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In The Northwest, A Light Dusting To Some, A Whole Lot Of Snow To Others

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network
Snow in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

The Northwest is finally getting a dose of the icy cold weather we've been hearing about this winter from the rest of the country.

Snow has prompted school closures and early releases in parts of Oregon and southwest Washington; the Oregon legislature has shut down; meanwhile in Boise, the forecast calls for snow through Saturday.

Western parts of the region may be able to learn something from north Idaho.

When Shawn Woodward took a job in north Idaho a year and a half ago, he wasn't quite ready for the weather. Woodward came from Poulsbo, Wash., on Puget Sound. He's now the superintendent of schools in Sandpoint, Idaho.

“The very first time it snowed, oh there was about 10 inches of snow on my deck," says Woodward. "And I thought, 'Oh my gosh! We're going to have to cancel school.'”

Yet, school went on, the roads were quickly plowed, “And then I started to understand, OK, things are a little bit different around here.”

Woodward says north Idaho drivers are used to the snow and know to pace themselves. But it's not just that. Cities are also better equipped.

Take Sandpoint, population 7,000. It owns more snowplows than Corvallis, Ore. And that city has 55,000 people. Corvallis is now plowing around the clock, trying to keep up with the snowstorm.

But even Sandpoint had to cancel school for the first time this year. Wind chill is expected to reach -21 this week and some kids have a long walk to the bus stop.