After fresh snowfall hit the Spokane area Monday, the City of Spokane has shifted to Stage One plowing to clear the streets.
A Stage One Snow Event was declared after more than two inches of snow fell in Spokane with more anticipated overnight. During Stage One, city crews will plow arterials and STA bus routes, residential hills, around hospitals as needed and clear the downtown district.
The streets department is calling in plow drivers for 12 hour shifts, with crews supplemented with personnel from other city departments.
Spokane residents are being asked to move parked cars off arterials and STA bus routes to help facilitate plowing.
"On those residential hill routes, we'll ask because its an odd year, for residents to move your cars to the odd side of the streets so we can plow those residential hill routes and then we'll also plow our arterials. Our STA bus fixed routes and on those routes you need to your car off of those streets for plowing in a Stage One," city spokesperson Julie Happy said.
Residents need to move cars to the odd numbered side of streets because the snow season started in 2013, an odd-numbered year.
In Spokane Valley, crews are being sent out to clear primary and secondary arterials as well as residential hills. Their crews are working in conjunction with the Spokane Valley Police Department to clear problem areas as needed.
Snow caused back-ups and slide-offs on the freeways throughout Monday. The Washington State Patrol reports there were 38 crashes along the highways and freeways in our area Monday morning.
Troopers spent the morning following slide-offs and minor collisions along I-90 and Highway 2, including one at the Monroe Street on-ramp between a semi-truck and a car.
Troopers say besides increasing driving distance it's also important to drive below the speed limit, even if you have a big truck or SUV with four-wheel drive.
"Just keep in mind, you know, that the people in front of you have to stop in a hurry. Make sure to give yourself enough room to stop too," WSP Trooper Matt Weberling said.
Troopers were also chasing after disabled vehicles on the side of I-90 and, at one point, two snow plows were moving together when a semi truck collided with one of them. No one was injured in that collision.
The WSP reported that as the snow continues to fall around the region they will monitor problem areas like hills, as sometimes the slightest elevation change could means completely different conditions.
Over in North Idaho, the Idaho State Police reports it has responded to 11 non-injury crashes and 47 slideoffs since 8:30 a.m. Monday. No injuries were reported in any of the accidents.
The weather forecast is calling for a lull in snowfall through the evening commute, with more snow and freezing rain to fall overnight.