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Winter temps bring icy roads


NOAA forecasting week of cold, patchy freezing fog

by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: KATIE WILSON - Schools were delayed in Columbia County Jan. 15 although conditions were not nearly as icy as the week before. But some areas were still slick, with patches of ice clinging here and there. Wintry weather blew into northwest Oregon late last week, resulting in slick roads and sidewalks in Columbia County and a handful of problems.

And, if the forecast from the regional National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration holds, the possibility for icy conditions is expected to last into the weekend.

As of Tuesday’s forecast, NOAA meteorologists were calling for low temperatures to dip into the mid-to-upper 20s through Friday, with moisture levels sufficient for conditions of patchy freezing fog.

“Just pay attention to the weather forecast, and always expect when the weather is low that you’re going to encounter slick roadways,” said CRFR Division Chief Brian Burright.

Despite numerous accounts of people experiencing icy roads, area emergency responders said they received only scant calls for assistance.

Steve Watson, spokesman for Columbia 911 dispatch, said his agency fielded a few calls, but nothing substantial. Watson said people likely adjusted to the conditions soon after heading out the door.

“I think people figured out kind of quickly when they got up and got moving,” he said.

Columbia River Fire and Rescue in St. Helens responded to one car crash Friday morning, Jan. 11, and a report of a woman who slipped and fell multiple times while attempting to return to her house.

“Oddly enough, as bad as the roadways were that morning, we had one motor vehicle crash,” Burright said. “It surprised me, because it was obviously pretty hazardous out there.”

St. Helens and Scappoose school districts held regular school hours, which drew concern from some parents who observed children slipping and falling en route to school Friday morning.