Snow threat lingers for Tuesday

Few flakes fall Sunday, but that could change; Monday commute may be icy

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: January 15, 2012, 11:26 PM

 
photoThe view from Aspen Avenue in La Center on Sunday.

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photoA lone windmill serves as a backdrop to noble fir trees about four miles north of La Center. The Christmas tree farm is owned by Jim and Karen Ehlbeck.

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photoThe scene in the Highlands neighborhood outside of La Center on Sunday.

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LIVE CHAT MONDAY

Concerned about your commute? If the snow falls and sticks around, causing Monday morning headaches around the county, we’ll host a web chat with Columbian.com weather blogger Steve Pierce and offer live coverage throughout the day. If the snow falls, join the conversation Monday morning at http://www.columb...

Photo gallery

Check out user-submitted photos of snowfall in Clark County.

User-submitted photos

Check out user-submitted photos of snowfall in Clark County.

If you have snow, please comment here and send snow photos to: matt.wastradowski@columbian.com.

LA CENTER — Most of Clark County struck out on getting snow Sunday, but there’s still a chance that snow is on the way, the National Weather Service says.

“We still expect snow,” meteorologist Treena Hartley said Sunday afternoon. “By Tuesday morning, above 300 feet, I think there will be more sticking than this (Sunday) event.” Hartley lives in east Vancouver.

As for the Monday morning commute, watch for icy spots, said the weather service’s Clinton Rockey.

 “Our big concern is that moisture on the ground is going to try to freeze up in the overnight hours,” Rockey said Sunday night. He said Clark County morning temperatures are expected to be 28 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

And Rockey predicted that Tuesday morning “could be steady snow,” even in low elevations.

If you wanted snow Sunday, you should have headed for the high land.

That’s the Highland neighborhood north of La Center. It looked like a picture postcard with about 2 inches on the ground.

“Oh, I love it,” said Kaye Ney, of the Highland area, as she gazed out her front door. But she added, “I don’t like to drive in it.”

Ney lives on 40 acres her parents bought in 1962. A 1940s-era barn is on the property, along with fruit trees: fig, pear, apple and peach. Douglas firs provide a gorgeous backdrop.

Nearby, Karen Ehlbeck looked at her land and said, “It’s beautiful. Especially now that I’m retired.”

Karen and her husband, Jim, have 20 acres of trees at Highland Acres Christmas Tree Farm, about four miles above La Center.

A decorative sign near the front door seemed particularly appropriate on Sunday: “No more mowin’ … cause now it’s snowin’.”

Jim, who recently manufactured a blade for his tractor, became a one-man snow crew.

He plowed about a mile of road for his land and his neighbor’s on Sunday morning.

“There wasn’t much snow on the ground, but you never know,” Jim said.

Asked how he felt in his new role, he replied, “Cold.”

Snow was reported Sunday in other high-elevation areas of Clark County.

Hartley, of the weather service, said Livingston Mountain above Washougal reported 2 inches on the ground.

Columbian weather blogger Steve Pierce emailed: “I am getting reports of up to 3 inches just outside of Woodland.”

Scott Dubwide Elerick reported Sunday afternoon, “Lots of snow in the Hockinson Hills headed toward Larch (Mountain).”

As for the next two days, meteorologist Hartley said it’s complicated.

“We’re expecting another round of snow showers Monday night,” she said. “Those showers will be snow and rain below 200 to 300 feet.” A significant portion of Clark County is below 300 feet.

She said 32 degrees or lower is ideal for snow. At 2:25 p.m. Sunday, it was 36 degrees at the weather service at Portland International Airport.

Hartley said the area received snow because of “a really, real­ly cold air mass above us that dropped down from the north.”

But she added, “It’s really hard to get snow with onshore winds, which is what we have now.”

As for traffic problems, Clark County emergency officials said the only bad one was quite bad.

About 1:50 p.m. Sunday, officers said, cars were sliding off the L1400 Road in the Yacolt Burn near Larch Mountain.

An officer said, “It’s real bad. … It’s just a sheet of ice,” over the emergency radio system monitored at The Columbian. No serious injuries were reported.

A dispatcher said she understood 30 to 40 cars were backed up, stuck, or off the road.