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In this Jan. 2008 video, Jim Kershner narrates an historical slideshow about past snowy winters in Spokane.
Local governments, schools and nonprofit agencies in Spokane County have been reimbursed $5.7 million for their costs in responding to record snows that began in mid-December 2008 and continued through early January 2009.
One year ago today, the storm began. The Inland Northwest was pummeled with record-breaking snows that disrupted routines for nearly two weeks. Gene Yoakum said he remembers the storm well. He lives on Spokane’s North Side and uses a wheelchair to get around. Last year, he was trapped at home for three days and after that, his mobility was limited because people failed to shovel their driveways and sidewalks.
Even as the weather warms and summer beckons, Rich Clemson remains mired in last winter’s problems. His ire is directed at the Hartford Financial Services Group, one of the country’s largest property insurers. He says it has failed to pay up 4 1/2 months after the roof on his large commercial building, the former Spears furniture store at 1321 N. Mullan Road, collapsed under the weight of December’s epic snowfall.
Gov. Chris Gregoire wants Spokane County and 32 others to be declared disaster areas so that residents and business owners can get assistance to repair damage from December snow and storms.
President Barack Obama declared a federal disaster Friday for the flooding, mudslides and avalanches in Washington state earlier this month.
Gov. Chris Gregoire is asking the federal government to declare a statewide “economic injury disaster” for Washington’s businesses due to the heavy snow storms in December.
Caller ID indicated my long-time Montana buddy, Dick, was on the line. He was obviously a man on a mission. His first words were: “Are you hurting? We heard you guys got walloped by a heck of a snowstorm last night!” I responded: “Naw, the lay down wasn’t much more than a skift!”
As the Inland Northwest dug out from record snow, Steve Noll was more focused on what was on the ground, hampering travel and business, than what was above. That changed Jan. 2, when part of his warehouse on Pittsburg Street collapsed under the weight of snow.
A dense layer of fog has caused ice to accumulate relentlessly in Lincoln County, weighing down power lines and poles and touching off widespread power outages. The “storm” ended the region’s three-week bout of record-breaking snow, but while other people were digging out, Lincoln County was going dark.
Students in the Spokane Public Schools will have to make up all five snow days they got off during the record-breaking December storms, the school board has decided. Other school districts across the Inland Northwest still are deciding how to make up the lost days, if at all.
Spokane went from winter wonderland to wet dog smell in just a few days. The big snowstorms left behind miles and miles of crusty berms and piles of ashen snow. Sidewalks and parking lots turned to skating rinks, covered in standing water, and errands that used to take a half hour, took all morning.
It’s another impressive season for snow totals at Spokane International Airport. As of early Tuesday morning, 80.3 inches of snow has fallen, almost double the seasonal normal. The average snowfall between now and the end of April is about a foot. It’s quite possible that we may challenge the all-time record of 93.5 inches set back in 1915-16. Last year, we were close to that all-time amount with 92.6 inches.
It’s already been the toughest winter in Spokane in a generation. Schools and government offices closed. Businesses shut down during their busiest season. Buses were pulled from streets. Drivers had to depend on chains to traverse even main routes. Pedestrians – and schoolchildren – were forced to walk in traffic lanes because sidewalks were impassable. Roofs collapsed. Even garbage and mail service were delayed.
For the second consecutive winter, Inland Northwest schools must decide how – and whether – to make up the days that were missed because of snow. Most districts canceled school both before and after winter break, as the region was hammered by one storm after another. Now, the question is whether that means shorter vacations, the loss of some three-day weekends, lengthened school days – or perhaps no change at all.
You might think that the record-breaking snowfall so far this winter in Washington state would ensure there will be plenty of water to avoid drought when it melts this spring and summer. You would be wrong.
Near nature? Near perfect? Spokane has been way too near nature most of the past month, thank you very much, but the official response to snow problems has been far from perfect.
The warm winds that swept the Spokane Valley this week could have been from the collective sigh of relief exhaled by school officials, firefighters and residents tired of the daily struggle battling huge amounts of snow. Most schools were closed until Thursday, though East Valley schools opened two hours late on Wednesday. The schools were closed during the beginning of the week so the roofs straining under the weight of snow made heavier by the rain could be shoveled.
A north Spokane couple that’s expecting a baby got an early arrival Thursday evening when a moose calf dropped into a bedroom through a basement window.