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Fog returns in the middle of a record holiday travel season in Spokane

by Staff

Dense fog and misty rain accompanied travelers touching down at Spokane International Airport on Tuesday during what is projected to be a record holiday travel season.

While Christmas Day was clear and sunny, low-lying clouds settled in overnight and sprinkled a dusting of snow on the ground Tuesday morning.

Despite the weather, most flights were on time and there were no cancellations as of Tuesday afternoon, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Travelers arriving at the airport said their flights were smooth without major problems.

Jum Lyndes, who arrived from New Hampshire to visit family in Idaho and has flown into Spokane several times, said it was a typical travel experience.

“Same as always,” he said.

Alicia Phillips, who lives in Nine Mile Falls, returned from a one-way flight from Minneapolis, after she delivered a car to her son who goes to college there. She had no problems during her trip.

“This airport is always so easy,” Phillips said.

The Minneapolis airport was busy, but seemed prepared for it, she said. The weather in the Twin Cities was a balmy 50 degrees.

Lyndes and Phillips are among a record 200,000 passengers scheduled to arrive or depart through the airport in the two-week period that ends Jan. 2. That represents an 11% increase over last year, a news release from the airport said.

Thursday and Friday are expected to be the busiest this week with more than 15,000 travelers on those days.

The airport’s long -term parking lots and garages are full except for economy overflow.

During the holiday season, travelers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before the scheduled boarding time for their flight, airport officials said.

Earlier this month AAA predicted this would also be a record-breaking season for holiday air travel across the country. About 7.5 million air travelers are forecast over the 10-day period from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1, surpassing 2019’s record of 7.3 million passengers.

Although Spokane’s snow melted by the afternoon, it stuck at some higher elevations, said Daniel Butler, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Spokane.

Stevens Pass on U.S. Highway 2 in the Cascades recorded 6 inches of snow and Sherman Pass in Colville National Forest in recorded 2 inches.

Light rain or snow is possible through the rest of the week in the metro area, but no significant impacts are expected for the rest of the year.

“The fog will be the main story this week,” Butler said.

With a surge of warmer air coming in, the fog likely will stick around. Motorists should slow down and expect reduced visibility, Butler said.

Temperatures could reach into the lower 40s or stay in the 30s.

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