VIDEO: March snowfall surprises much of Clark County

But a few inches of the white stuff did little to keep crowds from once again clearing many store shelves as coronavirus closures continue



BATTLE GROUND — A late-Winter snowfall surprised a lot of people on Saturday morning. Several inches of the white stuff fell across Clark County, giving families a welcome break from worries over the coronavirus outbreak that has canceled school across the state until late April.

Snow blankets a school bus stop sign along Kelly Road in Yacolt Saturday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz
Snow blankets a school bus stop sign along Kelly Road in Yacolt Saturday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz

At McConnell Park in Battle Ground, Tarl Sanders, his wife Rebekah, and sons Wyatt and Lincoln made snowballs, and enjoyed a bit of cathartic roughhousing after a stressful week.

“I get up this morning and I’m like, ‘boys! You want to go play in the snow?’” Tarl says, “and they’re like, ‘what?’ I said, ‘yeah! There’s snow outside!’”

Wyatt Sanders of Battle Ground pelts his dad, Tarl, with a snowball on Saturday morning. Photo by Chris Brown
Wyatt Sanders of Battle Ground pelts his dad, Tarl, with a snowball on Saturday morning. Photo by Chris Brown

Both are teachers in the Battle Ground School District, and wondering what the next six weeks might hold. But, for this morning, it was fun to spend a couple hours not worrying about any of that.

Snow covers a windmill near Fargher Lake in north Clark County on Saturday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz
Snow covers a windmill near Fargher Lake in north Clark County on Saturday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz

“I hope everyone is willing to be a little lenient over this next couple of weeks,” Tarl said, adding he’s not yet sure what their income situation will be during the shutdown, as he’s a substitute teacher. The school district said they are still awaiting guidance from the state about whether classified staff will be paid during the closure.

Snow covered spring blossoms on trees across Clark County on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Snow covered spring blossoms on trees across Clark County on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
The vintage gas pumps at Summit Grove Lodge near La Center were a winter wonderland on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
The vintage gas pumps at Summit Grove Lodge near La Center were a winter wonderland on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

For this morning, though, it was a bit of frozen precipitation that was helping to melt away the worries of thousands who had flocked to stores across the region, emptying shelves out of concern they might need to remain home as the virus closed schools, canceled events, and threatened to overrun hospitals with new patients.

Produce shelves were largely barren Saturday afternoon at this Vancouver Winco location. Photo by Paul Valencia
Produce shelves were largely barren Saturday afternoon at this Vancouver Winco location. Photo by Paul Valencia

Nearby, a couple walking their two dogs watched as they ran excitedly through the snow. Other children rolled the sticky stuff into grass-covered snowmen.

By mid-afternoon, most of it was gone as things warmed up. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 60s by next Tuesday, as Spring officially hits on Thursday.

The late snowfall didn’t seem to stop the hoards of people from descending, once again, upon area stores. Lines of shoppers were outside of most Winco stores, which are temporarily closing between midnight and 5 a.m. in order to restock shelves and sanitize.

Produce shelves were largely barren Saturday afternoon at this Vancouver Winco location. Photo by Paul Valencia
Produce shelves were largely barren Saturday afternoon at this Vancouver Winco location. Photo by Paul Valencia

At Costco, lines formed outside, well into the parking lot, before opening at both Vancouver locations. Shelves at Walmart and Winco stores across the region were largely barren, according to posts on social media.

Winco announced on Friday they are taking the unusual step of closing from midnight until 5 a.m. for the next week, in order to give employees time to stock shelves and properly sanitize surfaces.

By Saturday afternoon, most people were reporting shorter lines, but still a distinct lack of produce, pasta, rice, canned items, frozen foods, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, and lots more.

Empty shelves greeted anyone looking for toilet paper or paper towels at the Walmart in Woodland on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Empty shelves greeted anyone looking for toilet paper or paper towels at the Walmart in Woodland on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

As of Saturday, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington state had risen to 572, including 37 deaths. There remain three confirmed cases in Clark County. Nationwide, there were just under 2,700 cases, 53 fatalities, and 12 people recovered.

That number is expected to grow next week, after the FDA approved new tests that take as little as a few hours. The president has promised half a million new test kits sent to labs across the country early next week, and is working with pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, Target, and others to bring drive-through testing.

Worldwide, known cases rose to nearly 150,000, with 5,600 fatalities. China remains the hardest hit, but the number of active cases fell by more than 1,400 since Friday, with only 41 new cases reported.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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