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Clearing drains and moving passengers; dealing with the weather aftermath

Spokane City Cable 5 screenshot
A Spokane city worker clears snow and slush from one of about 12,000 municipal storm drains.

A warmer-than-normal winter day brings its own challenges.

Spokane city crews were busy Tuesday uncovering storm drains and clearing paths for rain water and melted snow.

Many streets are covered with standing water that’s making travel difficult. Spokane city and county crews are putting sand and deicer on icy roads. Officials are urging people to help by finding a drain near them and uncovering the grates. They’re also asking residents to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, around mailboxes and fire hydrants.

The National Weather Service has a flood advisory in effect for several southeastern Washington and north Idaho counties. Paradise Creek in and around Moscow was one of the expected problem areas with minor flooding possible. Whitman County Emergency Services Director Bill Tensfeld says there has been high water in areas, but nothing out of the ordinary.

"It’s fine. It’s just a few little spots, localized flooding over the roads, but, for the most part, everything was running down the ditch and into the creeks," said Whitman County Emergency Management Director Bill Tensfeld.

He says the worst seems to have passed, though there may still be rural roads with covered with patches of water. But, in general, travel conditions improved today. Roads are bare and wet at Snoqualmie and Lookout passes. Stevens Pass in the Washington Cascades remains closed due to icy conditions. There’s no estimate yet for when it will be reopened.

Southwest Airlines closures that are plaguing airports and travelers around the country are also affecting Spokane. More than a dozen Southwest flights in and out of Spokane were cancelled today. A few other flights involving other carriers were also affected, but, all in all, operations seem to be getting back to normal.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.