Winter weather crashes block freeways in Clark County, Portland

Downtown Vancouver gets 4.9 inches of snow; Amboy sees 11.3 inches

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A jackknifed semi is blocking two lanes of SB I-5 near La Center. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

Clark County woke up to more snow and very cold temperatures Thursday morning after a late winter storm arrived in the Northwest. Traffic on both bridges was blocked by crashes, Interstate 5 saw a series of jackknifed semis and travel got worse as the morning continued.

“The SB spans of both the I-5 & I-205 bridges into #PDX are completely blocked due to spin outs & collisions. We’re working with @OregonDOT  to clear the roadway & get people moving, but we need your help. Please delay travel if possible,” Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted at 8:30 a.m. 

WSDOT also said on twitter that a jackknifed semi and trailer on I-5 South at Milepost 16 blocked the left and center lanes at 6:23 a.m. The collision cleared about 8 a.m. but minutes later, a jackknifed semi and trailer blocked the left and center lanes at Milepost 15, near Port of Entry.

That was par for the course on a morning marked by crashes, spinouts and blocked roads.

The agency’s advice? Stay home or expect long delays.

As the sun rose over a winter wonderland of white, temps were in the upper-20s in Vancouver. Temperatures could remain below freezing throughout the day with lows in the 20s tonight.

Downtown Vancouver saw 4.9 inches of snow as of 6 a.m., with Amboy in north Clark County getting 11.3 inches.

The overnight low at Pearson Field in Vancouver was 27 degrees. Sustained winds in the mid-teens, with higher gusts, dipped the wind chill factor as low as 15 degrees.

Much of the county remains under a winter weather advisory and a wind chill advisory from the National Weather Service. The cold, paired with forecasted wind gusts of 25 to 30 mph, could drive the wind chill as low as 5 to 10 degrees, according to meteorological technician Gerald Macke.

If you need shelter from winter weather, call the Council for the Homeless Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677. Emergency shelters are also available at night.

Most school districts are closed today. Find complete details at

Roads are slick and icy all over the county. The Washington State Department of Transportation said on Twitter that diverse road conditions in Southwest Washington will make the morning commute hazardous. “We’re continuing 24/7 operations as there’s A LOT of snow to clear off area highways. We’re making progress, but if possible, delay travel today,” the agency Tweeted.

Portland International Airport was open, but few flights were operating Thursday morning. By 7 a.m. 50 departing flights had already been canceled, as had 42 arrivals. Many of the flights that were stlll planning to operate were delayed. Visit for updates.

Clark Public Utilities reported very few electrical outages affecting relatively few customers. One difference: The lack of a heavy ice coating, which is the biggest problem for power lines. If your power fails, call 360-992-8000 or visit

Portland commute

Blocked roads due to weather and crashes dot the interstates in the Portland area. Traffic on both the I-5 and I-205 bridges was at a standstill for hours.

Don Hamilton, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said in a 7 a.m. statement that “If you choose to travel, expect snow on top of ice throughout the area, major delays, and road closures. Many roads are blocked by stalled and abandoned vehicles. Watch for crews and give them room to work safely. Avoid travel if at all possible until conditions improve.”

Oregon travelers can consult TripCheck or call 5-1-1 for current information.

C-Tran reported that its C-Van paratransit service was providing life-saving services only. The Current is not operating. Many fixed route services were affected, with buses on snow routes, and routes 47 (Battle Ground/Yacolt) and 48 (Ridefield) are suspended.

The National Weather Service office in Portland’s Parkrose neighborhood, east of Interstate 205, reported receiving more than 11 inches of snow Wednesday. That’s the most in a single day since 1943.

This story will be updated.