednesday. Morning preschool was canceled, while day preschool follows the 90-minute delay and p.m. preschool is on a normal schedule. The district said that in winter weather, any East Valley student at a bus stop will be picked up, regardless of whether they are registered with the district’s transportation department.
The threat of heavy snow led Community Colleges of Spokane to close campuses on Wednesday. That will not affect online services or online classes.
After the heaviest snow passes, there’s a likelihood of 1-2 inches of snow Friday afternoon through early Saturday in the Spokane metro area, National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Brown said in a Tuesday morning briefing.
Northern counties in Washington and Idaho will see the most severe weather this week, Brown said. There is also a potential for blowing and drifting snow on Wednesday morning in the Columbia Basin, with wind gusts of 20-30 mph between Ritzville and Pullman, he added.
The weather service predicted much of the Spokane metro area can expect to see 6-8 inches through Thursday, although Airway Heights, Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Rathdrum could see 8 to 12 inches, the weather service said.
“There is some local variability in what these snowfall totals will look like,” Brown said.
The Spokane metro area, northeast Washington and North Idaho could see an additional 1 to 2 inches by Saturday morning, the weather service said.
Pullman could get 1-2 inches of snow on Thursday as the weather continues to move east, the weather service said.
Brown described the weather system as a “one- to three-year storm.”
“It’s not uncommon, but it’s not frequent,” he said. “This is a heavy winter storm for the Inland Northwest.”
Spokane city and county governments said their respective road crews are prepared for the winter weather, but urged patience. County public works road maintenance and operations administrator Andy Schenk urged drivers to use caution driving and carry emergency supplies in their vehicle if they must drive.
Hundreds of flights arriving at or departing from Seattle’s SeaTac Airport were either canceled or delayed by the snow Tuesday. Spokane International Airport tweeted Tuesday only that the storm “could impact flight operations at Spokane International Airport.”
To check on your flight into or out of Spokane, go to spokaneairports.net/flight-status.
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