As a winter storm rolled into Clark County, weather officials expected icy conditions today before thawing starts Saturday.
Temperatures plummeted Thursday, as strong wind gusts at one point drove the wind chill down to 5 degrees in Vancouver.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Portland expected precipitation to turn to freezing rain early this morning, which they said could stick around for about 24 hours.
Meteorologist Rebecca Muessle noted how cold the streets were by Thursday afternoon, with the models showing temperatures dropping overnight. Drivers should prepare for icy roads throughout today, she said, although the accumulation of freezing rain depended on a number of factors overnight Thursday.
The forecasted high temperature today is near 33 degrees and the low is near 30 degrees in Vancouver.
On Saturday, Muessle said it may take until about noon for the expected warm air to bring temperatures above freezing and return the precipitation back to rain. For those closer to the Columbia River Gorge, such as Camas and Washougal residents, the roads may not thaw out until Sunday, she said.
No one was injured Thursday morning when a large fir tree fell on a house in Vancouver’s Ellsworth Springs neighborhood.
Vancouver Fire Department spokesman Jesse Martin said it was unclear whether Thursday’s wind was to blame for the tree’s fall but that the wind was significant when crews arrived.
The fire department responded at about 11:30 a.m. to 10513 S.E. 14th St. A woman called 911 to report the tree had fallen on her neighbor’s house, and she was unsure if anyone was home at the time, according to a fire department news release.
Crews arrived to find the house was significantly damaged by the tree. Firefighters searched the house but found no one was home at the time, the news release states.
Vancouver’s Technical Rescue Team determined the structural damage meant the house should not be occupied. The homeowner is staying with family for the time being, the agency said.
As the storm advanced toward the metro area Thursday, agencies and businesses started announcing closures, cancellations and postponements.
The Clark County Joint Lobby at the Public Service Center was closed as of 2:30 p.m. Thursday and will remain closed today.
Joint Lobby staff will be working remotely and available by phone and email from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Treasurer services will still be available at 564-397-2252 or www.clark.wa.gov/treasurer. Auditor recording services will be available at 564-397-2208 or www.clark.wa.gov/auditor/recording-overview until 4:30 p.m.
The county elections and auto licensing offices at 1408 Franklin St. in Vancouver were closed at 3 p.m. Thursday and will also be closed today. Information on licensing subagents throughout the county can be found at https://clark.wa.gov/auditor/licensing-locations.
Vancouver Public Schools canceled all activities beginning at noon Thursday. The city of Vancouver also closed the Firstenburg and Marshall community centers at 6 p.m. Thursday, and they will remain closed today.
C-Tran announced The Vine would be serviced by 40-foot buses and said passengers should board at the stops adjacent to The Vine stations.
Washington State University Vancouver and Clark College closed campuses Thursday through Saturday.
Print delivery of The Columbian is suspended today and will resume when it is safe to deliver, said Rachel Rose, circulation director. Stories will continue to be posted at www.columbian.com, and the ePaper, available to all home delivery customers, will be published.