A White Christmas for Lewis County, and Now the Big Freeze

CLOSED: Snowy Conditions Close COVID-19 Testing Site, Courthouse; Some Outages Reported

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Snow this weekend brought Centralia and Chehalis the first white Christmas in years, kind of.

According to National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle meteorologist Jacob Defiltch, the “technical definition” of a white Christmas is when 1 inch of snow has accumulated by 4 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 25.

So, the last official white Christmas in the Twin Cities is still 2017. Though, “technical” definitions didn’t stop Lewis County residents from busting out the cross country skis and Gore-Tex pants.

But the snow situation isn’t all magic and holiday cheer.

As of Monday morning, just before 9 a.m., the Lewis County Public Utility District was responding to two power outages in the Ashford area affecting approximately 770 customers and one outage in Adna affecting approximately 40 customers. Other outages were reported and restored over the weekend.

Inclement weather forced the closure of many services countywide Monday, including Chehalis and Centralia Boys and Girls Clubs. The drive-through COVID-19 testing site at the west end of the Lewis County Mall was also closed due to poor road conditions. As of press deadline, the county had not publicized the site’s status for Tuesday. The decision will be posted on the Public Health & Social Services Facebook page.

Due to ice and snow on the roadways, Twin Transit service was closed on Monday, along with the dial-a-ride Twin Transit (DARTT) service, and in Centralia, LeMay’s was not providing garbage service Monday. An announcement concerning Dec. 28 transit service was set to be made at 5 p.m. Monday. Check TwinTransit.org for additional updates.

The Lewis County Courthouse was also closed on Monday due to the inclement weather, excessive snowfall and below-freezing temperatures. It was not clear Monday afternoon when the courthouse and its other facilities would reopen, but more information was expected from county staff during a meeting planned for 6:30 p.m. on Zoom video conferencing.

“As I’m sure you’re all aware, the roads are in terrible conditions. They get worse the further east, but we have had a number of issues in the lower parts (of the county) as well,” Lewis County Public Works Director Josh Metcalf told county commissioners Monday morning.

County road crews and plows will be out clearing roads, starting first with school bus routes and major thoroughfares. Steep hills, notable curves and bridges will be prioritized, according to information on Lewis County Public Works webpage. The county plows and maintains about 1,000 miles of roads.

According to NWS, refreezing is expected each of the next few nights, and snow is likely to stay unmelted through Wednesday.

The temperature is forecast to rise above freezing midday Thursday with highs rising through the weekend.

After the Twin Cities saw low 20s Monday morning, Deflitch said snow may continue through Tuesday morning, and it is “still going to be really cold each day into Thursday. The morning temps will be upper teens through low 20s.”

Out of the Chehalis-Centralia Airport, the highest temperature forecast for Monday was just 26 degrees.

With the below-freezing cold, NWS is reminding residents to cover exposed skin in several layers, carry emergency kits in vehicles and keep gas tanks at least halfway full whenever driving, protect pipes from bursting by keeping water on a low drip, and bring pets and livestock inside the house or outbuildings whenever possible.