SPOKANE -- A rare blizzard closed roads and schools across Eastern Washington, and subzero temperatures are forecast for tonight.
Dangerous weather conditions will continue this morning in the Inland Northwest as a very strong winter storm moves through the region. A blizzard warning remains in effect for the following areas:
- Spokane and Coeur d'Alene area
- Northeast mountains of Washington
- Northern Panhandle mountains of Idaho
- Washington and Idaho Palouse
- Moses Lake area
- Upper Columbia Basin
- Waterville Plateau
Snow will continue along and north of interstate 90 through mid morning. Near the Canadian border and in north Idaho, very strong winds will cause dangerous wind chill readings along with blowing and drifting snow. Communities from the Waterville Plateau through the Columbia Basin and into the Spokane metro area and Palouse will see the combination of wind and snow bringing blizzard conditions.
The combination of snow and blowing snow will cause near white-out conditions. Travel conditions have become very dangerous with numerous road closures due to blowing and drifting snow.
Expect snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches in the valleys with 6 to 10 inches in the mountains.
A blizzard warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will make travel extremely dangerous.
If you must travel have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded stay with your vehicle.
The arctic temperatures are going to stick around the Inland Northwest all week. Tuesday morning expect a low of only 2 degrees. Then on Wednesday the low is expected to drop down to 12 below zero.
Due to the extreme weather forecast, the City of Spokane is activating the warming center program at the Salvation Army (for families), Hope House (for single women), House of Charity (single men) and Crosswalk (for youth).
The warming centers are activated when the shelters are already at capacity, and the forecast temperature is 15 degrees or colder. The warming centers do not provide lodging.