Into Tuesday morning, the Twin Cities were still seeing snowfall as many of Lewis County’s icy roadways had yet to thaw.
The National Weather Service (NWS) updated Lewis County Emergency Management on Tuesday morning with a forecast of more snow countywide later in the week.
According to Emergency Management Deputy Director Ross McDowell, the west end of the county is set to receive 3 to 4 inches of a “wetter snow” from Wednesday night through Friday morning and east county is forecast to see between 4 to 6 inches in that time.
“Then, to top it all off Thursday during the day, it's supposed to warm up a little bit enough to give us freezing rain,” McDowell said over the phone Tuesday.
Freezing rain, he said, happens when just above freezing at around 34 degrees. NWS reports that midday Thursday may reach up to 39 degrees, but lows for the next four nights aren’t expected to climb past the low 20s. Between this and the wet snow, roads could refreeze over each night.
“The roads are really pretty icy and it's not warming up enough to really do anything for it,” McDowell said. “I'm just watching a guy slide right through by my office on North and Chehalis.”
While no roads were reported closed due to the weather on Lewis County Public Works’ website, McDowell said there were plenty of hills in the area that would be “just scary” to drive on right now.
Various services and businesses countywide are currently closed or non-operational, with many local owners taking to Facebook with updated hours for the week. Twin Transit services are among those. For updates, visit Twin Transit on Facebook or head to TwinTransit.org.
The county’s drive-through COVID-19 testing site at the Lewis County Mall, however, reopened Tuesday morning and is scheduled for regular hours of 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. until it closes for New Year’s Eve. For updates on the site, visit Public Health & Social Services on Facebook.
The best way to avoid accidents on ice is simple: don’t drive. But, if it’s necessary, McDowell said the most important thing was to slow down.
“Four-wheel drive is no better than two-wheel drive (or) than one-wheel drive when it comes to ice. And that's what you're driving on,” he said. “I'm having conversations this morning with people coming in and saying 'this knucklehead passed me or that knucklehead passed me and he's fishtailing like crazy.'”
For those knuckleheads, McDowell said, “Let them be in front of you, it’s better than behind you.”
Other measures such as layering up should be continued as well, according to NWS and emergency management. Pipes can be prevented from freezing by keeping bathrooms and kitchens warm or by keeping faucets on a low drip.
If pipes do freeze, McDowell — who was an apprentice plumber at one point — said calling a plumber is the best way to go. Do not turn water on high or attempt to blowtorch pipes, as this can cause them to burst.
Pets should also be brought inside whenever possible, he said, because even if it says 25 degrees outside, windchill may make the air feel closer to the low teens.
Providing straw and windblocks is the best way to protect livestock that cannot be kept indoors or in outbuildings.