UPDATE: Week could bring medley of winter weather

Forecast suggests a vigorous mix of changing conditions

By Eric Florip and Paul Suarez


Updated: January 16, 2012, 6:22 PM


Photo gallery

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

Do you have photos of the snow? E-mail them to matt.wastradowski... to get them included in the gallery.

When snow is forecast, I...

  • Pay attention to the forecast and get ready in case the roads get snowy and the power goes out. 33%
  • Pay attention to the forecast, but don't do much to prepare. 25%
  • Would bet $5 that it will be too warm and too dry to snow. 41%

302 total votes.

After fleeting snow flurries teased much of Clark County over the holiday weekend, forecasters predict another system will bring a strong dose of wintry weather during the next couple of days.

Expect more than snow this time around: An active week could also bring ice, sleet, heavy rain and wind to the Portland-Vancouver area.

“We could have the whole shebang, pretty much,” said Liana Ramirez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland. “It will be really interesting to see how it pans out.”

The best chance for significant snow at low elevations arrives Tuesday night. As much as a few inches could fall in places Tuesday night into early Wednesday, according to the weather service. But if anything sticks, it won’t stay long — later Wednesday, temperatures will rise, and the snow level will shoot back up to nearly 4,000 feet, according to the weather service. That transition period is when ice, sleet or freezing rain could develop, Ramirez said.

The shift won’t mean calmer weather. Heavy rain continuing into the weekend will cause some rivers and streams to rise by the end of the week, according to the weather service. “Several inches” of rain could fall between Wednesday and the beginning of next week, Ramirez said.

Forewarned is forearmed

Monday’s wintry prospects prompted the weather service to issue a wide array of special statements and warnings. Vancouver alone saw five posted — among them a winter weather advisory and a winter storm watch. Forecasters wanted to get the word out ahead of what could be a messy morning commute Tuesday and Wednesday, Ramirez said.

“We’re trying to really emphasize that people should take their time and plan accordingly,” she said.

Tuesday’s forecast for Vancouver calls for snow showers in the morning, turning to rain later in the day. Temperatures will hover mostly in the 30s, according to the weather service.

Over the weekend, snow accumulation was hit-and-miss across Clark County. Forecasters knew temperatures would be cold enough for snow, Ramirez said, but a showery, spotty system made it tough to pin down where flakes would fall. The same will be true this week, she said.

People who returned to work Monday encountered some slick road conditions in places, but nothing that caused any major problems, local emergency responders said.

Clark County Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy said roads were free of ice and snow near Ridgefield on Monday, but temperatures were hovering near freezing. He said it was a pretty quiet morning for his organization despite “ominous forecasts.”

There was snow on some roads in north Clark County, but amazingly no weather-related accidents, said Tom Ryan, a paramedic with North County Emergency Medical Services.

Eric Florip: 360-735-4541; http://twitter.com/col_enviro; eric.florip@columbian.com.