In Vancouver, rain, rain, persistent rain

It’s been a really wet month -- and most of next week doesn’t look much different

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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Relentless rainfall this week pushed Vancouver’s rain gauge into impressive territory, but this month’s total may not be enough to eclipse a nearly century-old record.

By 5 p.m. Friday, the city had tallied 7.22 inches of rain for the month of March, according to the National Weather Service. The wettest March on record happened in 1916, when 8.38 inches fell.

With one day to go in the month -- and plenty more rain in the forecast -- that record may be safe despite a late push.

“We’re running out of time,” said Clinton Rockey, a meteorologist with the weather service in Portland.

A blast of moisture arriving late this week dumped more than an inch of rain in Vancouver on Thursday. It continued into Friday, swelling local creeks and streams, including Salmon Creek. By Friday afternoon, the weather service had issued flood advisories in Clark County and most of Western Oregon. High water and localized flooding remains a possibility at least through Saturday, March 31, according to the weather service.

Rain tapered some Friday afternoon. But another strong dose of moisture was expected to arrive Friday night and last into Saturday, March 31, according to the weather service.

The latest shot of rain comes as transportation officials prepare to repair minor storm damage to state Highway 501 east of Ridgefield. In April, Washington State Department of Transportation crews will fix a small hole on the highway’s shoulder and a guard rail damaged by a slide in February. During much of the Northwest’s rainy season, that’s par for the course, said WSDOT spokeswoman Abbi Russell.

“It’s actually pretty common, especially this time of year,” Russell said.

Thursday’s rainfall total of 1.26 inches in Vancouver set a new record for that date, according to Steve Pierce, Columbian weather blogger and president of the Oregon chapter of the Oregon Meteorological Society. Yakima and Astoria, Ore., also set records, as did several other places, Pierce said.

This week’s impressive numbers cap a wild March that also brought one of the latest days of measurable snow in Vancouver’s history.

Don’t expect a drastic change in the weather anytime soon. The rain may break into showers by Saturday night and Sunday, but most of the next week looks wet, according to the weather service. High temperatures are expected to land mostly in the 50s.