Winter Snow and Ice

January storm response

Update, Jan. 18: Primary and secondary routes are in good condition throughout the county, though areas closer to the Gorge (in the Washougal area) still have icy roads. Roads crews are working late in that area tonight to treat primary and secondary routes. Staff from each section will also report early tomorrow (Jan. 19) to address forecasted icy conditions. If icy conditions are not present, these crews will address cleanup of snow/slush on roads in their sections. 

Update, Jan. 16: Our roads crews have been plowing and sanding the roads all day Jan. 16, with deicer applied at intersections in some lowland areas. We plow to remove loose snow/ice, widen the roads and add new rock to hills, curves and intersections (on roads without curbs). We use sand or deicer based on the best response for the current and forecasted conditions. We cannot use deicer when the road temperatures are near 20 degrees, as they have been often during this period of winter weather. We have begun using more deicer has temperatures have increased. 

Crews will continue treating the roads until about 7 p.m. Jan. 16 to aid with the evening commute. We will start some staff very early the morning of Jan. 17 to treat the roads ahead of the morning commute. We'll continue with this approach until  temperatures warm enough that rain melts what is left of the ice and snow. 

We will announce road closures and re-openings as possible, but as crews focus on on-the-ground response, information may be limited at times. Residents are reminded to drive carefully, obey all closures and be prepared to find an alternative route if you come upon an unexpected closure. 

When winter weather strikes, Clark County Public works is ready to respond! Our maintenance and operations crews are located at six “sheds” throughout the county, so we can respond quickly and efficiently to the unique conditions that may occur in different areas. 

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Before winter weather

Each fall, we prepare our staff and equipment so we’re ready to respond to whatever conditions winter weather brings to county roads. We: 

  • Inspect, test and tune up all vehicles and equipment. 
  • Order salt, make brine and fill storage tanks. 
  • Familiarize crews with their assigned response routes and equipment. We provide them with handheld response guides for their assigned area. 
  • Monitor slide-prone areas to proactively prevent landslides. 

Each truck has a plow and will also have either a sander or deicer. In addition to snow and ice, each truck is prepared to respond to water over roadways, clogged catch basins, downed trees and branches, and similar weather-related issues. 

During winter weather events

What we do
  • When the forecast indicates that winter weather conditions are likely, we have crews report to their workstations earlier in the day. 
  • Staff will work overtime, weekends and holidays as needed to respond to winter weather impacts. 
  • When needed, we shift to a 24-hour schedule and work around the clock to keep the roads in the best condition possible. 
  • We watch the weather carefully and coordinate with our emergency manager. We have procedures to constantly monitor real-time, on the ground conditions. We use that information to identify the best way to respond, whether that’s using sand, deicer or plows. 
  • We prioritize arterials and collectors for plowing, sanding and deicing. Arterials are the main roads that provide access to highways and freeways and are our top priority. Collectors are roads that provide access to arterials and are the second priority. Click here to view our snow route map. 
  • We divert traffic or close a road when necessary for the public’s safety and to protect infrastructure. 
  • We share information, including detours and closures, with the public as soon as it is available. Response information, closures and updates will be posted on our website’s homepage and on our social media profiles (you do not need to have social media accounts to view): Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). We post information on Nextdoor too, but Nextdoor requires an account to view information posted by local agencies. 
  • We also share information with local newspaper, TV and radio stations. 
What you should do during winter weather
  • Check reliable sources for weather forecasts and information. The most reliable information and alerts will come from the National Weather Service’s Portland office.
  • Stay off the roads during inclement weather when possible. Keeping the roads clear helps us more quickly and efficiently treat the roads and make them safer for everyone. It also keeps the roads clear for emergency vehicles. 
  • If you need to travel during winter weather events: 
    • Check your route and current conditions before you go. Click here for links to resources. 
    • Make sure you and your vehicle are prepared. Have a full gas tank or battery, emergency supplies, traction devices, warm clothes or blankets, food and water. Make sure your cell phone is charged. 
    • Not comfortable driving in the conditions? C-TRAN can do the driving for you! Learn more. 
  • Report hazardous road conditions. Click here to find out how. 
  • Always obey all closures and road signage; it is very dangerous to enter a closure. 

County parks during winter weather

Please exercise caution when visiting county parks and trails, especially when ice, snow or strong winds create hazardous conditions. 

Ice storms can inflict serious damage to trees—uprooting or breaking off large limbs. The weight of snow also increases the risk of falling trees or branches. Strong winds may weaken unstable trees. Be particularly watchful when it is windy or following a snowstorm when branches are covered with snow. Stay out of the forest when there are strong winds. If you are already in the forest when winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees. (Information from the U.S. Forest Service.)

If you are outdoors, move into the closest shelter. Avoid potential hazards such as downed electric power lines, utility poles and trees. (Information from the Washington Emergency Management Division.)

Report down trees, broken pipes and other maintenance issues in parks using our web form

Who to contact
Frequently Asked Questions

We prioritize arterials and collectors for plowing, sanding and deicing. Arterials are the main roads that provide access to highways and freeways and are our top priority. Collectors are roads that provide access to arterials and are the second priority. Click here to view our snow route map. 


No. Clark County's plows cannot scrape down to pavement through thick ice or heavy snow, particularly when it has been compacted by traffic. 


Salt brine, a mix of water and salt that is 23.3% salt, is used to pretreat roads before a storm arrives. The solution inhibits ice crystals from binding to pavement. We occasionally sprays salt brine as a deicer once snow or ice has accumulated.


Because of the county’s mild winters, small amounts of salt brine are used infrequently, so the environmental effects on streams, rivers and groundwater is minimal.

The Washington State Transportation Center conducted a study along SR 97 in Chelan County, from December 1999 to May 2000. Despite significant use of chloride (salt) products for snow and ice control, there was no measurable negative impact on Peshastin Creek, a fish-bearing stream that parallels a portion of the state highway.

While the amount and frequency of salt brine applied is minimal, it's a good idea to wash your vehicle following a snowstorm to reduce the corrosive effect on exposed metal.


We use sanding rock on some hills, curves and other trouble spots. In heavy traffic, sanding rock is quickly thrown to the side and must be swept up during post-storm cleanup. It also can clog drainage systems and harm aquatic life if washed into waterways. The cost of applying sanding rock is an expensive alternative at about $93 per lane mile, including post-storm sweeping, compared with $5 per lane mile for salt brine.


Under Clark County Code, the county is not responsible for removing snow and ice from private driveways or roads or at their intersections with county roads. County equipment can be used only for snow removal and ice control on county roads. Clark County Code 12.24.030 - Snow Removal and Ice Control, Driveways and other roads

Property owners are responsible for keeping parking lots, driveways and sidewalks on or along their property free of snow and ice.