(this post covered the weather situation from noon till 5 pm – follow this link to find Sunday night updates – thanks!)
Starting a new post. Tons of info in the morning post, so if you haven’t read that already, start there, but please add new comments here (and e-mail us photos). Now, the latest: Jana called to say that Thistle is closed at 35th to the top of the hill (heading west). 35th/Roxbury has a stalled bus. The photo above is from The Goulds on Barton in Fauntleroy, who report:
Barton Street is an ice rink. Barton St, between the Ferry Dock and 35th is a graveyard of buses – 4 of the Route 54s and one Sound Transit 560. Buses were sent out this morning with no chains, some sort of bad call by Metro Transit authorities. Drivers indicate there are only two trucks for all of King County that can rescue the buses and get chains put on them. Some folks can get up and down Barton, others cannot and give it up. Success seems to be tire and driver skill related. We have seen all 4 wheels on some 4-wheel drives spinning.
Here’s another one of their photos:
They promised to try to walk to Westwood Village to see how things are there. 12:22 PM UPDATE: Heather has provided some photos from Alki – first, Alki Ave doesn’t look much better than the roads in higher areas of West Seattle:
Seattle Public Utilities has just sent a news release headed “Coldest Weather in 18 Years Forecast, Take Steps Now to Protect Pipes From Freezing.” We’ll upload the news release as a PDF here in a minute if we can’t find a link on the city website. (Here it is.) Editorializing now, that is the FIRST official communication we have received from local governments all morning. Maybe there’s a media list we’ve missed being on. But media lists aside, the websites are not updated (just look at seattle.gov). Can’t someone at least be updating them from home? Good business for us, but we would much rather have Web/RSS/Twitter/etc. access to official info to filter for you and link to – WSDOT is something of a trendsetter in that regard. In our old-media days, many of us were under orders to get to work even if we had to walk, to get TV and Web coverage going. 12:49 PM UPDATE: Looks like sanding/plowing may have made some progress – check the latest “live” picture from the Fauntleroy/Alaska traffic camera (looking to the northeast):
Remember, the WSB Traffic page has screengrabs of all the West Seattle-area traffic cams (and related ones on I-5, 99, etc.) – find it here. As for other areas – not so lucky. This just in from Julie:
We live on Admiral Way and 53rd. Admiral is a mess. There have been no snow plows this side of California Way on Admiral and it’s a sheet of ice. Drivers are attempting it and either getting stuck or rethinking and turning back down the hill. We had planned to go to the grocery store and tried to go out in it but about 6 cars were stopped or stuck in various parts of the road. According to the city snow plow map, they only service Admiral up to California Ave, and not West.
ANOTHER EVENT CANCELLATION: The Esoterics concert at Holy Rosary is cancelled. It was scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm. We’ll also add that to the “events canceled/happening” post we’ve been keeping. AN EVENT STILL HAPPENING: If you are able to get to The Junction SAFELY (walking, perhaps?) – Santa is on hand at Cupcake Royale as planned – for photos, with donations to benefit local nonprofits – till 4 pm. (More info on the West Seattle Junction [WSB sponsor] website.)1:03 PM UPDATE: An explanation from County Executive Ron Sims himself on what’s up with the lack of bus info online – We sent a message via Twitter (which he uses quite avidly) to ask why no updated bus info on the Web; he said “Our network went down” and, they’re fixing it. 1:08 PM UPDATE: Another snow hazard, just described on the scanner – location unknown, may not be West Seattle but certainly could happen here – blowing snow suddenly falling from branches, roofs, awnings, etc. So walkers beware as well. (We see this happening in our back yard right now, in fact.) Also – JayDee is back from a trip to PCC and sent photos (we’ll post in a moment), as well as saying, “Overall, I don’t understand why people are driving. The 51 I took home was fishtailing and if he’d had to stop on the hill the driver said ‘If I stop on the hill, I am spending the night on the bus’.” First photo’s from 55th/Spokane:
This one, 56th SW near Schmitz Park:
Another photo to add – this one’s from David Hutchinson, who took it at Don Armeni, where the Christmas Ship is due at 7:10 pm tonight:
1:21 PM UPDATE: Looks like Metro’s website is indeed now offering updated information – here’s the bus-problems page. If your route is on a “reroute,” here’s the link again with the map of all such snow/ice routes. (That’s from our early morning post with a long list of helpful links – see it here if you missed it.) A new comment says Hanford is closed east of California (map). 1:45 PM UPDATE: Just went out to watch the California/Thistle plateau intersection. Lots of turning around from people reaching it and looking eastward up the Thistle hill. A smidge of video shortly. (Scanner has somebody totally stuck further east on Thistle, at 36th, calling for a tow truck. Update – that may be a bus – Jana called to say one is stuck around Thistle/41st, which is where the 22 usually turns to head north.) Meantime, scanner reports complaint of people riding motorcycles (ATV’s?) on the sidewalk on northbound California at Fauntleroy. Great. Also, another Morgan Hill update from Pamela McCarty: “It is not sanded or plowed. I have lived by here for 10 years and have never seen it closed. 35th is sanded and plowed and saw a 21 bus pick up going north (with no chains) at 1:09.” Photo, taken two blocks west of 35th:
We’ve had a suggestion we post some fun photos too. How about video? This was uploaded to YouTube by Jeff Johnson, who sent us the link:
And from Darren Pilon in Arbor Heights, a dog who looks quite at home in the snow, his American Eskimo named Abby:
2:07 PM UPDATE: The good news for those of us here in Upper Fauntleroy is, there seems to be a snowplow pointed west on Thistle. The bad news is – there’s a Sound Transit bus sideways blocking its progress (thanks to Jana for the phone tip on this):
2:21 PM UPDATE: And another break for a “cute kid in snow” photo – this one’s from Admiral
As for the roads – update from Mona, who’s in Arbor Heights, stuck behind 2 stalled buses at 35th/106th (map) – she also sent this photo:
If you’re just joining us, remember to read the comments too – lots of great info there and while we will repost major items (road closure reports, etc.) here in the main post, that doesn’t cover anything. Meantime, here’s even more about the Arbor Heights situation (and vicinity), from MargL:
Just walked up to the intersection of 106th and 35th in Arbor Heights. Talked to a Metro 21 bus driver (pic attached) who said he’d been stuck at the intersection since about 8AM. He estimated that last 21 that got thru was probably around 10AM. He’s waiting for his supervisor to bring some chains and enjoying the circus show of folks trying to get around the corner from 35th AVE to SW 106th. We were both pretty surprised bus maintenance decided not to chain the buses this morning given the advance weather reports and the condition of the roads. 106th heading east toward White Center is a sheet of ICE. Saw many many cars fishtailing and skidding down the hills and one delivery truck stuck sideways on the curb. Saw no evidence of plowing or sanding anywhere. On the walk home also spotted a Seattle Public Utilities employee on a service call to a house – but it wasn’t a power outage, just some low hanging wires.
2:31 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Hopey for sending the Metro real-time bus tracker link, which she says appears to be up to date (find it here). Meanwhile, Cathy Woo sent some pix from Alki including a snow-o-saur and snow family:
2:49 PM UPDATE: Speaking of families, the question has come up: What about school tomorrow? From old-media experience, we can say that the call sometimes isn’t made till very early morning – Seattle Public Schools, for example, sends a bus around to test the routes. However, given that you can kind of tell NOW what tomorrow morning’s going to be like, perhaps a decision will be reached sooner. One good place to watch (we’ll watch too) is the “emergency messages” page on schoolreport.org, which has member school districts (and some private schools) all over the region that report in. If you are a West Seattle or White Center private school and you DON’T report to SchoolReport.org, we invite you to call or e-mail us (all WSB contact info is here) when you make your decision and we’ll be happy to post it tonight/tomorrow (and of course beyond). On another note – 911 dispatch is sending two engines to 34th/106th, close to scene of the bus photos above, for a “motor-vehicle accident” call. ADDED 3:03 PM: Well, there’s more trouble, a “heavy rescue” dispatch to northbound I-5 – car into guard rail 200 yards before the West Seattle Bridge exit. Will monitor. Meantime, Vanessa is back home on Alki after a trip to LA and sent some photos from her return, including a view from the airplane window, followed by The Bridge (with heavy sanding evidence):
If anyone travels the Roxbury-to-Olson-to-509 airport route later today (or has already been), we’ve got at least one person in WSB-land who really needs to know the latest for that area, for a trip later tonight. Switching gears, another sledding video from Jeff Johnson:
3:15 PM UPDATE: The iced arterials near WSB HQ have finally gotten some sanding/plowing love – suddenly there arose such a clatter, we looked out the front window to see what was the matter, then what to our eyes did appear but:
A moment ago, it took off northbound on California, same way it’s pointed in that photo. (For the other side of the weather spectrum, this link just appeared in our Twitter feed: LA’s expecting an inch of rain tonight/tomorrow. 4:06 PM UPDATE: Back from a neighborhood walk to see how things are out there. Neighborhood kids/parents are sledding; e-mail reminds us that sledding in the street can be very dangerous if the street’s not closed (we just saw one close call ourselves). Also got word that the “Morgan hill” between 35th and Fauntleroy Way is open again — technically — Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association says, “the signs are now down but the conditions are only improved a little and will become icy again as the temperature falls,” so avoid that area anyway. Also from the inbox, a short news release from SDOT:
SDOT crews worked throughout last night and through today, Sunday, on major arterial city streets. Many sea-level streets remained bare and wet, but streets at higher elevations, on hills, and in shaded areas were icy. Crews used 18 vehicles to apply de-icer and sand as needed.
Crews are working on 12-hour shifts. The forecast for tonight calls for continued low temperatures. Night crews will replace day crews and will continue with 18 vehicles to patrol streets and treat as needed. As the night progresses, crews will focus on preparing streets for the Monday morning commute.
Got a Twitter message from Melanie that a plow was recently spotted heading westbound on Admiral. And another “Morgan hill” update from Cindi – it JUST got sanded. 4:22 PM: Going back through the inbox to make sure we didn’t miss anything big. We did miss an Admiral update from Bree hours ago, but this advice in her note still stands:
Also, can you please remind drivers to pay extra special attention when driving on ice. This morning I almost got rear-ended twice, first a guy on his cell phone was trying to go the speed limit and was following me way too close. The second time it was a couple of kids on Admiral who were going too fast and then slammed on his brakes, scary!
Nancy Folsom also sent an update on the Delridge group in this morning’s Jingle Bell Run downtown:
Some of the Delridge team had to bow out to colds and minor (we hope) surgery. But a few of us made it downtown for the run. It was fun. I don’t know how many people usually attend but it sure seemed jam packed for each event. It was particularly silly fun when we entered the first tunnel and the crowd broke out into song. “Jingle Bells,” of course, at full strength. Who cares if it was just one chorus over and over?
The only hard part was waiting for the return buses which we guessed were held up to due to weather or road conditions in West Seattle. Yea Metro drivers for getting people around town safely in these icy conditions!
4:36 PM UPDATE: Heads up that after 5 pm or so, we will start a “Sunday night” post – like this one, the Sunday morning version, and the Saturday night version – but for now, a few more things. Josh Sutton from the West Seattle Family YMCA (WSB sponsor) sends word on their schedule:
WS YMCA will close early at 6 pm tonight (no evening Yoga or Volleyball). Fauntleroy YMCA closes at 5 pm (normal). WS Y will be open at normal time (5:30am), but likely that many classes & programs won’t be running in early am – depending on instructor’s ability to get there. Fauntleroy will be wait & see, but likely open by 6 am. Status of our school-based programs will be based upon School District decision (if closed, we’re closed, etc).
No word yet on school; as mentioned earlier, you can watch schoolreport.org and, for Seattle Public Schools, their home page. Also — MAYBE some more snow in the hours to come – from the midafternoon “forecast discussion”:
FORECASTING DETAILS OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS HAS BEEN DIFFICULT TO NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. TODAY MOISTURE WRAPPING AROUND AN UPPER LOW OFFSHORE THAT IS MOVING SOUTHWARD HAS MADE IT UP TO TACOMA-SHELTON-HOQUIAM. AS A RESULT…THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY HAS BEEN EXTENDED OVER SOUTHERN LOWLAND LOCATIONS UNTIL 10 PM THIS EVENING. THE AIR MASS SEATTLE NORTHWARD IS DRY. ALSO…PRESSURE GRADIENTS ARE INCREASINGLY NORTHERLY. THAT COMBINATION ALONG WITH ALL GUIDANCE WOULD STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT SNOW SHOWERS MAKING IT FARTHER NORTH THAN IT ALREADY IS WILL NOT GIVE ACCUMULATIONS. WHAT IS TROUBLING IS THAT RADAR AND SATELLITE CONTINUE TO SHOW MOISTURE STREAMING NORTHWARD INTO WHAT APPEARS TO BE A DEVELOPING DEFORMATION ZONE WRAPPING INTO THE OFFSHORE LOW. IF THIS FEATURE MAKES IT FARTHER NORTH AND STALLS…HEAVIER AMOUNTS COULD OCCUR IN PLACES LIKE HOQUIAM…SHELTON…OLYMPIA…AND EVEN UP TO SEATTLE. WE WILL BE MONITORING SATELLITE AND RADAR CAREFULLY OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS.
Via Twitter, Pam from Nerd’s Eye View forwarded a link to this ominous-looking radar “blob” of wetness appearing to be heading this way. 4:52 PM UPDATE: Just pointed out in comments – Lander is closed below Admiral. Also, a question was posed in comments re: the condition of Barton between 35th and Fauntleroy Church (WSB sponsor), where there’s a choir concert in an hour — Pigeonmom just noted it’s “fine … just go slow.” Switching locations – before we move on to evening coverage, two views of the Alki Statue of Liberty in the snow; one from Amy, who had insomnia last night and decided to go see the snow at Alki; second one, from David Hutchinson earlier today: