Severe Weather - Public Works Response

News update:

Posted 7:50 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016

Wednesday morning, and Public Works Operations crews have been out deicing major routes since midnight Tuesday. However, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians should be prepared for slick conditions around the area. Over the night and early morning, winds helped scour out some of the moisture on the east side of Vancouver, but icy spots are possible. West side is slick! 

Drivers should be especially cautious on overpasses, steep grades, residential areas. Go easy on the gas and the brakes. Many sidewalks are slick, too. Remember, property owners are responsible for maintaining adjacent sidewalks and keeping them passable. Be safe!

Posted 5:20 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016

Regular Tuesday garbage and recycling service for residential customers in the City of Vancouver and throughout Clark County are expected to operate today with a two-hour delayed start to allow more time for melting and thawing of neighborhood streets. Commercial garbage and recycling trucks plan to operate on schedule. Please contact Waste Connections at 360-892-5370 or if you have any questions regarding Tuesday service.


Posted 5:30 p.m.,Monday, Jan. 4, 2016

Vancouver Public Works Operations managers are continuing to monitor weather conditions for possible next steps following the snowy, icy past few days. Though forecasts aren't calling for the kind of freezing temperatures we've recently experienced, there could be a possibility of a refreeze in spotty areas. Vancouver Public Works crew are prepared and will be at work Tuesday long before the morning commute begins, just in case. Trucks are loaded and ready to roll should temperatures drop and deicing be needed. 

Vancouver Public Works makes its own deicing solution, and during this recent snow/ice event, the department has been assisting some other local agencies in need of deicing solution, as well as meeting our community’s needs. Sufficient supplies are on hand should the need for more deicing arise in the future.

Monday afternoon, as temperatures rose and snow and ice began to break up this afternoon, Vancouver Public works Operations crew continued the cleanup by clearing out slush in intersections along major routes.

Neighborhood streets are swept regularly in Vancouver, roughly about every 9-10 weeks. Inclement weather can affect the ability to sweep and cause some shifts in schedules. This is not uncommon, and crews tend to catch up fairly quickly, weather and equipment permitting. It’s likely that sweeping will be delayed a few days due to the snow, ice and slush.

Meanwhile, due to the slick, icy conditions throughout the entire county, including  neighborhood residential streets in Vancouver, garbage and recycling collections that would regularly have taken place today were canceled. Garbage trucks are very large and are not equipped to maneuver well on icy surfaces. The decision to cancel Monday’s service was made by staff at the City of Vancouver, Clark County and Waste Connections of Washington after evaluating conditions and the safety of both drivers and residents. Weekly garbage customers who were affected may set out up to twice their standard service amount on their next scheduled pickup day at no added charge. Extra garbage may be placed in plastic bags and extra recycling in paper bags or boxes. Every-other-week and monthly garbage customers who were affected may set out their garbage for collection next Monday, Jan. 11.

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 view the latest news release from Vancouver Public Works, click here.

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. 

Sand and Bags Available for Self-Service: Where there is a risk of water flooding garages or homes, residents and businesses are encouraged to take steps to prevent problems. This past November/December 2015, in response to community requests, Vancouver Public Works set up two emergency, self-serve sites for Vancouver residents and businesses in need of sandbags. Residents needed to bring shovels to fill bags and be able to transport them. Locations are:

• In front of fence, near the sign, at the former Golden Skate site, 4915 E. Fourth Plain Blvd.

• Near the driveway access to Public Works’ East Operations site,  912 NE 192nd  Ave.

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 an d 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.