Snowfall creates concerns

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(Photo courtesy SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN RESORT) A Schweitzer Ski Patrol member trains with the resort’s avalanche rescue dogs.

SANDPOINT — Two people were buried in the snow Wednesday after Schweitzer Mountain Resort saw 12 inches of new snow overnight, with an additional eight inches by Wednesday afternoon.

"They were dug out immediately and there were no injuries," said Dig Chrismer, Schweitzer's marketing manager. "Because of the sheer volume of snow, that can happen."

It was not an avalanche, she said, but due to the consistency of the snow, some natural sloughing occurred.

Chrismer said it is important, particularly in these conditions, to ski with a buddy and make sure to stay close to one another and to keep an eye on each other.

Crews were out patrolling and performing avalanche mitigation on Wednesday, she said. As more snow was in the forecast for Wednesday night — up to eight inches in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service office in Spokane— extra patrol was scheduled for the morning to get the terrain open as quickly as possible.

According to the NWS report for Wednesday night, mountains were expected to receive an additional three to six inches, with up to eight for some locations in the northern Idaho Panhandle. The NWS warns of slick roads for commutes this morning, as about two inches was expected in the valleys and lower terrain of the Idaho Panhandle.

Winter storm warnings remain in effect for many of the mountainous areas of the Inland Northwest for continued impacts from snow, according to the NWS. Conditions will gradually improve by Thursday but expect an active pattern to return for the weekend. Periods of rain and snow, heavy at times, will linger through Sunday.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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