Snow slicks roads across the state

Early spring snowfall caused problems Thursday on both sides of the Cascades in Washington, including a fatal crash east of Auburn.

Winterlike weather prompted the state Department of Transportation to extend the deadline for removing studded snow tires to April 5 from April 1, department official Chris Christopher said.

A 61-year-old woman died instantly when her car slid broadside into a parked State Patrol vehicle on Highway 18. As much as 5 inches of snow were reported in some areas southeast of Seattle overnight, and Highway 18 was closed through the morning commute because of the pileup.

According to a patrol report, troopers were investigating a number of spinout crashes and an apparent drunken-driving case when the woman’s late-model sedan went out of control and slammed into a patrol car parked on the eastbound shoulder about 3 a.m. No troopers were injured.

In the southeast corner of the state, whiteout conditions were reported in much of the Palouse.

A winter storm warning was issued for Pullman north to the Spokane area. Highway 195 was closed between Pullman and Colton, and troopers reported a number of spinouts involving tractor-trailer rigs.

The highway reopened after about four hours.

School openings were delayed in a number of districts in the Puget Sound area and around Spokane and the Palouse.

The National Weather Service canceled a heavy snow warning for the region Thursday morning after the storm moved east after dumping as much as 6 inches.

The weather service said a record was set in Davenport, west of Spokane, where 3.4 inches of snow fell in 24 hours. That breaks the previous record of 1.5 inches set in 1985.

Avista Utilities reported power outages to about 400 customers in Davenport and Colville.

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