Heavy rains drench roadways, slow morning commute

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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Heavy rain Thursday drenched the roadways in Clark County and Portland, causing crashes and traffic delays throughout the morning commute.

Several minor crashes were reported on Clark County arterials, including two crashes on the southbound lanes of the Interstate Bridge and one on Interstate 205 near Mill Plain Boulevard. All of the crashes were cleared quickly, however their effects lingered for hours. Oregon Department of Transportation alsoreported that a crash on Interstate 205 near Highway 30 closed a lane just north of the Interstate 84 onramp.

“It’s tough for traffic to recover, especially during peak times in the morning,” said Bart Treece, spokesman for Washington State Department of Transportation.

Thursday’s weather, Treece said, “is a good reminder that summer is over for the most part.”

He said motorists should remember to give themselves plenty of time to get to their destination and to make sure their vehicle’s equipment, such as wiper blades and tires, are in good condition. Drivers should adjust their driving for the conditions too, Treece said, including increasing the  distance between vehicles during inclement weather.

By 8 a.m., about 0.2 inches of rainfall was recorded at Pearson Field, National Weather Service meteorologist Miles Higa said, adding rain gauges in Portland and the metro area recorded similar amounts.

Intermittent showers continued through the day. Slightly more than half an inch of rain fell Thursday as of 4 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Numerous showers and possible thunderstorms spread east Thursday from the Coast Range into the Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River Gorge, the agency reported.

A short-lived funnel cloud was reported around 1:30 p.m. over Hillsboro, Ore., according to the weather service.

For Vancouver, the weekend might be partially dry, Higa said. The weather service predicts mostly sunny skies with a high of 74 degrees Saturday.

“We’re starting the very beginning of our rainy season,” he said.

There’s a slight chance of rain Sunday, according to forecasters. The sky over Clark County is expected to be partly cloudy until Wednesday night, when a slight chance of rain is forecast. Early next week, high temperatures are expected to reach the mid-70s, with low temperatures in the 50s.