Where is it colder than Moscow, Russia?
In the Tri-Cities on Friday night .
The National Weather Service is predicting a bone-chilling minus 4 to minus 5 degrees in the Tri-Cities overnight Friday, as arctic air moves into the Mid-Columbia, said the National Weather Service.
Moscow’s low was forecast to be above 0.
The storm system that passed through the Tri-Cities Wednesday afternoon and Thursday may have brought the last of the snow to fall on the Tri-Cities for at least the next five days. Snow is possible Sunday, but the weather service says the chance is slight.
About 3 inches fell in the Tri-Cities since late Wednesday, bringing the snow on the ground to about 7 inches deep, according to the weather service.
The ensuing mess sent cars and trucks sliding into each other and into snowbanks and forced the closure of nearly all the schools in the region. Many of them, including the Kennewick, Richland and Pasco school districts, already plan to start Friday morning classes two hours late.
For a full list of school delays and closures, check bit.ly/snowdelays.
Hanford workers also were told to stay home Thursday because of the weather. Since many work four 10-hour days a week, the snow day means a four-day weekend for the majority of workers.
The high Friday in the Tri-Cities is expected to be about 22, but that may drop to 14 on Saturday in time for the annual Cable Bridge Run in Pasco.
Sunday temperatures should start to rise and highs could be back in the 30s by the start of the work week in the Tri-Cities.
Friday night should have the coldest low temperature of the coming days.
The overnight low Saturday is expected to be about 7 in the Tri-Cities, with temperatures warming to the teens by Sunday night and then to about 30 by Monday and Tuesday night, with a chance of rain.
People are encouraged to dress warmly in layers and protect their feet, hands, necks and heads.
Even long-haired or thick-coated dogs may be at risk of cold-associated health risks, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In very cold weather, walks should be shortened.
If a dog starts to limp during a cold weather walk, check for ice accumulation between its toes, the association said.
Just like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, the association said. Even dogs bred for colder climates, such as huskies, should not be left outside for long periods of time.
On the roads
The slippery roadways kept law enforcement officials busy but no serious injuries were reported.
Officers responded to more than 66 crashes in the Mid-Columbia — the bulk handled by the Washington State Patrol between Yakima and the Tri-Cities.
“We had very little. We mainly helped the state patrol,” said Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin.
“There was a lot of cars off the roadway. Most of them handled by the state patrol, but our traffic guys were very busy,” said Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb.
Police warn drivers: ▪ Don’t drive if you don’t have to. ▪ Make sure the car is cleared off of snow so you can see out all windows. And turn on your headlights so drivers see you. ▪ Be patient and slow down and avoid extremes in accelerating and braking. ▪ Look out for others. And wear your seat belt.
Officials were suggesting drivers:
▪ Don’t drive if you don’t have to.
▪ Make sure the car is cleared off of snow so you can see out all windows. And turn on your headlights so drivers see you.
▪ Be patient and slow down and avoid extremes in accelerating and braking.
▪ Look out for others. And wear your seat belt.
Most people forget the speed limit is not the safe speed and legal limits do not apply in adverse weather. Drivers can be cited for driving too fast for weather conditions.
“Don’t wait until you are, ‘Oh my goodness; I am in trouble.’ Slow down early,” said Cobb.
Keeping sidewalks and driveways clear of the white stuff also has been a challenge.
But Tri-City municipal agencies want property owners to know that local codes require them to clear snow and ice from sidewalks and driveways to protect pedestrians from getting hurt.
It isn’t just pedestrians. When snow accumulates on sidewalks, people with disabilities and those who use wheelchairs are forced to stay inside.
Mary Cluck, a Kennewick resident, reached out to the Herald to implore property owners to clear their sidewalks. “There’s nobody shoveling it,” she said, “I’m trapped.”
In the Tri-Cities, property owners are required to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks. Here’s a look at the various requirements.
Richland spokeswoman Hollie Logan said the city is using social media to get the word out.
The city also fielded complaints Thursday that snowplows sometimes push snow back onto cleared sidewalks. The road department is aware of the problem and trying to avoid it, she said.
Despite the law, the codes are largely unenforceable, with cities saying it would be impractical to monitor every stretch of sidewalk.
But officials with a local State Farm office confirmed that property owners can be held liable for injuries resulting from someone slipping on snow or ice.
Most people will see the affects of the cold snap on their next electric bill, but the Benton and Franklin PUDs have some recommendations.
Don’t turn up the heat when you come indoors just because your are cold from being outside, they say. If you lowered your thermostat while you were at work or school, turn it back to the normal temperature, but not higher. The house will warm up at the same speed.
Turn off ventilating fans as soon as they are not needed. Fans pull warm air out of the house.
Remember to turn off lights, TVs and other electronics, including turning off Christmas lights when you go to bed, to save electricity, the public utility district recommends. Shorter showers also help keep electric bills in check.
If there is a power outage, turn off any appliances and electronics that were on. This can prevent fires when power is restored.
If you use a portable generator, make sure it is connected through an approved transfer switch that is isolated from the utilities system. don’t plug it into a wall outlet, which can cause “backfeeding” that is dangerous to utility crews working on the outage.