As so often seems to be the case, last week's snowstorm came without much warning. Most people in the western end of Klickitat County appeared to be taken by surprise when they woke up on Wednesday, Nov. 28, to see a significant snowfall already on the ground, with more coming down.
Approximately 10 inches of wet snow dumped into the area, and the result was a day off from school for students and a day away from work for teachers and others.
It also proved to be a day-long headache for local police officers, who went from site to site, aiding motorists stuck in snowy ditches and helping to remove trucks and cars that were blocking roads around the area. The inclines that characterize Bingen Hill and Alternate 141 were especially troublesome.
"It was not really too bad other than numerous cars in the ditch and minor accidents," said Klickitat County Sheriff Chris Mace. "There was nothing real serious, and no serious injury accidents."
Mace said White Salmon and Bingen probably experienced the most trouble.
"The big problem area was the west end. Poor old Bingen-White Salmon and that hill!" said Mace. "But most people stayed in and took it easy. A few who got out and weren't prepared had some problems."
The heavy snow created other problems: falling tree limbs led to power outages in several areas. Snowden and Klickitat were hard hit, and went without power for hours.
As of late in the afternoon of Nov. 28, areas out of power also included portions of White Salmon, most of Trout Lake, BZ Corner, Northwestern Lake, and portions of Glenwood.
In all cases, power was restored by early the next day.
Those who waited until the snow fell to get snow tires or studs on their vehicles paid a big price: Les Schwab outlets in Hood River and The Dalles were swamped with requests, and a wait of at least several hours to get more appropriate tires for the new weather conditions proved to be typical.
However, no major problems were reported.
Bingen Mayor Brian Prigel said the storm did not create any severe problems for the Bingen area.
"We were lucky it hit late enough in the morning so we didn't have to call the guys in from home to plow," he said.
Bingen's public works crews had to clear grates on Dry Creek, which Prigel said is not uncommon in the winter.
"Ice, leaves, and other debris plugs up at certain points and can create flooding if left unattended," he pointed out.