Spokane schools closed after record snowfall overnight

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Thousands are without power in Spokane this morning after a snowstorm blanketed the city with more than three inches of snow.

According to the National Weather Service in Spokane, the airport got 3.3 inches of snow Tuesday, breaking the record set in 1981.

The snowstorm downed tree branches and power lines, causing widespread power outages. More than 20,000 people were still without power at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Emergency responders were swamped with calls, and 9-1-1 operators said they were unable to respond to some situations due to "volume of calls" into their dispatch center, according to KHQ.

The Spokane School District closed schools Wednesday because of power outages and poor road conditions. Police said many of the city's traffic signals were out early Wednesday morning.

Spokane wasn't the only part of Washington that got an early snowfall yesterday. Traction tires were required at Stevens and Snoqualmie passes for much of the day. Stevens got about a foot of snow, and Snoqualmie got a few inches.

This is the second early snowfall for Spokane this year. The city got 1.4 inches of snow the weekend of Sept. 27-28, the first measurable snowfall for that weekend since record-keeping began in 1881.

Is this early snowfall a harbinger of what's to come this winter?

The Farmers Almanac is predicting a cold and snowy winter ahead.