Winter storm drops snow on Cascade passes

SEATTLE (AP) - A winter storm has brought snow and freezing rain to the Cascade passes and much of Eastern Washington.

The state Transportation Department required chains on Wednesday morning on Snoqualmie Pass. Accidents were snarling the morning commute in snowy Spokane, and 3 inches of snow closed schools in Moses Lake.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning until Wednesday afternoon for freezing rain in the Cascade passes. Hazardous driving conditions were expected in Snoqualmie, Stevens and White passes before the precipitation changed to rain or snow. Snow accumulations should be less than 6 inches at pass level but higher at increased elevations.

Classes were cancelled in many small school districts across the Palouse, where roads were covered with snow and ice.

The morning commute was snarled in Spokane, with numerous accidents reported on Interstate 90. The region's snow plows were out in force.

However, the National Weather Service said the threat would ease during the day.'

The moisture was a welcome sight to those who worried that the lack of winter rain and snow could lead to drought conditions this summer. At least 3 inches of snow were on the ground in Spokane.

Rain showers are expected to continue through Thursday, with highs expected to be near freezing and lows in the 20s during the next several days.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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