Dry summer ends with a deluge

Six days in, typical September totals already in the books

By Eric Florip, Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter and Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



A strong band of rain and thunderstorms dumped more rain on Vancouver in 24 hours than fell in all of July, August and the first few days of September — combined.

The city recorded 1.33 inches of rain from 11 a.m. Thursday to 11 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.

The rain also set a daily record for Sept. 6, said Steve Pierce, president of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society. And it assured that Vancouver won’t have a statistically dry September.

“We have picked up an entire month’s worth of September rainfall in just the first six days,” Pierce said in an email. “Vancouver typically receives about 1.50 (inches) of rainfall each September.”

The rain tapered off across much of the region later Friday. But not before causing some minor urban flooding and other havoc locally.

Washington State Patrol responded to several crashes overnight, though Trooper Will Finn could confirm only that one was weather-related. Water on the roadway caused a crash at Interstate 5 near Interstate 205 in Salmon Creek at about 5 a.m.

“There was some hydroplaning there,” Finn said.

A tree reportedly fell across Northwest Spencer Road, about a mile south of Northwest Timmen Road south of La Center. The hazard was reported about 6:45 a.m. but was cleared by 8 a.m.

Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Abbi Russell said there was ponding on Interstate 5 in Vancouver. The department reminded motorists to drive for the wet conditions, which means slowing down and leaving more space between cars.

“It’s like we get rain amnesia,” she said. “It’s something we forget. Every time we have our first big rain we see a lot of collisions and a lot of issues.”

Vancouver was far from the wettest spot as a result of this week’s storm. Turner, Ore., near Salem, saw 4.75 inches of rain in 24 hours as of Friday morning. Farther south, Albany and Scio also both topped 4 inches during the same period.

In Southwest Washington, Kalama saw 2.49 inches of precipitation. Castle Rock recorded 2.64 inches, and Brush Prairie added 2.24 inches to the rain gauge.

This week’s shot of fall-like weather will be fleeting, according to weather service. Sunny skies are expected this weekend, and high temperatures in Vancouver could climb to near 90 by Tuesday, according to the weather service. Forecasters expect warm, clear conditions to continue at least through the latter part of next week.