West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to James Bratsanos for the view of tonight’s sunset – a peek of golden sunshine before another round of stormy weather moves in. The National Weather Service has the entire county under a Flood Watch alert for Saturday afternoon through Sunday night – so check those storm drains in the morning!
The rainy season is here, and Seattle Public Utilities is getting to the next phase of deciding where to install 7-10 blocks of natural drainage systems – such as roadside raingardens – for the Longfellow Natural Drainage Systems Project. It’s hosting drop-in discussions at two spots next Wednesday (October 25th). From SPU spokesperson Brian Mickelson:
For these drop-in sessions, SPU is most interested in hearing from folks that live along the blocks we’re considering installing natural drainage. That includes 30th Ave SW between SW Barton St down to just below SW Roxbury St, 29th Ave SW between SW Barton St and SW Roxbury St, 25th Ave SW between SW Barton St and SW Roxbury St, and the area immediately surrounding 24th Ave SW and SW Kenyon St (we sent the attached postcard to those neighbors specifically). That said, we are of course happy to chat with anyone that wants to stop by.
The drop-in discussions will be 4-6 pm Wednesday at 30th/Barton and 24th/Kenyon. For more backstory, see the project FAQ here. The city announced the project back in May, saying that construction is expected in 2019.
5:33 PM: The wind arrived in time for the Wednesday commute home, as forecast. So far, here are the closest problems we’re hearing about:
-NB Highway 509 is reported to be blocked at Cloverdale (just east of West Seattle) by downed power lines.
-Power’s out in southeast White Center and parts south for more than 3,800 customers.
The National Weather Service‘s wind-advisory alert remains in effect through 11 pm. We’ll update with any other storm-related problems we hear about – please let us know about anything you see, text/voice 206-293-6302. Thanks!
5:52 PM: According to the scanner, a tree is blocking westbound Sylvan Way at Orchard – that would be just west of Delridge Way SW.
7:22 PM: According to the City Light map, most of the people who lost power in White Center and points south now have it back – that outage is down to ~200 customers.
9:24 PM: The photo is from Xana, who explains she heard a huge crack/pop sound from her apartment in the 2300 block of Bonair SW around 7 pm:
I walked out back to where the walkway meets the parking lot and shazam! Was shocked to see the tree in our back courtyard broke and fell and is blocking the entire walkway. If someone had been walking there they would have been crushed or impaled!
The person in her photo is posed by the downed tree to show the scale.
MIDNIGHT UPDATE: WSDOT says in an e-mail update that NB 509 has reopened.
You’ve been hearing that stormier weather is on the way: Tomorrow (Wednesday), the National Weather Service has a “wind advisory” in effect for our area, 11 am-11 pm. What that means:
*WIND…Southeast 20 to 30 mph with gusts 40 mph. …
*TIMING…Winds will increase early Wednesday afternoon and peak during the evening commute.
Heavy rain is likely tomorrow night too, and power outages are possible, so keep everything charged!
Thanks to the texter who sent that photo of sandbags outside Delridge Community Center, a traditional pickup spot for those who live in flood-prone areas of West Seattle – particularly along nearby Longfellow Creek (which flooded in a big way 10 years ago). Meantime, the approaching storm now looks to be the rainiest on Wednesday and Thursday, so you have a little more time to clear your storm drain(s) and take other preparatory steps.
Thanks to Michael Schutzler for tonight’s sunset view above, and Danny McMillin for this morning’s crescent-moon view below:
Savor the clarity while you can – the National Weather Service warns that a “wet and windy pattern will develop over Western Washington starting Monday night and will continue through the upcoming weekend.” That’s from a “hydrologic outlook” alert that, as @WestSeaWx warns, might be followed by other alerts if the pattern continues to develop that way. So – as noted in this WSB report back on Monday – it’s a good time to get your fall/winter storm readiness routine going … at least, keep everything charged, keep flashlights handy, and as the NWS suggests, check your nearest storm drain(s). (The weather isn’t supposed to start turning until late tomorrow night, so there’s still time.)
Thanks for the Sunday sunset photos!
The week will start with sunshine, the forecast says, before the clouds take over.
If the forecast holds true, this might have been our last colorful sunset for a while.
2:55 PM: Did you just hear the thunder? The National Weather Service has a short-term alert out for “isolated” thunderstorms in the area over the next few hours.
4:25 PM: If you’re just heading home, it’s been squalling off and on – intermittent periods of intense rain – light rain right now, but who knows how long that’ll last.
This past Wednesday night, Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) and Holy Rosary churches co-sponsored an evening with meteorologist Jeff Renner, best known for the many years he spent at KING 5 television. The discussion at OLG’s Walmesley Center was centered on Pope Francis‘s 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si,” addressing care for “our common home” – the planet. We recorded it on video, and you can watch it above (Renner takes the microphone at 9:30 into the video, preceded by introductions from emcee Mark Stoelinga, a meteorologist and Holy Rosary parishioner, and a prayer from OLG’s Father Jack Walmesley).
Thanks to Annika Bowden for that sunset view looking beyond Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza, where the last Saturday night of summer is being celebrated at the last Salsa on Alki Beach session of 2017. We watched the wildfire-smoke-reddened sunset a few miles south at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook:
The National Weather Service says smoke will persist into tomorrow morning and then we can expect “rain at times in the afternoon.”
Multiple people have texted and e-mailed us today, certain something was on fire very nearby. Way too smoky and smelly for it to be the wildfires, again, they were certain. Nope, the Washington Smoke Information website says, the fires to our east are the culprit:
When the Canadian smoke model forecast some smoke in Seattle this morning, we thought it was over-doing the east winds. Turns out it wasn’t. Smoke from the Jolly Mountain and Norse Peak fire are now being transported to western WA.
But this won’t be another weeklong smother – “It is expected that these conditions will be with us until mid morning on Sunday.” And at some point after that, we’re promised rain. The National Weather Service says so too.
If you’re hoping to wake up to smokelessness … you might be disappointed. The National Weather Service’s Air Quality Alert for our area was extended and is in effect through noon tomorrow. And the waning-from-full moon tonight is still red/orange. The newest “forecast discussion” says they’re hopeful it will clear out by Friday, and there’s still some chance of showers on the way.
You saw it on cars … and in the air … but did you notice the wildfire ash in spider webs? We received two views – above, from Trileigh; below, Kathleen:
The forecast of improving air quality today (Wednesday) might truly come to pass … we’ve noticed over the past hour=plus that the full moon, which started as red as it was last night, is brightening.
With morning views like that one from Don Brubeck riding on the low bridge, above, and from Roy van Duivenbode, riding on the Water Taxi, below, you won’t be surprised to hear the National Weather Service has extended its wildfire-smoke-fueled Air Quality Alert for the area into tomorrow, now set to expire at 5 pm Wednesday.
The NWS’s latest “forecast discussion” acknowledges “many reports of falling ash” (we first mentioned it late last night), saying it “will likely continue” this afternoon. Here’s a car-top view of that, from David Hutchinson on Alki:
Back to the NWS update:
The smoke will actually help keep high temperatures down today. Have updated the morning forecast to reflect this with highs generally reaching into the mid to upper 80s over much of the area … The thermally induced surface trough along the coast will move into the interior late this afternoon helping start the transition back to onshore flow along the coast in the afternoon and evening. The heat advisory remains in effect for parts of the area today.
Weak low-level flow onshore tonight will help marine clouds work onto the coast and to a limited extend into the interior, reaching as far as (Shelton) by Wednesday morning. This will help improve air quality somewhat as smoke clears from the west overnight. It is likely that this clearing will mostly affect the coast and strait tonight, with smoke likely lingering into Wednesday over much of the interior. Have extended the air quality alert through Wednesday afternoon to reflect this.
No burn ban, though; we have a question out to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency seeking information about that.
P.S. Expect another red moon tonight – moonrise is at 7:41 pm, and it’s officially full just after midnight.
9:49 PM: Thanks to Ben Hutchinson for the photo! We were discussing the smoke-reddened almost-full-moon view on Twitter thanks to a heads-up from @WestSeaWx, but no image until Ben’s photo arrived. The color’s a lot like what we saw at sunset, vivid orange-red, now that wildfire smoke has moved back in – this time the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says it’s coming west from the Cascades. And the National Weather Service has an Air Quality Alert for our area through midnight tomorrow night, citing Montana smoke moving this way too. This map shows the fires around the region:
Meantime, we’re also still under a Heat Advisory alert from the NWS>, through 10 pm Tuesday night.
11:11 PM: If you go out to look at the moon, you might notice ash in the air, too, and a light dusting on parked vehicles.
6:43 PM: Yes, we know sunspots don’t really affect Earth weather, but the photo David Hutchinson sent today still seemed a fitting image to go with news of a weather alert for the next two days. The National Weather Service has issued a “Heat Advisory“ for noon Monday through 10 pm Tuesday, saying the high temperature both days could get into the mid-90s. The forecast for both days also mentions “areas of smoke.”
P.S. Back to the sunspots – David points us to spaceweather.com for the explanation.
7:59 PM: Tonight brought a gorgeous sunset – James Bratsanos captured the color:
8:39 AM: And from the next generation of photos in James’s family, Ellie Bratsanos took this one:
What a sunset! (Thanks to Jim S. in Fauntleroy for the photo.) This time, though, the wildfire smoke that reddened the setting sun wasn’t from British Columbia, but from Oregon, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. More than 300,000 acres are burning in Oregon, according to this update from The Oregonian; the biggest is near the southern coast, as shown on this map.
9:12 AM: We’re starting our eclipse coverage as more of a weather report. While it’s been sunny here in Upper Fauntleroy at ~300 feet, the fog’s rolling through again. We’re headed to check higher elevations. Updates to come.
9:22 AM: In general – if you’re socked in, head east/south. We’re at 35th/Thistle, and the sky’s blue both to the east (Highland Park/Westwood) and now to the north as we head toward High Point.
Myrtle Reservoir Park (35th/Myrtle; photos added above) is near the highest point in the city, lots of open space, and people are watching.
9:40 AM: Now arriving at High Point Library at 35th/Raymond. Big crowd. If you need a parking space, be prepared to walk a ways.
9:57 AM: The viewing party here is inside and outside. Outside, the view of the sun is on the east side of the library:
Thanks to everybody who offered to share their glasses – we took a quick look and even at partial, it’s amazing! Meantime, inside, the recently upgraded library meeting room has NASA’s live broadcast on the big screen:
The NASA stream includes a feed from the special Gulfstream aircraft that’s flying over the path of upcoming totality in Lincoln City, Oregon (read about it here) – it took off this morning from nearby Boeing Field, and is scheduled to return there around 12:30 pm.
10:04 AM: A lady here in the meeting room just announced to everyone that her daughter in Ocean Shores reports it’s “getting dark” there. In here, the NASA feed is having trouble due to overload.
Meantime, if you’re just going outside to see the near-totality, Lora Swift from the West Seattle Junction Association tells us skies are clear for their viewing party too (Junction Plaza Park, 42nd/Alaska, photo above).
And Jamie Kinney just tweeted the telescope-camera photo above.
10:34 AM: Maximum coverage has come and gone; the sun won’t be fully revealed again for about an hour in our area. More photos: First, eclipse “shadows” on the ground at High Point Library:
Peak-coverage crowd at High Point, with some “wows” and cheers:
At Junction Plaza Park, where Lora (who sent the photos from there) says about 200 people showed up!
Not far away, a few people went up to the roof at West Seattle Christian Church and sent this photo:
(added) At Jack Block Park – here are West Seattle High School teachers Joy Patman and Renee Phelps, eclipse-watching (thanks for the photos!):
Back to the sun and the moon – another photo from Jamie Kinney, taken at the 92 percent peak:
(Added: Here’s a gallery of Jamie’s images.) We will add video later that we rolled during the peak coverage. No, it did not get dark.
ADDED 12:45 PM: More photos – first, perhaps the most-enthusiastic eclipse viewer we saw:
Here’s High Point librarian Nathalie, who worked energetically to keep everyone informed of the eclipse status and what was going on at the library, inside and out:
Unique viewing apparatus included a colander:
Everyone we saw heeded the “don’t look without glasses” warnings:
One other unusual view – two Alki residents sent us this view of a “white rainbow” in the fog during the eclipse, looking across the low tide – this photo is from Lynn Hall:
Another gathering spot – Providence Mount St. Vincent. (Thanks for the texted photo!)
ADDED 5:32 PM: Thanks to Greg Snyder, a West Seattleite who went to Cascade, Idaho, to be in the totality zone, and shared this image:
And thanks to those who are sharing photos in the comment section below!
AND MORE: From Tom Stoner, another view of the “vegetation shadows” that showed the eclipse:
Another totality view – this one from Alki photographer David Hutchinson, who went south to watch, from “south of Baker City, Oregon, at the Weatherby Rest Area along I-84”:
P.S. The next solar eclipse visible in the U.S. will be in April 2024 – but nowhere near here.
Thanks to James Bratsanos for the photo of tonight’s sunset – colorful without wildfire-smoke enhancement. It was also spectacular before the sun emerged from the clouds, as Don Brubeck‘s photo from Alki shows:
Five weeks left in summer … the autumn equinox is at 1:02 pm our time on September 22nd.
As predicted, the air is clearing. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has lifted the burn ban; the National Weather Service no longer has an air-quality alert in effect. And the latest forecast has a chance of showers overnight tonight, more of a chance tomorrow night.
West Seattle pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen sent that photo, saying he thought neighbors here would be interested to see just how far out, and high up, the wildfire smoke has spread. If you’ve been wondering about relief – forecasters say it’s on the way, even before the chance of showers predicted for this Sunday. The updated Air Quality Alert for the region says, “Conditions are expected to begin improving Thursday night, but even more so on Friday as strengthening southerly flow aloft pushes the smoke out of the area.” So all those eerie views should soon be a memory – including sunset/sunrise views that even revealed sunspots, as Kersti Muul‘s photo shows:
As for the source of the smoke – British Columbia expects some rain, but not enough to extinguish the wildfires.
No burning during a Stage 1 air quality burn ban including:
• No charcoal barbeques or similar solid fuel devices
• No fire pits, chimineas, fire bowls, or similar free-standing devices
• No campfires or bonfires
• No fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves, or uncertified inserts*
• No agricultural fires (as described in the agricultural burn permit)
• Local fire districts do not grant Native American ceremonial fire permits outside of tribal
lands during air quality burn bans.
It is OK to use natural gas and propane grills, stoves, or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.
* The only exception to using fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves or inserts, is if the homeowner has a
previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ exemption from the Clean Air Agency
Meantime, here’s the latest on the B.C. wildfires.