Snow, possible ice could create messy commute Tuesday

Light snow falls Monday night as cold snap lingers; hazardous driving conditions could follow

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

 

Lingering cold mixed with possible moisture could deliver the right ingredients for a messy morning commute Tuesday in Clark County.

Forecasters expected a chance of wintry precipitation β€” either freezing drizzle or snow β€” late Monday into Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Portland. The combination could produce both snow and ice accumulation in places, according to the weather service.

Monday evening snow was reported in parts of the county.

Wintry weather is notoriously difficult to predict in the Northwest. But if any precipitation materializes, the result could be slick roads and dangerous driving conditions.

"Anytime there's freezing drizzle, it becomes hazardous," said weather service meteorologist Tyree Wilde.

Forecasters issued a winter weather advisory for parts of Southwest Washington and northwest Oregon, including much of Clark County, effective until Tuesday afternoon.

In anticipation of possible snow and ice, the Washington State Department of Transportation on Monday reiterated familiar tips for driving in snow and ice. People should slow down, leave extra room on the roadway and extra time to reach their destinations, according to WSDOT. And if there's ice on the road, four-wheel- and all-wheel-drive vehicles won't stop or steer any better, the agency said.

Temperatures haven't cracked the freezing mark, day or night, since last week. The bitter cold snap pushed lows into single digits in Vancouver and elsewhere over the weekend.

The arctic blast continued to cause minor havoc on Monday. In Camas, Union High School closed after a heating system failed. Weather-related heating and water issues also affected Battle Ground City Hall, Battle Ground's CAM Academy and Vancouver's Franklin Elementary School. But there weren't a rash of power outages across the county, according to Clark Public Utilities spokeswoman Erica Erland.

The threat of low-elevation snow or freezing rain might not end Tuesday morning, according to the weather service. The weather service reports a slight chance of snow before 10 p.m. Tuesday, and areas of freezing fog after 10 p.m.

Temperatures should return to seasonal norms by the end of this week, according to the weather service.

Columbian staff writers Tyler Graf and Susan Parrish contributed to this story.