The Tri-Cities should look like it belongs on a Christmas card Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service predicted overnight snow would add 3 to 6 inches to snow already on the ground, potentially giving Mid-Columbia students another snow day off.
Check bit.ly/snowdelays for school delays or closures.
Snow began to fall in the Tri-Cities about 3 p.m. Wednesday, and the snowfall was expected to be heavier at times through the night.
There’s a small chance that more snow could fall Thursday morning before 11 a.m., but then skies should start to clear until at least Sunday, according to the weather service.
But with the clear skies will come unusually cold weather through at least Sunday.
The latest weather service forecast calls for lows that could fall to zero Friday night in the Tri-Cities. That would be almost 30 degrees below normal for the Tri-Cities.
The highs Friday though Sunday may be in the teens.
In anticipation of the cold weather, the living nativity performances on Friday and Saturday at Hillspring Church in Richland have been canceled. The weather is expected to be too cold for children and animals in the outdoor scenes.
People who have already bought tickets for those days can use them on other days, including performances added at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Check bit.ly/snowdelays for school delays or closures.
On Wednesday, Pasco, Kennewick, Richland and Finley school officials reported canceling after-school activities because of snow predicted for the region.
Kennewick High School’s wrestling event and the kindergarten activity night and action team for partnerships meeting at Westgate Elementary were canceled. Finley canceled a band concert.
Kiona-Benton City School District students already had the day off Wednesday, because of a combination of cold temperatures and a waterline break.
The Washington State University Tri-Cities campus closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with finals scheduled for Wednesday evening rescheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Most Hanford workers were sent home early Wednesday in a staggered release at 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. intended to help with traffic congestion. Swing shift also was canceled because of the weather. Energy Northwest workers, except those essential to the nuclear plant operation or other projects, went home at 2:30 p.m., and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory workers in Richland went home in the early afternoon.
Blowing snow and snow drifts forced the closure of 13 miles of Highway 241 for a time Wednesday night between Highway 24 and Interstate 82 at Sunnyside.
The Department of Energy canceled its meeting Wednesday night on a new facility planned to be added to the Hanford vitrification plant to support low-level radioactive waste treatment. The meeting has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Richland Public Library.
Runners in the Annual Lampson Cable Bridge Run on Saturday have been sent instructions to bundle up this year.
Weather is expected to be similar to 2008, when runners started the race in 10-degree temperatures and wind chills hit minus-5 while crews were setting up for the event, said Brent Kubalek, the Pasco city recreation services manager.
Participants should wear wool or mohair socks to wick away wetness, mittens and a hat, a scarf that can be pulled over their mouth during the run and lots of layers. Avoid cotton, which can trap moisture next to the body.
Runners can bring warm and dry clothes to change into after the race and drop them off between 7 and 8:15 a.m. to have them waiting at the finish line.
Pasco Fire Department safety tips: ▪ Don’t use your stove or oven to heat your home. ▪ Make sure your chimneys are clean and your home heaters are inspected every year. ▪ Make sure your smoke alarms are working in each level of your home and in each sleeping area. ▪ Do not use a torch to thaw frozen pipes. Instead, use heater tape, use a space heater with 3 feet of space around it or call a plumber.
Pasco Fire Department officials are warning people to be careful as temperatures dip later in the week.
Since the Tri-Cities does not get cold often, people are not usually prepared. Public education specialist Ben Shearer offered these tips:
▪ Don’t use your stove or oven to heat your home.
▪ Make sure your chimneys are clean and your home heaters are inspected every year.
▪ Make sure your smoke alarms are working in each level of your home and in each sleeping area.
▪ Do not use a torch to thaw frozen pipes. Instead, use heater tape, use a space heater with 3 feet of space around it or call a plumber.
Kennewick fire officials suspect a pellet stove may be to blame to starting a house fire on West 14th Place on Wednesday morning.
At the combined Ki-Be elementary and middle school, water is normally kept out of a majority of the fire suppression system through a series of valves. When sensors detect a fire, the valves open, flooding the system with water.
One of the valves leaked, causing water to get into the dry portion of the system. When it met with the below freezing temperatures, a pipe broke on the outside of the building.
“The school itself is OK as the water break in the system flooded the outside of the building,” Superintendent Wade Haun said.
District officials considered it too dangerous for the elementary and middle school students, as well as staff, to spend their day in a building without a fire suppression system, Haun said.
The school’s maintenance crews were expected to fix the pipe Wednesday, so students may be able to attend classes as early as Thursday.
The estimated cost of the fix hasn’t determined.
The fire suppression system was installed in 1994 during the most recent remodel project for the building, Assistant Superintendent Joe Lloyd said.
Check tricityherald.com for continuing weather updates.