County road crews finish one pass, returning to primary arterials - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

County road crews finish one pass, returning to primary arterials

SPOKANE, Wash. - Another six to eight inches of fresh snow has covered Spokane County since Sunday morning.  While some road crews have returned to plowing primary arterials and emergency routes, other crews hope to finish plowing the entire 2,500 mile system.

Currently, Spokane County's entire fleet of approximately 90 snow removal vehicles are working on County roads (including the City of Spokane Valley).  Private contractors have also been hired.

Browne's Addition Snow Removal

Beginning Tuesday, December 23rd at 9am, City snow removal will begin in Browne's Addition.  Crews will concentrate on the north/south roadways.  On Wednesday, December 24th at 9am, crews will work on the east/west roadways.

Any vehicles that are parked on those streets during snow removal, will be impounded.

The winds have picked up and drifting is reported in south Spokane County, including the South Hill, Otis Orchards, Rockford, Spangle and south through Latah.  In addition, drifting is reported in the northwest corner of the county, in the Coulee Hts. area.

The public is advised to stay home is at all possible.  Unless you have four-wheel drive and/or chains - do not venture out on the roads today! There have been dozens of car crashes and vehicles stuck in deep snow.  It is virtually impossible to plow around vehicles that are immobilized and/or abandoned in the snow or are parked on the side of the road. 

County residents are reminded that plows leave large snow berms in front of driveways and access roads.  Please check in on your neighbors who may need help shoveling or clearing a berm from their driveway.  In addition, snow-covered small cars parked on the side of the road can be mistaken for a pile of snow that needs to be plowed.  If you have a small car that is buried under snow - move it off the roadway immediately - or at least remove enough snow so it can be easily identified as a vehicle.

Citizens are advised that if you must travel over the next few days, make sure that you have emergency supplies in your car (flashlight, shovel, traction sand or cat litter, non-perishable food and blankets).

Do not allow children to dig tunnels or build forts in the snow berms that are piled in the middle or by the side of the road.  Plow operators cannot see children hidden in deep snow!  Please make sure that children are restricted to playing in yards, parks or playgrounds.

According to the weather forecast, the current storm will leave our area later today and we will experience a short break through Tuesday.  Be advised that another winter storm system is expected on Wednesday (12/24) afternoon that could bring an additional five to seven inches of fresh snow by Thursday (12/25) morning.  After this mid-week storm, temperatures will begin to climb to the upper 20s and low-mid 30s.  This means the snow will become wetter, heavier and more compact.  Officials are concerned about snow loading particularly on flat roofs and car ports.  You may want to evaluate whether snow needs to be removed from these structures, before warmer temperatures and a rain/snow mix hit the region on Saturday and Sunday (12/27-28).  In addition, as the snow gets heavier, tree branches may bring down power lines.  Be prepared for possible power outages...and never approach a downed power line!

To ensure a safe winter commute, keep your vehicle in good working order and be prepared. Slow down and give yourself extra time to reach your destination!  Here are just a few winter driving tips:

  • Antifreeze protection to 26 degrees below zero.
  • Repair cracked or frayed hoses.
  • Obtain an engine tune-up prior to long-distance travel.
  • Verify that heater and defroster are in good working order.
  • Check to make sure your battery is charged.
  • Make sure snow tires have good tread.
  • Carry your cell-phone if you have one.
  • Obey posted speed limits and slow down if road conditions are poor.
  • Beware of road-icing when temperatures start to drop.
  • Slow down if your car feels like it is floating or slipping. Also beware of concrete bridge approaches - they tend to ice up sooner than general roadways.
  • Changes in elevation can drastically alter road conditions as temperatures drop.
  • Visibility is dramatically affected during a snow storm. Be on the look-out for snow plows during these periods.  Drifting snow can also impair your ability to see ice on the roads.
  • Make sure to carry a shovel and traction sand or cat litter, first-aid kit, extra clothing, blankets, food and water in case you have trouble with your vehicle or you are delayed due to road closures and/or emergencies.
  • In situations where tire chains may be needed, do not hesitate to put the tire chains on your vehicle.  If you must stop to chain up, pull off to the right side of the road in the widest most visible area possible.
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