Snow, ice stick around for two days afterward as temperatures stay in low 30s; Roads Department staff note icy conditions at higher elevations

SUBMITTED PHOTO: TANYA LEE - Kaiden Lee plays with a drone early Tuesday morning in St. Helens after a dusting of snow two days prior left Columbia County blanketed.Columbia County residents who hoped for a white Christmas got their wish this week when snow dusted the region Sunday, Dec. 24.

What started as freezing rain Sunday morning soon turned to snow flurries by about 11:30 a.m. The flurries kept coming until well into Sunday evening, as temperatures hovered around 30 degrees, weather data show.

KOIN 6, the Spotlight's media partner, reported areas in Scappoose and St. Helens got up to three inches of snow, while others in the Portland metro area saw closer to an inch.

"I was busy preparing for Christmas Eve, so I hadn't paid much attention to the weather," Judy Reed of Scappoose noted Tuesday. "All I wanted this year was my sailor to be home and for snow. I was pleasantly surprised. We haven't had a white Christmas in a long while."

SUBMITTED PHOTO: MIKE RITZ - Mike Ritz of Warren captured this shot of snow falling on Sunday, Dec. 24. The snow stuck turned to ice in most areas of the county, but stuck around through Tuesday.For Mike Ritz in Warren, he said he enjoyed the white Christmas, but it made for dangerous driving conditions and altered he and his family's holiday plans.

"It did disrupt our Christmas plans, sending my visiting family home to California early to avoid the pending bad weather," Ritz noted. "They were thankful to have gotten out of here before the snow hit!"

On Monday, Dec. 25, temperatures didn't pick up enough to melt away the wintery mix.

The result was a lasting, white coat of snow and ice covering rooftops, trees and roads, which stuck around Monday and Tuesday.SUBMITTED PHOTO: JENNIFER SHOEMAKER PUGSLEY - Hailey Garrett holds her daughter Lennon as she plays in the snow while visiting family in Columbia City last Sunday, Dec. 24.

Columbia County's Roads Department crews deployed plow trucks and de-icers, even over the holiday, Mike Russell, director of the Roads Department, said Tuesday.

"We had crews out on Saturday," Russell noted. "It was icy up in the higher elevations. On Sunday as well, we did have some patrols even out on Christmas day. Most everybody stayed home for Christmas, but we did have one truck out sanding and plowing."

Russell said the roads crews often get calls from residents in areas that are particularly icy or slick, but the crews also have main routes they routinely service during snowy weather, like Scappoose-Vernonia Road, Canaan Road and Avery Road.

"We're concentrating on the main routes ... making sure they have de-icer or are being plowed and sanded," Russell said.

The department deploys several dump trucks equipped with plows and sand dispersal equipment, as well as pickup trucks with plows.

By Tuesday, road crews were out in full force, checking on main routes and looking for snow and ice across the county.

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