Weather News

Kennewick temperature plunge breaks 123-year record. More snow expected this week

Drone: Winter cruising over Columbia River

Take a winter flight over the Columbia River to see the snow-covered Kennewick and Pasco shorelines between the blue and cable bridges near Clover Island.
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Take a winter flight over the Columbia River to see the snow-covered Kennewick and Pasco shorelines between the blue and cable bridges near Clover Island.

An inch or two of fresh snow and ice is possible in the Tri-Cities Tuesday and Wednesday, says the National Weather Service.

It expects a new storm system to arrive in the Tri-Cities from the south Tuesday evening, at the earliest.

The weather service predicts a 10 percent chance of snow after 4 p.m. Tuesday, increasing to 40 percent after 10 p.m.

Wednesday the chance of snow is forecast at 60 percent.

Snow is most likely in the afternoon. But before 1 p.m. and after 4 p.m. it could be mixed with freezing rain.

The chance of precipitation — rain, snow and freezing rain — will drop to 40 percent after 7 p.m. Later in the night a 30 percent chance of snow is forecast.

weds snow.PNG
Projected snowfall totals for eastern Washington and Oregon from Tuesday evening through Thursday evening are shown. Courtesy National Weather Service

Students can check for school delays or closures at bit.ly/snowdelays.

No additional snow is in the forecast from Thursday through Sunday in the Tri-Cities, according to the weather service.

February 2019 was one of the coldest, wettest, snowiest Februaries in the Tri-Cities since records began being kept in the late 1800s. The month ended with a total of 23.1 inches at the weather service’s Kennewick gauge.

Cold to persist

Temperatures will warm some through the week, but are expected to remain well below normal.

The low Monday morning in Kennewick was 8 degrees, the coldest on record for the date since daily records began being collected in 1884, according to the weather service.

The previous record was 14 degrees in 1896.

Tuesday could see another low in the teens, but then lows should be about 22 or 23 degrees through Sunday night.

Highs should warm from the 20s to the low to mid 30s from Wednesday through Sunday in the Tri-Cities.

Normal lows for the start of March in the Tri-Cities are about 31 degrees and normal highs are about 53 degrees.

Snow Hungry Robin
A hungry robin visits a buffet of bird seed Monday left outside in the snow under a tree in downtown Kennewick. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Highway 241 from near Sunnyside to Highway 24 reopened early Monday afternoon. Benton County also made progress on reopening rural roads.

With the snowy weather, more traffic crashes are possible, according to the weather service.

The weather service recommends being prepared for delays with an emergency kit, a full gas tank and a phone charger that works in your vehicle.

Law enforcement continues to warn people not to drive around road closure signs as it responds to dig out stranded drivers.

Frozen drains and snowy rooftops

The Kennewick School District’s maintenance crews are bracing for another round of snow after the near-record 23.1 inches of snow in February.

Keith Colee, director of facilities services, said they have three five-person crews fighting a seemingly endless battle to keep school roof drains clear.

Drifting snow helps concentrate snow in specific areas, but crews have to keep returning to problem spots.

“They’re not meant to be swimming pools,” Colee said.

An apartment complex carport and a gas station canopy came crashing down last week under the weight of snow and ice, but no other roof collapses have been reported.

Police say a carport at Phoenix Manor Apartments in Kennewick collapsed under the weight of snow and ice buildup from recent snowstorms damaged 18 vehicles.

Roofing experts recommend homeowners avoid injuries and possible inadvertent damage to their homes by hiring roofing contractors to tackle the snow removal.

They also advise gently knocking icicles in the direction of the roofline to clear them off. Oversized icicles can overload gutters, bending or even breaking them.

Protecting skin and preventing frostbite

Here are some tips from the National Weather Service to protect yourself in the bitter cold.

Frostbite happens when your body cuts circulation to your extremities to protect vital inner organs.

Stay inside during severe cold and, if you must go out, try to cover every inch of skin.

Mittens work better than gloves to keep fingers warm. Also, keep skin dry and avoid the wind.

Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol to keep hydrated, say experts.

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Senior staff writer Annette Cary covers Hanford, energy, the environment, science and health for the Tri-City Herald. She’s been a news reporter for more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.

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