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News / Clark County News

Commute begins without freezing rain

K-12 schools closed, no garbage service

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor, and
Craig Brown, Columbian Editor
Published: February 8, 2014, 4:00pm
2 Photos
Dee Clingan walks along Northwest 43rd Street on an icy Sunday in Vancouver.
Dee Clingan walks along Northwest 43rd Street on an icy Sunday in Vancouver. Forecasters say there's a chance freezing rain will affect this morning's commute. Photo Gallery

The snow and freezing rain that fell on Clark County late last week is slowly melting, but many schools in the area are closed today, and weather forecasters say the morning commute could still be dicey in spots.

The Vancouver metro area is under a freezing rain advisory from 4 a.m. until noon today, according to a National Weather Service announcement updated at 3:35 a.m.

Freezing drizzle could add a very thin coat of ice to roads in a few places. It’s expected to create the biggest problems on the east side of the metro area and on bridges.

At 4:53 a.m. it was 32 degrees in Vancouver. No measurable precipitation had fallen in 12 hours. Weather radar showed rain along the Oregon Coast, but no moisture was over the metro area. It could rain by lunchtime as that system moves east.

Even without freezing rain, streets rutted with snow will be slick as they turn soft, then slushy.

C-Tran announced snow detours: 2 Lincoln, 7 Battle Ground, 9 Felida, 19 Salmon Creek, 32 Evergreen/Andresen, 32 Hazel Dell and 47 Battle Ground Limited (no Yacolt service). Suspended and not operating: Connectors in Camas, Ridgefield and La Center.

Sunday’ situation

A similar icy-roads advisory was in effect for most of Sunday, and several flights were canceled at the Portland International Airport. This morning, flights were operating. Check the latest status of your flight on the Port of Portland’s website.

By Sunday evening, several main roads in Vancouver were cleared, but side streets remained slick or slushy, officials warned.

Vehicles on state Highway 14 east of Washougal required traction tires on Sunday. Heavy vehicles required chains.

The weather service also warned people on Sunday to avoid walking under trees, which could have fallen under the weight of accumulated ice. Downed trees or branches also can lead to power outages, though few outages were reported in Clark County on Sunday.

Road crews with the city of Vancouver and the county worked around the clock to respond to the snow and freezing rain. Clark County crews were scheduled back at work at 1:30 a.m. today to try to clear roads before the morning commute.

That said, “commuters should plan ahead for slower traffic speeds and longer travel times,” county officials said Sunday in a news release. “There may be packed snow and ice on residential streets. In addition, slushy roads can be slick, and drivers should slow down and allow plenty of room for stopping and turning.”

School closures, no garbage service

The forecast prompted virtually all Clark County K-12 school districts and most private schools to cancel today’s classes. At Clark College classes are canceled and offices are closed until noon. WSU Vancouver will open at 11 a.m. Check The Columbian’s school closures page for latest details.

Waste Connections of Washington, which oversees garbage and recycling pickup in Vancouver and Clark County, canceled its services for today. Customers can set out twice the amount of waste next Monday at no extra charge, Vancouver city officials said.

Meanwhile, the Firstenburg, Marshall and Vancouver Tennis centers are expected to be open at 8 a.m. Monday, “unless conditions worsen significantly,” according to a news release from the Vancouver Parks and Recreation Department.

A foot of snow

The snowstorm that began blowing through the Portland metro area Thursday ended up dumping a foot of snow in some Clark County areas by Sunday.

Salmon Creek, Ridgefield and Woodland saw 12 inches of snow, according to estimates provided by the Portland National Weather Service. West Vancouver saw 9 inches. The Camas and Washougal area saw about 4 inches of snowfall.

“It’s rare to see a storm like this,” Andy Bryant, a hydrologist at Portland’s National Weather Service, said Sunday. “It’s been 10 years since we’ve had this type of snow and freezing rain, and it’s been five years since we’ve had several inches of low-elevation snow that was widespread.”

Later Monday, temperatures in the 40s are expected, along with rain, Bryant said.

The weather service will keep an eye on water levels, but officials so far aren’t expecting significant flooding, he added.

Columbian Assistant Metro Editor