Inland Northwest Wakes To Winter Storm

SPOKANE - A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday as anywhere from six inches to a foot of snow moves in to the Inland Northwest.

This blast of snow began overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and won?t let up until Wednesday late afternoon. Most areas of the Inland Northwest, including The Palouse and North Idaho will see anywhere from a few inches to a foot of new snow. Enough snow fell early Wednesday morning for the City of Spokane to declare a Stage One snow emergency, which means main arterials and STA bus routes will be plowed.

The hardest hit areas will be along the I-90 corridor from Sprague to Spokane and Coeur d?Alene to Lookout Pass. Snow will fall at a rate of one inch per hour before 1 p.m.

Throughout Wednesday, snow will be heavy at times in the morning with the highest accumulations above 2000 feet. Early Wednesday morning, the West Plains already had four inches of snow. Some areas, however, still had rain falling.

Plows were already out around Spokane at 5 a.m. working the steep roads of the South Hill and main arterials around Downtown. There are concerns the recent layoffs for Spokane?s Streets Department will hinder the city?s ability to plow in a timely manner, but the city insists its crews will do the best job they can.

?We know that it could possibly take more time, could possibly take up to an additional 24 hours for a full-city plow to be completed,? Ann Deasy with the City of Spokane said.

Where the city had planned for a 96-hour time frame to clear the city, it could now take up to five days from when the snow flies for city crews to plow every street, avenue and boulevard.

Whereas much of the Inland Northwest is under a Winter Storm Warning, the Palouse is under a Blizzard Warning. The area will get less snow ? about four to eight inches ? but winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts over 35 miles per hour will persist through late Wednesday afternoon.

Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely in The Palouse.

Spokane International Airport shut down one of its runways for about 45 minutes Wednesday morning to remove snow and ice, which delayed a few flights coming in and out of the airport.

On Tuesday, the airport measured its total December snowfall at 10.2 inches. The airport?s record snowfall for a single day is 12.7 inches.