Events in the Tri-Cities were canceled and workers sent home as snow fell Thursday afternoon into the evening, and the community braced for a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain forecast for Friday morning.
Schools began on Thursday afternoon announcing planned closures or late openings for Friday.
Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and Finley school districts will be closed Friday. Pasco and Kennewick said after-school and evening events also were canceled.
The National Weather Service forecast 1 to 3 inches of snow Thursday afternoon and snow mixing with sleet later in the evening. Another 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet were expected overnight.
Friday a 60% chance of snow, sleet and freezing rain is forecast by 10 a.m. Precipitation is likely to fall as snow and sleet before 7 a.m., with freezing rain and sleet from 7 a.m. to 10 am., said the weather service.
Columbia Basin College campuses and Washington State University Tri-Cities will be closed Friday.
The Prosser, Kiona-Benton, Kahlotus, Paterson, North Franklin School District, Columbia School District in Burbank, Grandview and Sunnyside schools also will be closed Friday, along with St. Joseph’s School, Calvary Christian School and Bethlehem Lutheran School, all in Kennewick, and Liberty Christian School and Christ the King School, both in Richland.
All Meals on Wheels in the Tri-Cities area will be closed Friday and there will be no meals delivered to homes.
Richland city offices are scheduled to open two hours later than usual at 10 a.m. on Friday. If your address is in a zone considered inaccessible due to snow and ice for garbage trucks, you can set out extra bags next week at no additional charge.
Franklin County offices, including the courthouse, also planned to open late.
Check for additional delays or cancellations Friday at bit.ly/SchoolClosuresDelays.
Thursday weather impacts
About 90 customers in Benton City south of Interstate 182 suffered through a power outage starting at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday due to a broken insulator and cross arm on a pole. Benton PUD said at 5 p.m. that restoring power could take until 8 p.m.
Hanford nuclear reservation site workers not needed for safety and security were sent home on a staggered release at 2 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Thursday to prevent traffic congestion. The release included employees working in Richland.
Swing and graveyard shifts were canceled.
The Kennewick, Richland and Pasco school districts and Benton Franklin Head Start canceled after-school and evening activities for Thursday as the weather began to deteriorate and roads turned icy. The Pasco district said that included Parent Education Center classes.
“Safety is our top priority,” it posted on social media.
Washington State University Tri-Cities closed at 4 p.m. Thursday, but some late afternoon classes were held remotely on the Internet.
West Richland city offices closed about 1:30 p.m. Thursday and workers were sent home.
Franklin County sent its nonessential workers home about 2:30 p.m., except those working in the courts.
Pasco followed at 3:30 p.m. and said its Planning Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday would be held remotely.
A Mid-Columbia Libraries lecture on antisemitism at 7 p.m. Thursday was changed from a live event to an online Zoom lecture. Humanities Washington is presenting the lecture showing how religious and racial prejudice shaped Jewish experience over millennia.
Warming Tri-Cities weather
Warming weather means that the Tri-Cities may see the end of snow in the near term.
A 30% chance of rain is forecast Saturday night through Sunday night, with more rain possible daily through Wednesday, according to the weather service.
Lows which have been in the single digits and teens, should be in the 20s through Saturday night and then in the 30s starting Sunday night. Tuesday night the lows should finally be above freezing at a forecast 33 degrees.
Highs could warm from the mid to high 20s Thursday and Friday to the 30s on the weekend. By Tuesday and Wednesday highs could reach 38 degrees.
WA, OR travel forecast
The weather service expected snow and freezing rain Thursday night on Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass.
Less than one-tenth of an inch of ice and 5 to 9 inches of snow was forecast.
A mix of rain, freezing rain and snow at times was forecast Friday through midday Sunday, with another one-tenth inch of ice possible Friday but little snow or ice accumulation after that.
Sunday night through at least Thursday, precipitation is expected to fall as snow.
Interstate 84 was open through the Columbia Gorge in Oregon Thursday after an ice storm Wednesday. But heavy traffic was causing a delay of two or more hours between Troutdale and Hood River, the Oregon Department of Transportation said.
A 40% chance of freezing rain and sleet before 2 p.m. on Friday was forecast.
Highway 14 on the Washington state side of the gorge reopened between Washougal and the Hood River Bridge Road, with the exception of large trucks. The road remained icy, said the Washington state Department of Transportation Thursday afternoon.
Interstate 84 east of Pendleton, Ore., also may be icy Friday. Rain and freezing rain was expected at the pass 30 miles east of Pendleton early Friday morning. and possibly between 10 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday, according to the weather service.
Tri-Cities overnight shelter
The Benton Franklin Health District said overnight shelter options are available in three Tri-Cities communities:
▪ Kennewick Christian Church, 1921 S. Olympia St., is open 24 hours when temperatures fall below 10 degrees.
▪ All Saints Episcopal Church, 1322 Kimball Ave., Richland, is open 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. when temperatures fall below 20 degrees.
▪ Tri-City Union Gospel Mission, 221 S. Fourth Ave., Pasco, is open 24 hours a day for men only when temperatures fall below 32 degrees or there is snow, rain or wind.