Wednesday, March 29, 2023
March 29, 2023

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Plenty of rain falls amid scattered light snow

Clark County, region see some snowfall, but Vancouver’s weekend ends with flooding primary road hazard

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
4 Photos
Drivers navigate standing water Sunday afternoon on state Highway 503 near Northeast 87th Street in the Orchards area.
Drivers navigate standing water Sunday afternoon on state Highway 503 near Northeast 87th Street in the Orchards area. (Photos by Steve Dipaola for the Columbian) Photo Gallery

Snow predictions didn’t come true in the most populated parts of Clark County on Sunday, but residents saw plenty of rainfall and some flooded roadways.

The county was under a National Weather Service winter weather advisory, which earlier predicted anywhere from a dusting to a foot of snow for the Vancouver area. By Sunday evening, when snow hadn’t accumulated in the lowlands, forecasters softened the advisory, predicting the possibility of up to 3 inches of snowfall at elevations of around 1,000 feet until 7 p.m. Monday.

The county and the Portland metro area also remain under a flood watch expected to last through 4 p.m. Tuesday.

In Clark County on Sunday, the large amount of rainfall was evident. Along the Salmon Creek Trail, the creek appeared close to cresting in some spots. On state Highway 503 in the Orchards area, drivers slowed down to traverse several inches of water on the roadway near Northeast 87th Street. Farther down the road, water spurted up from the holes of a manhole cover.

More than an inch of rain fell at Pearson Field in Vancouver, according to weather service data.

The question forecasters tried to answer ahead of Sunday was whether the temperature would drop low enough to turn the heavy precipitation into substantial snow.

The low at Pearson Field ended up being 35 degrees Sunday. There may have been flakes in the air in parts of Vancouver, but that was about it.

“It was trying. We were right on the edge,” weather service meteorologist Paul Tolleson said.

He said Sunday evening that there remained a slight chance of snow making an appearance in the metro area, which could affect Monday morning’s commute. He added that Sunday’s weather wasn’t the typical kind of local winter storm in which east winds blow from the Columbia River Gorge — and that made it more difficult to predict.

Less populated areas in Clark County at higher elevations, however, did see some snow on the ground Sunday, according to reports on social media. Snow did accumulate a bit north of the Ridgefield area, briefly in Battle Ground, and up to 3 inches in higher-elevation spots north of Camas, according to citizen reports, Tolleson said.

Just outside of the county — to the north in Cowlitz County and to the west in Oregon — temperatures also dipped low enough for snow accumulation. The cold air just hadn’t made its way into Vancouver and Portland by Sunday night.

“It just stalled there the rest of the day and this evening,” Tolleson said.

Columbian Assistant Metro Editor