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News / Clark County News

Wind, rain hit Clark County with thousands of power outages and standing water on roads

By Nika Bartoo-Smith, Columbian staff reporter
Published: December 27, 2022, 1:50pm
2 Photos
A motorist navigates a pool of standing water underneath the Interstate Bridge on Tuesday morning, Dec. 27, 2022.
A motorist navigates a pool of standing water underneath the Interstate Bridge on Tuesday morning, Dec. 27, 2022. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Severe weather continues to rage throughout Clark County and officials are urging residents to stay up-to-date on weather warnings to stay safe. But the worst may already be behind us.

“Today’s going to be all of the action, or most of it,” said Miles Higa, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Portland, on Tuesday.

Wednesday’s forecast calls for showers, with winds of less than 10 mph.

Through Monday night into Tuesday, the Portland metro area saw near-record amounts of rainfall, according to Higa. Monday, 2.12 inches of rain were recorded at Portland International Airport. That’s close to the daily record, 2.17 inches in 1941, according to Higa.

The weather station at Pearson Field in Vancouver reported at least another inch of rain fell on Tuesday.

The rain caused minor, localized flooding. Clark County Public works has sandbags available for residents for free at 4700 N.E. 78th St. and 11609 N.E. 149th St. People will need to fill their own bags, though the bags and sand are provided. Supplies will be available all hours of the day, all days of the week, according to the website.

“Residents are reminded to never walk, ride or drive through water if they can’t tell how deep it is. Water six inches deep can sweep an adult off their feet,” the Clark County Public Works website reminds residents. “Drivers should always abide by closure and caution signage that may be posted in areas of flooding, downed trees, or other storm impacts.”     

Wind was another factor. Sustained wind from the south at almost 20 mph, with some gusts exceeding 30 mph, were recorded throughout Tuesday at Pearson. A wind advisory was due to expire at 7 p.m.

As of 2:45 p.m., Clark Public Utilities had 30,747 customers reporting power outages throughout Clark County, with another 34,864 customers recently restored, according to the website.

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There were 50 known power outages throughout the area as of 12:30 p.m., according to Dameon Pesanti, media specialist at Clark Public Utilities.

Clark Public Utilities recommends that all households have an outage kit, holding three days’ worth of supplies for everyone in the house.

“Every kit should contain flashlights, extra batteries and a power bank for necessary electronic devices. Canned or nonperishable food, a manual can opener, a multi-tool, a small radio and a first aid kit should also be in there,” said Pesanti. “It should also include the family’s specific needs.”

Those with a vehicle should keep it filled with at least a half tank of fuel so it could be used for warming up or charging devices. Gas-powered generators should be operated far from windows or furnace intake vents and never in a garage or under a carport, according to Pesanti.

Crews from the City of Vancouver Public Works have been responding to calls related to the rain and wind since Monday afternoon, according to Brooke Porter, communications specialist for the City of Vancouver Public Works. The stormwater crew is responding to calls about high water levels and the street crews are working to keep main routes clear.

Clark County Public Works is working to keep the community updated on closures and other safety information on its Facebook page.

Clark County Public Works urges residents to report standing water or storm debris on roads and in parks by visiting clark.wa.gov/public-works/report-park-road or calling 564-397-2446. To report a power outage visit www.clarkpublicutilities.com/outages-safety/ or call 360-992-8000.

In the Vancouver city limits, call Vancouver Public Works dispatch at 360-487-8177 and select “0” to reach a customer service representative during regular business hours. For urgent issues after hours or on a holiday, follow the prompts to reach an answering service. Nonurgent issues can also be reported online.

Editor’s note: Brooke Porter is the communications specialist with the city of Vancouver. Her agency was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

Columbian staff reporter