Severe Weather - Public Works Response

News update:

Posted: Friday, Oct. 14, 2016

Public Works crews worked during the night of Thursday, Oct. 13, and responded to several areas where stormwater catch basins were clogged. Crews were able to successfully handle issues that arose overnight. Staff will keep an eye on the weather and prepare accordingly. Weather updates are also available Facebook ( and Twitter (@VanPubWorksUS).

Posted: Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016

Vancouver Public Works continues to monitor weather conditions, and has increased staffing by having crews working tonight (Thursday, Oct. 13) and through the weekend.

Posted: Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016

Starting Thursday, Oct. 13, heavy rains and some thundershowers are forecasted for several days. Vancouver Public Works crews are preparing for this rainfall and want to help residents be prepared, as well. Residents are urged to drive with care, leave ample time to come to a stop and heed any high water or street closure signs they may encounter. Click here for more details.

Sand and Bags Available for Self-Service: Vancouver Public Works is setting up two self-serve sites for Vancouver residents in need of sandbags. Where there is a risk of water flooding garages or homes, residents and businesses are encouraged to take steps to prevent problems. The sand and empty bags are provided at the sites. Residents should bring their own shovels to fill bags and be prepared to transport them. Sand and bags will be available starting the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 12, and locations include:

  • In front of fence, near the sign at the former Golden Skate site, 4915 E. Fourth Plain Blvd.
  • Near the driveway access at Vancouver Public Works’ East Operations site, 912 N.E. 192nd Ave.

Free Leaf Coupons: Residents are also reminded that leaves and other debris should not be blown or raked into streets where they can add to problems caused by heavy rains. This year’s free leaf disposal coupons for Vancouver and Clark County residents are available on the City’s website at

Other Important Information

During severe weather, Vancouver Public Works prioritizes efforts to deliver the biggest impact to major routes and overpasses that provide the backbone for public safety. Neighborhood residential streets are not deiced or plowed. See information below describing street priorities for emergency and severe weather conditions.

To report traffic signal outages, or to report trees down or blocking City streets or rights-of-way, please call the Public Works Operations Center at 360-487-8177.

Not sure if the address is within the City of Vancouver? Check the City's website:

For downed power lines, keep back and report to Clark Public Utilities at 360-992-8000 or 360-992-3000.

Remember: During power outages, traffic signals will go dark. When power comes back on or flickers, the signals will come back on as flashing red. Either way, treat these intersections as a four-way stop, and proceed with caution.

Get Updates: Please watch for news updates to be posted here as they become available. Keep informed by liking the Vancouver Public Works Facebook page at or by following @VanPubWorksUS on Twitter.

Severe Weather: Are you prepared?

The City of Vancouver's Department of Public Works encourages businesses and residents to plan ahead and be alert to avoid many problems associated with severe weather. The handy information below can provide you with the facts and tips you may need should severe weather strike.

Top Priorities for Vancouver's Streets:

There are more than 1,800 lane miles of streets in the City of Vancouver. When severe weather hits hard, Vancouver Public Works prioritizes its response to provide the strongest level of support for our community's life-saving public safety network.

Highest Priority
  • First on the priority list is the critical network of arterials that connect police, fire and emergency medical services. ;Public Works crews also work closely with Vancouver Fire and Vancouver Police to clear the way to specific sites where emergency access is needed. During major snow and ice storms, just keeping the top priority critical streets open and passable is a process that has to be repeated over and over again, around the clock.
Other Priorities
  • After critical public safety network of arterials come the remaining arterials, selected collectors, snow bus routes and key streets around schools and hills.
  • As weather conditions, resources and time allow, next come the collectors and public parking lots.
Residential Neighborhood Streets - What You Should Know

During severe weather, the effort to support public safety is a constant job, night and day. That is especially true during long bouts of snow and ice. Residential streets do not get plowed due to these demands and the city’s limited resources, as well as the difficulties presented by numerous driveways and cars parked along residential curbs.

Residents are encouraged to be prepared in advance for the possibility of severe weather. Be sure you have the traction devices, snow shovels and other severe winter weather necessities you may need while supplies are readily available. During and immediately after severe winter storms, please avoid driving if at all possible. When travel is necessary, leave additional time to reach your destination safely.

Fortunately, major snowstorms of significant duration are not a common occurrence in Vancouver. Winters here are generally rainy and mostly temperate, compared with other regions. When it does snow in Vancouver, it rarely stays for long.

Preventing and Handling Frozen Water Pipes

The best way to prevent water pipes from freezing is to take steps before temperatures plummet. Before freezing temperatures arrive:

  • Disconnect all garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  • Drain in-ground irrigation systems according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Protect outside faucets and hose bibs with insulation. Wrapping them with newspaper or rags covered with plastic is a good resort if you don't have molded foam-insulating covers, designed specifically for that task and frequently found in hardware sections and stores.
  • Seal leaks around pipes that allow cold air to seep inside.
  • Insulate pipes near outer walls, in crawl spaces, basements, garages and/or attics to guard against freezing.
  • Locate your home’s water shut-off valve and make sure it works, before it's ever needed in an emergency.
During freezing conditions:
  • Allow a trickle of water to drip at night from an indoor faucet, preferably one located along an exterior wall and/or farthest from where your water service connects with the main water line.
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms to allow more heat to reach water pipes.
  • Vacationing? Have someone check your house to make sure the heat is still on and water is working properly. Or drain and shut off the water system, with the exception of indoor sprinkler systems.
If your water pipes freeze:
  • Please remember that you are responsible for protecting and repairing water pipes on your property should any breaks occur.
  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • NEVER try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame.
  • Without water and suspect a problem is at the meter? Please call the City's Operations Center at (360) 487-8177 for further assistance.