Snow, sleet largely bypass metro area

Higher elevations could experience slick roads

By Craig Brown and Erik Hidle

Published:

Updated: December 20, 2013, 9:18 AM

 

As warm air and moisture raced toward the Vancouver area Thursday night, the smart money was on the snow and sleet arriving first.

But as it turned out, the warm air won.

Even as Clark County commuters began their day under the threat of snow, sleet and freezing rain, the temperatures were already above freezing.

A winter weather advisory was issued for Clark County by the National Weather Service, but slick roads largely failed to materialize.

Andy Bryant, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, said the forecast remains "on track" but rising temperatures could mean precipitation shows up as the rain variety, rather than snow.

"In the next hour or two it's probably all going to charge to rain," Bryant said at 7:45 a.m. "Temperatures will rise into the 40s by the afternoon, so we've just got to get through the next couple hours and we'll be back to another rainy day."

C-Tran reported light freezing rain beginning in Washougal at 6:20 a.m. according to radio traffic monitored by The Columbian. By 6:30, light snow was falling in the Salmon Creek area, but it wasn't slowing traffic. It was snowing in Battle Ground by 7 a.m., but failed to accumulate.

Green Mountain was the only local district to report school closures or delays as of 8:15 a.m., but updates are available on our school closures page.

The updated timing is slightly later than what was forecast Thursday afternoon.

It was 34 degrees at Vancouver's Pearson Field just before 6 a.m., an early clue that the metro area would escape the brunt of the storm.

Travelers heading north to the Seattle area should expect some difficulty over the next few hours. Webcams showed snow on Interstate 5, and the early signs of what could be a slow and difficult morning commute for Puget Sound residents.