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Hitting the highways this holiday? Social media can help

SPOKANE, Wash. - City and county crews spent the last 24 hours preparing for snow and ice. Then, clearing it for the morning commute. They're making it easier than ever to know when those snowplows will make it to your neighborhood.

It's going to be a busy week of travel. AAA predicts nearly 94 million people will hit the highways for their holiday destinations. But with more snow in the forecast, you're going to want to plan for whatever Mother Nature's giving us.

Patton Mann of Priest Lake is braving our winter roads, driving nearly 1,000 miles from north Idaho to San Francisco.

“Ended up getting behind the plow trucks at least, so the roads were getting plowed ahead of us, but it was about 20 miles per hour,” Mann said.

But even if you're not going far this Christmas, the drive could still be dicey with more snow in the forecast. Checking road conditions, though, is now easier than ever.

The City of Spokane was active on Twitter Tuesday morning, letting residents know where their trucks were plowing and de-icing.

“We like to let people know where we are, what we're doing, what our plan is to show that we are out there and we are around,” Julie Happy, with the City of Spokane, said.

If they missed a spot, give the city a call at 755-CITY. Keep in mind that response times vary. The city gives priority to more problematic areas.

“If you happen to come across a spot that's a little icy or a trouble spot, we as that you give us a call. Let us know,” Happy said.

The City of Spokane Valley took to Twitter as well to let residents know which roads drivers would plow first.

“We have them on 24/7 and they're monitoring conditions. So as soon as the snow started falling, they started getting the plows out and making plans.

The Valley also has a road report hotline at 921-1000. You can also sign up for road condition email updates and file a report online.

If you're traveling out of the Spokane area, take a look at WSDOT's cameras. You can check both highway and pass conditions. And Idaho Transportation Department's Highway Information Website shows any backups you might run into.

The best advice, as always, is to go slow and have patience. No matter how far your Christmas commute might be.

“If we feel the wind too hard, we'll just stop and have some lunch,” Mann said of his plan.


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