West Seattle, Washington
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.
Thanks to everyone who sent photos from last night’s red-again sunset – above is by Harry Pohlman; below, by Jim Borrow. We thought we’d wait to see how things looked this morning before publishing a weather update.
Verdict: No change. Still smoky. The National Weather Service has a Special Weather Statement about that saying the smoke is expected to persist at least through Saturday – and its Excessive Heat Warning is still in effect through 9 pm tonight, though temperatures haven’t been quite as high as feared. Last night, we also had multiple reports of what seemed to be ash accompanying the smoke – let us know if you’ve noticed that. And the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency‘s Stage 1 Burn Ban – no outdoor burning – continues TFN.
Thank you to everyone who sent photos from tonight’s sunset, reddened by wildfire smoke that kept thickening as the day proceeded. Up in British Columbia, the smoke is hindering the fight against the fires that are causing it.
Our state has fires burning too, but nothing like what’s going on in B.C.
You can check the air-quality status on the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website.
And remember we’re still under an Excessive Heat Warning alert through Friday night.
The smoke is even mentioned in the forecast.
Thanks to Gary Jones for the photo – while we were covering the plane recovery off Beach Drive, he was photographing the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) passing Alki Point, arriving for Seafair Fleet Week. Tomorrow (Wednesday, August 2nd), the Pearl Harbor-homeported ship is scheduled to (again) sail past West Seattle’s north-facing shore, headed to downtown, during the Seafair Parade of Ships – 1 pm is the official start time, but in past years they’ve appeared off Alki closer to 12:30. The full Parade of Ships lineup – scheduled to include another Navy ship, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, and two Royal Canadian Navy vessels – is on this Seafair webpage, along with information on touring them Thursday-Sunday.
ABOUT THE HAZE: You might notice the photo looks a little murky. The air’s grown increasingly hazy in the past few hours, and @WestSeaWx says it’s wildfire smoke, mostly blowing down this way from British Columbia, which is being hit very hard this season.
Today’s other big story: The heat-wave warning keeps intensifying. This morning, it was upgraded to an Excessive Heat Warning, with this summary for the area:
Unusually hot weather is forecast to begin Tuesday and continue through Friday. Widespread record highs are expected Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday should be the hottest day for most spots when highs will probably be within 5 degrees of the all-time records. Highs on Tuesday will be in the mid 80s to lower 90s, warming to the 90s to near 104 on Thursday. Friday will be slightly cooler, but highs will still be in the upper 80s and 90s.
The warning currently covers 2 pm Tuesday through 9 pm Friday. Meantime, the city is out with a long list of places to stay cool. Here are the West Seattle spots:
The following Seattle Public Library locations are equipped with air conditioning, and serve as cooling centers when the area experiences extreme heat. Please call the individual location before you go for open hours and to verify that the air conditioning is working. (Here are the two in West Seattle:)
·Delridge (5423 Delridge Way SW) – 206-733-9125
Monday: 1 pm. – 8 pm, Tuesday: 1 pm – 8 pm, Wednesday: 11 am – 6 pm, Thursday: 11 am – 6 pm, Friday: closed
·High Point (3411 SW Raymond St.) – 206-684-7454
Monday: 1 pm – 8 pm, Tuesday: 1 pm – 8 pm, Wednesday: 11 am – 6 pm, Thursday: 11 am – 6 pm, Friday: 11 am – 6 pm
The following senior centers have air conditioning or are relatively cool and are open to the public. Please call the individual location before you go for open hours and to verify that the facility is cool. (One West Seattle location:)
·Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon St) – 206-932-4044
The city also recommends wading pools and sprayparks – the full list is here; we always include a list of what’s open each day in our what’s-happening list. Outdoor Colman Pool (schedule here) is currently open 7 days a week on the shore at Lincoln Park, as is indoor Southwest Pool (schedule here) at 2801 SW Thistle.
As for air-conditioned restaurants, bars, coffee shops – we don’t have the horsepower to make 100+ calls to ask them all, so we would love your help – if you own one with A/C, and/or know of one, please either e-mail us (email@example.com) or comment below, and we’ll include it as this sizzling week goes on.
P.S. And PLEASE heed all the reminders about not leaving children, seniors, pets in hot vehicles (or other confined spaces) for even a moment. Plus, think of our feathered friends and fill up bird baths (or make temporary ones – we have Christmas-tree stands outside) so they have water for drinking and bathing.
FIRST REPORT, 6:47 PM SATURDAY: Eight years ago today, Seattle recorded its highest temperature ever – 103 degrees. @WestSeaWx pointed that out on Twitter earlier today with a heads-up that very hot weather is predicted next Tuesday-Thursday. And tonight, the National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement, which warns of exactly that. While we might not crack 100, the NWS says, Thursday might get close.
10 AM SUNDAY: The alert level has been raised to Excessive Heat Watch – same time frame.
7:11 AM MONDAY: The alert level has been raised again. Now it’s an Excessive Heat Warning, for 2 pm Tuesday through 9 pm Friday.
Thanks to everyone who sent views of tonight’s sunset! The one above is from Alki, courtesy of Donna Benaroya. Looks like we’re in for a warm weekend, some clouds, mostly sun. Alki is among the neighborhoods hosting big events this weekend – the 20th-anniversary Alki Art Fair this Saturday and Sunday – and we have a preview coming up later tonight.
9:53 PM: It’s been a great week for spectacular sunsets. In case you didn’t have a full view of tonight’s sunset – the photo above is courtesy of David Hutchinson.
ADDED 10:16 PM: More! Thanks to Greg Snyder for this time-lapse view of the golden pre-sunset transforming into a pink post-sunset:
And James Tilley captured the sun just before it finished disappearing behind the Olympics:
ADDED 11:30 PM: From Jim Borrow:
Thanks for the sunset photos! Not only is the first weekend of summer 2017 concluding, so is the record-setting heat – hottest June 25th on record at Sea-Tac, 96 degrees (old record 92 in 2006).
The “heat advisory” has expired, and the high tomorrow is expected to be in the 70s. And if that’s still too warm for you, take solace in the fact we are now just six months from Christmas.
5:42 PM: As noted last night along with a view of that spectacular sunset, thunderstorms were in the forecast – and now they’re here. After half a dozen rounds of rumbling, the rain’s just begun.
6:16 PM: Short-lived thunderstorms! Calm out there now.
After a holiday weekend full of sun … clouds returned before sunset. But they returned in a beautiful formation – altocumulus clouds, according to @WestSeaWx. The photo above is from Kevin Callahan in Seaview; thanks also to Philip, Stephanie, and David for similar views.
P.S. Forecast says we have a chance of thundershowers tomorrow afternoon/evening!
With the temperature expected to go into the 80s tomorrow, we’ve received notes from several readers worried about people endangering their pets by leaving them in cars, and asking us to share this seasonal reminder. One sent along this link with the numbers, including: “On an 85-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees.” Leaving the windows open an inch or two will NOT prevent the interior from getting dangerously hot.
(UPDATED EARLY FRIDAY with more lightning photos – scroll down)
3:57 PM: Just in time for the commute home – the predicted thunder and lightning have arrived. The National Weather Service has a “short-term forecast” alert, warning that “small hail and heavy downpours” are possible. And as we get ready to publish this – the downpour has arrived. Updates to come.
4:13 PM: While it’s brightening a bit, @WestSeaWx – who has been tracking this on Twitter for days – says another thunderstorm, currently warned to be “severe,” is moving this way from the Olympia area.
For our area right now, there’s an updated short-term alert.
4:58 PM: More thunder.
5:22 PM: And the rain followed. Also a potentially related traffic alert: Colby tells us via Twitter that the traffic signal at 26th/106th/107th is flashing red.
Downpour & thunder pic.twitter.com/xgWXRsjzrm
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 5, 2017
5:54 PM: Our short video clip is more for the audio than the video – pouring rain, and some thunder. We’re waiting for it to calm before heading out to our evening meeting coverage. Looks like the clouds are lifting to the west. (added) Sound Transit just sent an alert saying its express buses, including West Seattle/White Center-serving Route 560, are delayed because of the storm.
6:01 PM: If your pet got lost in the storm – or if you found someone else’s pet – remember that WSB has the only all-West Seattle lost/found pets page – e-mail us photo, info, phone #. Just added lost dog Shasta a minute ago.
7:58 PM: The weather’s calm now but one last thing – not sure if it was weather-related or not but it wasn’t too long after that last big burst, a car flip on the Delridge offramp from the westbound West Seattle Bridge:
Thanks to “Westwood Charlie” for the photo. No details but checking the SFD log for the response to this incident, no medic or aid unit was in service long enough to transport someone, which means no major injuries.
ADDED EARLY FRIDAY: More lightning views! The first is a frame from video by David Hutchinson:
From Chris Frankovich, lightning in the clouds:
— Lindsay (@Lindsaylew03) April 19, 2017
Tuesday evening brought a mix of sun, rain, and rainbows. Many lovely photos were shared with us via Twitter … thought we would close out the night by re-posting this one here.
Thanks for all the rainbow photos! At the end of an afternoon that toggled between sun and rain, with thunder along the way, it was a beautiful sight from many angles. The top photo is by Andria Hoover, who explained, “We just happened to be driving by Belvedere Park when we saw this full rainbow. It was only there for a few mins, but was beautiful!!”
From some places, the full double rainbow was visible – Judah Stevenson sent the photo above, saying, “Can’t say I’ve ever seen such a distinct perfect rainbow. The photo was taken from Avalon area looking east.”
The Elliott Bay view above is from Tiff Rivera. And this next one is from Tammi Doyle, west of The Junction:
Finally, a view from the low bridge, over the Duwamish, tweeted by Russ Walker:
Tuesday’s forecast suggests sunshine!
4:52 PM: Thanks to Susan for sending the tip about this while we still had a crew in Admiral, post-fire … SW Lander is blocked at 42nd SW on the north side of Hiawatha Community Center/Park while Seattle Parks crews take down a storm-damaged tree that’s near the sidewalk, by the tennis courts. This is the first notable storm damage we’ve heard of in West Seattle today; more photos to come. The National Weather Service has, meantime, extended the wind advisory to 1 am.
5:40 PM: Above, our photo of the crew working on the tree; below, nearby resident Sacha sent a wider look:
And from North Admiral, Amy sent the next photo, a fence crunched by a big falling branch:
Because the rain-saturated ground potentially has destabilized trees that are still standing, you’re advised not to go walking/running in treed areas like park while the wind is still gusting.
11:52 AM THURSDAY: The National Weather Service now has a High Wind Watch up for our area for tomorrow – 9 am to 8 pm Friday. NWS forecasters say we could see south wind 20 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph. Read the alert here.
7:57 AM FRIDAY: The alert is now downgraded a bit to a “wind advisory” as of this morning, 9 am-10 pm, predicting 25-35 mph wind with gusts to 55 mph. Read the updated alert here.
Instead of a colorful sunset, colorful umbrellas were in view during Alice Enevoldsen‘s 32nd quarterly change-of-seasons sunset watch at Solstice Park tonight. Light rain had begun, but it takes a downpour to cancel, so as Alice put it on Twitter afterward, “It was cold, and the sun was a no-show, but we had fun and discussed the summer eclipse.” (That’s coming up on August 21st.)
Maybe the sun will show up for summer solstice – exactly three months away! (9:24 pm our time Tuesday, June 20th.)