West Seattle, Washington
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.)
Seattle February & March precipitation now 13.73″, 4th wettest in over 120 years. Since February 1, precip on 36 days and 40 out of 45 70%+ cloud cover.
As of right now, though, the forecasts for Sunday and Monday both contain the phrase “mostly sunny.”
(WSB photo from March 2015 – Alice @ spring-equinox sunset watch)
After an exceptionally soggy winter, spring officially starts at 3:29 am our time Monday. That means West Seattle’s own NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen will lead her quarterly change-of-seasons sunset watch at Solstice Park on Monday night. From Alice’s announcement:
It’s time for the 32nd seasonal sunset watch!
When: Monday, March 20 at 7:10 pm (so come at 6:45 pm)
Actual sunset is supposed to be at 7:23 pm, but we have noticed that the Sun sets about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says, because of the horizon altitude.
Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts
Who: Everyone welcome, as usual. (Please do leash your dogs as we usually have a good number of people, kids, and other dogs around.)
I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or a thunderstorm, I’m staying home with some tea!
So far, the weather looks non-rainy!
P.S. As always, this event will be free, fun, low-key – drop in, drop out.
The park’s official address is 7400 Fauntleroy Way SW.
The good news: The newest National Weather Service forecast discussion says, “Drier weather is possible Sunday and Monday.” The bad news: Rain off and on until then. And as a result, a Special Weather Statement is out, warning of increased slide risk, because: “Continued wet weather over many weeks has kept the soils of western Washington near saturation.” So if you’re in a slide-prone zone (here’s the official city map) – be extra-watchful. Here are slide-related do’s and don’ts.
11:02 PM: The wind’s kicking up and that’s a reminder of the Wind Advisory alert that the National Weather Service has in effect for our area from 1 am-10 am Friday. Could gust up to 50 mph, out of the southwest. We hope this passes without problems; if your power goes out or you see other problems like trees across streets/sidewalks, after you’ve alerted the authorities – 206-684-3000 for outages or 206-386-1218 for trees/debris blocking streets/sidewalks – let us know too, 206-293-6302 text/voice any time.
6:08 AM: We checked multiple times during the night; the wind was roaring in the 3-4 am vicinity but there are no reports of damage, and no local power outages. The advisory remains in effect, slightly revised overnight to predict gusts up to 40 mph, and: “Winds will ease late morning.”
7:02 AM: No current incidents in/from West Seattle.
Weather-wise, it’s a little murky this morning, and the weather alert for tomorrow was upgraded overnight to a Wind Advisory, 1 am-10 am Friday.
Advance alerts: The SDOT roundup includes the St. Patrick’s Day Parade downtown on Saturday afternoon (local schools’ bands are part of it!) and the St. Patrick’s Day Dash downtown on Sunday.
8:59 AM: And one more advance reminder … we “spring forward” early Sunday, one hour, to start Daylight Saving Time.
9 AM: Traffic note too – police are being dispatched to NB 99 at Lander for a reportedly stalled vehicle.
Thanks to @westseawx for the alert: The National Weather Service is out with a Special Weather Statement warning that it could be extra-windy on Friday morning – sustained wind 20 to 30 mph, gusts to 50 mph. Most likely timeframe – 3 to 9 am.
Winter still has two-plus weeks to go, and a National Weather Service alert warns us all that snow could hit again “at almost any time” Saturday through Monday:
… A return to cold and showery weather is expected from Friday night through Monday morning. The air mass should be sufficiently cold to support snow showers over the lowlands, especially during the cooler morning hours from Saturday through Monday.
It is too early to pinpoint specific snowfall amounts and locations. So the main message right now is simply to expect hit-and-miss snowfall accumulations of 1 inch or so at almost any time from Saturday through Monday. The cooler morning hours represent the more likely time of day to get accumulating snow. Air temperatures will generally be above freezing, so any snow accumulations are likely to melt a few hours after occurring.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:34 AM: Good morning. While it’s just a few degrees above freezing, our area didn’t get any significant snow overnight that we have seen/heard, and everything’s open/running on time so far. The National Weather Service has a Special Weather Statement out warning of potential slickness, though.
As shown in that photo texted to us from the Sealth/Denny campus after school let out, the snow this afternoon had its fun side, too. Tonight we are showing a few more photos from this afternoon, along with a weather update: The National Weather Service has extended its Winter Weather Advisory alert until 4 am, saying there’s a chance of more snow showers like the ones we saw this morning and afternoon.
Thanks to Ann Anderson for that photo from Admiral. Here’s how it looked on approach from Burien’s Seahurst Park, photographed by Amanda Kay:
We will of course be watching overnight for the possible snow encore, and in the early morning for any possible school (etc.) changes. We also appreciate your updates – texting or calling 206-293-6302 is always the fastest way to get us.
(SCROLL DOWN for latest – as of 6:15 pm, most of the closed freeway stretches have reopened)
(WSDOT traffic cam closest to the truck wreck – refresh page for newest view)
2:38 PM: I-5 is still shut down both ways north of the West Seattle Bridge, four hours after a tanker truck went sideways on the southbound side near I-90 (see our earlier coverage here). This is affecting vehicle traffic just about everywhere. But the process of offloading the wrecked tanker’s cargo to another truck is getting going, so we’re launching this afternoon report and will keep you updated here.
2:50 PM: As tweeted by SDOT, here’s the current closure list:
Loud snow. Covering the street fast. pic.twitter.com/thTOozDRIS
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) February 27, 2017
3:43 PM: Complicating things, the snow’s back, after thunder/lightning. There’s an alert for wintry showers until mid-evening. And it’s covering the street FAST.
Definitely heavier than the snow showers we covered just at morning light, 9+ hours ago.
4:18 PM: The snow’s finally easing, here and elsewhere in the city. Meantime, the tanker-truck offloading continues. We’re adding traffic cameras here by request shortly, to help (if that’s even possible) with the pm attempts to get home. But first:
That’s a 4:15 pm look at the Water Taxi line at Pier 50 – thanks to Christian Buhagiar for the photo. Here’s the WT schedule.
4:39 PM: State Patrol says what’s now described as propane (earlier, they said butane) is still being offloaded. And that’s just the prelude to pulling up the truck, and likely some cleanup and other followups after that, so don’t expect I-5 to reopen any time soon.
5:06 PM: To check the cameras on potential alternate routes, see our traffic-info page. Meantime, commenters say the 4:45 pm Water Taxi to West Seattle left at capacity and there’s a big line for 5:15 pm. We’re getting bus-delay reports too. No easy way to get back home today.
5:33 PM: Water taxi’s 5:15 pm run is reported to have been at capacity too:
— Steve Voght (@voght) February 28, 2017
5:43 PM: And as for the wreck itself:
Two Class – C tow trucks working alongside Seattle FD to slowly lift the tanker onto it's wheels. We are getting closer to opening I-5 pic.twitter.com/ep9cJERafA
— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) February 28, 2017
6:12 PM: The reopenings have begun …
Rejoice! EB I-90 at the stadiums is back open! Take it slow & use caution. A lot of collisions happen after closures pic.twitter.com/2rlaISsQs4
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) February 28, 2017
And a moment later, WSP tweeted that southbound AND northbound I-5 are reopening – only the collector-distributor lanes (where the crash happened) will remain closed for now.
8:30 PM: Everything is open again, including the collector-distributor lanes.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:13 PM: The National Weather Service‘s mid-evening “forecast discussion” is out and they’re sticking with a Winter Weather Advisory alert for 10 pm tonight through 10 am Sunday. Especially on the higher hills, snow showers could bring an inch-plus – or not, since the NWS also says, “it`s a tricky forecast with borderline conditions.” If we do see some, it will be short-lived, per the NWS: “We`ll also see temps rising into the lower to mid 40s. So any snow that does fall should not stick around for too long.”
10:06 AM SUNDAY: The alert has expired and, in today’s midmorning Forecast Discussion, the NWS says, “The snow level turned out to be More like 600-800 feet around central Puget Sound, so most of the metro area did not get snow. An inch or two fell above that level, and also lower down in northern areas and near Hood Canal.” (The highest elevation in Seattle – which happens to be near 35th/Myrtle in West Seattle – is just past 500 feet.)
(Reader photo texted from High Point area)
10:21 AM: The snow shower’s apparently moving north to south – we heard from Alki and Admiral a little while earlier, and now it’s finally arrived down here in Upper Fauntleroy. If you’re on Twitter, you saw @westseawx predict this very early today. It’s not expected to hang around – and the air temp is well above freezing, 39 degrees – but Kim in High Point says it’s sticking on her lawn, so we’ll see how it goes.
10:37 AM: Sticking (at ~300 feet).
10:53 AM: And melting, with some blue sky moving in from the west. Forecast says this might happen tomorrow morning too.
THURSDAY NIGHT NOTE: Here’s a Special Weather Statement officially warning more snow showers are possible.
(TOPLINE: Highland Park Way hill will be closed “through Thursday” per SDOT)
1:14 PM: SDOT now says the Highland Park Way hill is likely to remain closed at least “into tomorrow.” That’s the newest development in connection with the early-morning slide that shut down the busy road between West Marginal Way SW and SW Holden.
Here’s our morning report (thanks again to everyone who texted us when it all began around 5 am); we just went back to the top of the hill for another look, and as you can see in our photo above, there’s lots of activity. Here’s the newest information from SDOT spokesperson Sue Romero:
SDOT continues to work with Seattle City Light at the site of the slide that occurred on Highland Park Way SW. A slide came down this morning above Highland Park Way SW, then a second slide came down, pushing material about 500 feet further, over Highland Park Way SW.
SDOT has cleared some of the material from the lower slide so SCL trucks can gain access. SCL is working to clear some trees that are pushing on some power poles. Geotech engineers are assessing the situation.
We expect Highland Park Way to remain closed through today and into tomorrow as more rain is expected to fall tonight into tomorrow.
Meantime, the power outage caused by the slides, which peaked at more than 2,000 homes/businesses, is over for all but two customers, according to City Light’s outage map, which also has been fixed.
We’ll be updating this story throughout the afternoon, including any related traffic advisories for the pm commute – again, expect Highland Park Way to remain closed TFN, and plan your alternate route and travel time accordingly.
3:13 PM: Bus reminder: “Metro Route 131 continues to be rerouted off of a portion of Highland Park Way SW between SW Holden St and West Marginal Way SW, until further notice.Use the stops on Highland Park Way SW south of SW Holden St or east of West Marginal Way SW.”
Whichever route you plan to use to get home, be aware that the heavy rain has continued this afternoon, lots of water on the roads, so be patient. The WSB Traffic page has cameras for various routes, and you also can check the video feeds accessible from the lower right of the city Travelers’ Information map – browse the feeds on the West Seattle and Greater Duwamish pulldown options.
3:47 PM: We asked City Light’s Scott Thomsen for the assessment of how the slide had affected their installations along HP Way: “The slide toppled some trees. At least one went into the lines, causing the outage. We didn’t lose any poles, but some are leaning over. We plan to monitor the hillside to make sure it has stabilized before we reset the poles. We might have to install some small retaining walls to protect the poles.”
7:04 PM: SDOT just tweeted that Highland Park Way is expected to remain “closed through Thursday.” So DEFINITELY plan morning options, and we’ll track the status during the day.
Highland Park Way SW will remain closed through Thursday btw SW Holden St & W Marginal Way SW due to a landslide. Plz use alternate routes. pic.twitter.com/fhZp2ZWC6u
— seattledot (@seattledot) February 16, 2017
And the National Weather Service says this is the seventh-wettest February on record.
9:40 PM: Still closed. We checked the top of the hill again after leaving a nearby meeting about half an hour ago; no lights visible down the hill, so crews apparently had quit work for the night. We will start morning traffic coverage extra early tomorrow (5 am Thursday) because the road will still be closed.
THURSDAY MORNING: Our AM updates are here through at least 9 am.
Two beautiful scenes to share tonight:
Above, Mike Jensen photographed tonight’s clear-sky, kayaker-enhanced sunset at Lowman Beach. Below, Kersti Muul photographed today’s post-sunrise moonset, and the frosted Olympic Mountains:
firstname.lastname@example.org when you have something to share – or text 206-293-6302 if it’s breaking news – thank you!
After a week that began with snow and continued into wind, rain, and mud, it’s not surprising that the Sunday sunshine seemed to bring everyone outside. Cindi shares the view from Lincoln Park, observing it looked almost like summer. We were there for a while too and can attest to that. If you haven’t been out yet, you have about an hour until sunset (you can always find the sunset/sunrise and moonrise/moonset times on the WSB West Seattle Weather page).
Via Twitter, Patrick reports a tree/branch down across the west side of Fairmount Avenue, in the ravine between Admiral and Alki. It’s been reported (in off-hours or weekends, road-blocking debris can be called to 911, if necessary). This is a reminder that though the weather has calmed, the National Weather Service still has a Special Weather Statement in effect in our area, warning of this type of risk (slides in particular) after all that rain and snow saturated the ground, with wind as a chaser.
While the weather brought some problems today, it also brought beauty. Three views of this afternoons rainbows – first, from Kathleen Dedon, over Westwood Village:
Kersti Muul on Alki:
Jim Borrow, from further east along Alki:
Thanks to everyone for sharing photos! email@example.com or text to 206-293-6302.
*The Special Weather Statement about slide risk, mentioned in our earlier coverage too.
*Another Coastal Flood Advisory for the early-morning high tide tomorrow – the water could be at least a foot higher than predicted because of weather factors.
*Wind Advisory for 8 am-3 pm tomorrow, with sustained wind from the southwest 20-35 mph and gusts to 50 mph.
But the mud is today’s trouble. If you’re using the main Vashon Island ferry dock, for example, here’s a problem:
The King County Transportation Department sent word of “a significant landslide that occurred this afternoon on 103rd Avenue Southwest near the Vashon Ferry Terminal parking lot. Crews are working to channel ferry traffic onto Vashon Highway Southwest instead of 103rd. Crews estimate it will take about eight hours to clear debris from the road. Travelers in the area should expect delays.”
Meantime, Ted Ellis sent this photo of mud along Seola Beach Drive:
Ted says, “This is one of three different slides … and part of the road looks like a pretty big wall of mud might come down.” We’re off to check on a few other things … more to come.
4:54 PM: We went back to West Marginal Way SW, a short way north of Highland Park Way, and discovered SDOT crews are still there:
One to two SB lanes are blocked there as crews work on water and debris trouble, so southbound traffic is being diverted into the center lane for a short distance. We have also gone by a trouble spot on which reported this morning – Delridge at Myrtle; the northbound lane is still fairly well puddled.
5:50 PM: We also went to Seola Beach Drive for a look at the slide mentioned above. There are indeed multiple spots with signs along the southbound side of the road, in the section that’s greenbelt on both sides – here’s the most-sizable slide spot on the slope:
It’s not blocking a travel lane, so far.
10:55 PM: King County’s Brent Champaco sent this update on the Vashon slide:
103rd Avenue SW on Vashon Island near the north ferry terminal will remain closed until 5 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday, Feb. 10) … From 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. the roadway will be open to northbound traffic only in order to accommodate ferry rush hour traffic. At 9 a.m. the roadway will close so clean up crews can continue their work. Clean up is taking longer than expected due to the amount of debris including a large tree.
10:34 AM: The clouds are lifting and the rain is much lighter, but water woes persist around West Seattle. We’re checking on trouble spots reported by readers (thanks!):
That’s Delridge Way SW at Myrtle, where the water’s deepest on the northbound side. Just off Delridge, and to the south, Longfellow Creek’s running high, Josh tweeted:
— Josh (@skwash) February 9, 2017
We’re out checking on a couple other reports right now.
10:46 AM: West Marginal Way had been reported to be in bad shape in the usual swampy spots north of Highland Park Way, but city crews are there now and the trouble is mostly just the outside lanes:
Another heavy shower moved through between our updates, too.
11:11 AM: Thanks for the tip about a small slide that’s taken down a few trees behind the Harbor Park condos in the 1700 block of Harbor SW – here’s what you can see through the east fence:
1:57 PM: And as we head into mid-afternoon, a big sunbreak:
Looks ominous to the south/southwest, though.
2:34 PM: As another band of showers heads this way, five weather alerts have now been announced for our area. Separate story to come soon, but in the meantime, you can see them all linked here.
If you live near the water – or have another reason to be on the shore in the early morning hours – the National Weather Service has an alert for you: A Coastal Flood Advisory (read it here) for 1-9 am Thursday:
The combination of high astronomical tides and relatively low pressure could produce minor flooding along the shorelines around the time of high tide early Thursday morning … Low pressure should result in tidal anomalies of 1 to 1.5 feet above the predicted tides.
The predicted high tide tomorrow morning is 12 feet at 4:34 am. That’s about a foot below the highest tide of the year.