Weather transition could bring slick conditions

Freezing rain in the forecast for much of S.W. Washington early Wednesday

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

Updated: January 22, 2013, 8:40 PM

 

Be warned: This morning’s commute could be a slick one.

With possible freezing rain in the forecast for much of Southwest Washington, road crews planned to spend the night bracing for icy conditions. Motorists should be ready, too, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.

Forecasters expect a shifting weather pattern to bring warmer, wetter conditions to the area early Wednesday, Jan. 23. At the same time, a cold air mass will keep lower elevations below freezing for much of the morning. That’s a recipe for freezing rain and ice. Vancouver could see as much as a tenth of an inch of accumulation, according to the weather service.

A freezing rain advisory is in effect from 4 a.m. to noon Wednesday. The main threat of freezing rain will last from 6 to 10 a.m., forecasters said.

The Washington State Department of Transportation planned to begin treating highways in Clark County at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The agency sent out four trucks at first, with another five trucks set to come on shift at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Local agencies urged commuters to follow familiar tips for driving in wintry conditions. Slow down. Don’t follow too close. Allow for extra time to get to where you’re going.

Any precipitation in Clark County should switch to all rain by Wednesday afternoon, according to the weather service. But farther east, the Columbia River Gorge could see wintry conditions persist well into Wednesday evening. There, a winter weather advisory remains in effect until late Wednesday.

The shift in weather will end a bit of a dry, colder-than-average streak for the region. Under intermittent fog and clear skies, temperatures dipped into the low 20s and even high teens during the past several days.

Forecasters expect Wednesday’s high temperature to climb into the mid-40s as moisture returns. The chance for rain should linger at least into next week, according to the weather service.