Snow springs surprise on Clark County

Date among latest ever for such weather locally

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

 
photoSpring snow covered much of the area by Thursday morning, including an old Dodge pickup truck in Vancouver’s Lincoln neighborhood.

(/The Columbian)

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Vancouver woke up to a fresh blanket of snow Thursday -- the third day of spring, and one of the latest dates of measurable snow the city has ever seen.

But this week’s wintry blast wasn’t a record-setter as timing goes. Vancouver saw later snow in 1936, when 1.5 inches fell on March 28, followed by another 0.7 inches on March 31, according to the National Weather Service. A dose of spring snow also produced 1.3 inches on March 29, 1924.

“They don’t happen very often, that’s for sure,” said Clinton Rockey, a meteorologist with the weather service in Portland.

Rockey estimated that Thursday’s storm delivered anywhere from half an inch to a couple inches of snow on the ground in Vancouver, depending on location. Official totals were not available.

This week’s cold, however, has matched a record that goes back almost a century, according to Steve Pierce, Columbian weather blogger and president of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

Vancouver’s high temperature Wednesday was just 41 degrees. That tied a March 21 record for the coldest daytime high, set in 1913, Pierce said.

The Portland International Airport reached only 39 degrees Wednesday -- that’s almost 20 degrees below normal, and less than the average overnight low for this time of year.

This week’s wintry weather prompted a slew of school closures and delays in the Northwest. The Washington State Department of Transportation also extended the studded tire season to April 16. Studs usually have to be off by the end of March.

Conditions will warm up slightly by this weekend, but don’t expect a dramatic change to springtime weather anytime soon. Temperatures will remain below average into next week, with rain and showers lingering for several days.

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