(Photo by Meredith, looking cityward from the bridge over Fairmount Ravine)
1:24 PM: It’s a freezing rain/snow mix here right now. Afternoon updates are below. Thanks yet again to everyone for sharing photos, road reports, business closed/open updates, everything else to help your West Seattle neighbors through day two of weather woes!
(Latest bridge and Viaduct views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
1:44 PM UPDATE: Waiting to see if the National Weather Service will extend the “ice storm warning” past 2 pm, since this doesn’t appear likely to end any time soon. At noon, weather analyst Cliff Mass predicted at least several more hours, and explained why this wasn’t foreseen till it was almost upon us.
2:05 PM UPDATE: Definitely snow out there now. Traffic alert: SDOT says a crash in the northbound 99 lanes at the Battery St. Tunnel has those lanes all CLOSED. From the city emergency-ops center:
With ice and snow continuing to cause challenging travel conditions, the City of Seattle is encouraging people to get home before dark if possible. After dark, icy conditions may worsen and ice will become more difficult to see. Pedestrians should exercise caution – many sidewalks are icy, and there is danger of falling ice from trees, buildings and power lines.
Residents are discouraged from all but essential travel to help keep roads open and safe for emergency vehicles, transit and snow removal. Streets may appear bare and wet but may be covered with ice, which will be difficult to see after dark. Ice accumulation could lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches, a danger for both drivers and pedestrians.
The National Weather Service has now switched our area to a Winter Weather Advisory (read it here) – which insists that it will warm up late tonight and all this will end.
2:47 PM UPDATE: Still snowing steadily and in the “new accumulation” category. We’ve received official word that the fire-relief benefits for Teri Ensley and Furry Faces Foundation tonight ARE POSTPONED. They’ve just settled on the date – Sunday the 22nd. … Road-condition report: Illusions Hair Design (WSB sponsor) between The Junction and Morgan Junction took this photo after plowing/sanding crew went by a little while ago:
3:33 PM UPDATE: Josh sent this photo of the thick sheet of ice cleared off his wife’s car:
Co-publisher Patrick had the same results when he went out to make sure at least one of the official WSB vehicles is in ready-to-go mode if news breaks – almost an inch of ice. If your car has been parked outside your workplace etc. all day, you’ll need time to get it ready to go.
3:44 PM: “Wires down” call in South Delridge. Reportedly involving a tree, according to scanner traffic. … SDOT says (via FB) they are “utilizing truck drivers from a sister department and equipment from a vendor to augment resources for snow response.” … Another addition to our list of closures/changes – Pagliacci says it’s too dangerous to send delivery drivers out.
4:07 PM UPDATE: Seattle Public Schools just announced they’re closed Friday. (They have not announced official make-up-day plans, for those who have asked.) … Holy Rosary and Westside School, too. We’ll update the school-closure page momentarily. … Metro also says it will continue on snow routing tomorrow.
4:27 PM UPDATE: Vashon Island School District latest to announce it’s closed tomorrow.(added) Seattle Public Schools has added some info about their decisionmaking process re: makeup days:
Next Tuesday, Jan. 24 is a three-hour early dismissal from schools because of a scheduled furlough day. That day cannot be used as a snow make-up day. District administration will determine tomorrow if Friday, Jan. 27 – a scheduled day off for professional development – can be used as a snow make-up day.
And we’ve also heard from Explorer West Middle School, they’ll close. Here’s where we’re updating the FRIDAY school-closure list.
5:21 PM UPDATE: Highline Public Schools is now on the closure list too. Meantime, we’ve heard from some area restaurants that ARE open tomorrow. We appreciate hearing directly – e-mail, comments, Facebook, Twitter – so here’s who says they’re open: Kokoras Greek Grill, La Rustica, Skylark, Blackboard Bistro, Terrible Beauty, Cactus on Alki. Also have seen mentions by Feedback Lounge, Locol, West 5, that they’re open and serving food. (Added: Proletariat Pizza, Zippy’s Giant Burgers, Circa.) But only if you can get there safely! Traffic alert: 1st Avenue South and S. Dakota Street, there’s a serious crash (rollover) – heard it on the scanner, and it’s affecting traffic in that area. … Got a note from Fairmount Park saying they haven’t had mail delivery in 2 days. Anyone else?
6:15 PM: The 1st/Dakota crash is cleared, per SDOT. There’s helpful info, meanwhile, in this update from King County – please especially take the part about checking on older/sick neighbors to heart. Re: the outage advice, we have had almost no trouble with that here – but things could change as the weather changes later tonight:
King County would like residents to keep four main points in mind overnight tonight and into the morning hours:
1) Residents must avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping grills and generators outside.
2) Only call 9-1-1 if you need immediate help from police, fire, or medics. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report power outages or road conditions.
3) Stay indoors and away from ice covered trees and power lines to avoid hazards from falling debris.
4) Shelters and warming centers are available throughout the county.
1. Carbon monoxide warnings
You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but carbon monoxide poisoning can kill. Follow these tips to avoid accidental injury or death from carbon monoxide during a power outage or at any other time:
Only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents.
Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or carports.
Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly and without warning. Physical symptoms may include splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy and fatigue.
If you believe you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Call for medical help from a neighbor’s home. The Fire Department will tell you when it is safe to re-enter your home.
If you have a power outage, use safe ways to stay warm. Find places where you can go to get warm, such as the home of friends and family with power. Many cities have opened centers where people can go during the day to stay warm. Center locations can be found at http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/prepare
Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors. Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets. Everyone should try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.
Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they are elderly or if you think their power might be out. If you know someone who has lost electricity, invite them to your home to stay warm. Warn neighbors, friends, family and community groups about carbon monoxide poisoning.
Keep 9-1-1 clear for emergencies
King County is currently experiencing a high volume of 9-1-1 calls that do not consist of actual emergencies. Only call 9-1-1 if you need immediate help from police, fire, or medics. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report power outages or road conditions.
Now to change the mood – thanks to whomever (on 51st SW, is all we saw) texted this photo:
6:46 PM UPDATE: Seattle Public Library says the system will open at 1 pm tomorrow.
8:05 PM UPDATE: Just added more photos to the “snow-bird” gallery, and we’re working on a few other things to publish before the overnight weather story, including a gallery with the day’s “fun” pix. First, an update from the city, starting with words of thanks from the mayor:
“Everyone has had a hand in helping respond to this winter storm,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “I want to thank city employees who are working around the clock, residents who are making smart travel choices and helping their neighbors, and the media for the great job they’re doing keeping the community informed and sharing safety information.”
According to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reports, traffic volumes were significantly down in the city Wednesday and Thursday. For instance, the morning peak commute around the 8 a.m. hour southbound on the Aurora Bridge dropped from about 4,300 vehicle trips per hour to around 600 trips.
SDOT crews will be working through the night to remove snow and ice on major arterials and apply anti-icing solution.