msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/5/2009 10:46:48 AM ET 2009-01-05T15:46:48

Storms swirled over the Northwest on Monday, dumping snow from Washington state to Northern California.

The Seattle area was surprised with up to 3 inches of snow overnight. By morning, however, temperatures and risen and rain was in the forecast for several days.

The major mountain highway pass connecting Western Washington to the east was again closed Monday due to avalanche danger.

On the eastern side of Washington state, many schools closed in Spokane and the city was largely shut down as up to 8 inches of new snow fell.

Spokane has already received an amazing 77.6 inches of snow this winter, and appears likely to surpass the local record of 93.5 inches set in the winter of 1949-50. The heaviest snowfall typically occurs in January and February.

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 across Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Range were reopened Monday afternoon after being closed overnight by heavy snow. The westbound lanes remained closed.

For almost three weeks, many city and county snowplow drivers have worked 12-hour shifts without a day's break. The city asked for volunteers to work on Christmas and New Year's — at double-time pay.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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