West Seattle, Washington
6:30 AM: Good morning! The temperature’s above freezing and no reports of iciness in our area. But it’ll be a chilly day – highs in the 40s.
SHORT SCHOOL WEEK: Since Veterans Day is on a Saturday this year, it will be observed this Friday (November 10th) by many, including Seattle Public Schools.
7:35 AM: Still no incidents reported in/from West Seattle.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:24 PM: That’s a screengrab from SDOT’s Winter Weather Response map (click the image to go to the “live” map), showing where city crews have pre-treated roads in this area in the past few hours. The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement alert warning about potentially icy roads:
Rain and snow showers will end across the lowlands of Western Washington this evening. Skies will begin clearing later tonight, allowing low temperatures to dip to near or below freezing in many areas. The coldest temperatures in the mid and upper 20s are expected in outlying areas away from the water. Some roads that are still wet or slushy will freeze late tonight and Monday morning. Icy roads should be anticipated for the Monday morning commute. Lows in the metro areas may also reach near freezing and some side roads or hills could also have icy spots.
After this, the forecast warms up gradually throughout the week, toward a high around 50 on Friday.
MONDAY MORNING: The alert was lifted overnight – temperatures have remained above freezing.
6:37 AM: Good news if you were worried about getting around today, bad news if you were hoping for a chance to throw a few snowballs: No snow so far, just rain. The National Weather Service canceled its alert a few hours ago and explained in the “forecast discussion”:
What needed to happen to get snow in the lowlands early this morning was a combination of the winds becoming northerly cooling the air mass down before the moisture from the frontal system moved out of the area. What happened was the surface low associated with the system instead of ending up near the mouth of the Columbia river is now just west of Grays Harbor. This difference in the low position has kept the winds from Everett southward easterly overnight instead of the winds becoming northerly. In these marginal low snow level scenarios for the Puget Sound region the low level easterlies are a killer. The little bit of downslope warming from the easterlies keeps the temperatures warm enough to keep the precipitation type as rain and that is what happened overnight.
The forecast still suggests the possibility of snow showers.
7:24 AM: One of those showers has arrived.
5:39 PM: We’ll have an update later, but in the short run – the NWS now warns things could be icy Monday morning.
The National Weather Service just updated its Winter Weather Advisory alert for the area, and it’ll be in effect midnight tonight through 10 am Sunday (which is really an 11-hour period because of the time change). The basics:
* WHAT…Rain and snow will increase this evening. Snow levels will fall to near 500 feet after midnight and 200 feet or lower Sunday morning. Accumulation up to 2 inches above 200 feet.
* WHERE…Above 200 feet away from the water, mainly on colder or grassy surfaces.
That covers much of West Seattle (our area includes the highest point in the city, 35th/Myrtle, 518′ – see it on an elevation map that you also can use to check the elevation where you are). If and when you see snow, please let us know – 206-293-6302, text or voice, 24/7 – thank you!
(SCROLL DOWN for Friday pm updates – traffic trouble, even though the weather’s improved!)
12:46 PM: As we’ve been tracking with your help since early morning, we’ve been seeing the season’s first snow – not really sticking, but seriously showery at times. The National Weather Service has just issued a “special weather statement” saying tomorrow night could bring a few inches of wet snow in the hillier areas around the city. More to come!
— CJ Barker (@cjbarkbark) November 3, 2017
(Video tweeted by @cjbarkbark)
1:57 PM: The snow has stopped, at least where we are. But some of it definitely stuck to yards, planting strips, and cars during the noon-hour shower, as we saw when headed back south from The Junction, through Morgan, Gatewood, and Upper Fauntleroy. We’ll be adding afternoon notes here for a while. Such as:
HELPLINE GALA STILL ON: The folks at West Seattle Helpline called and wanted to be sure that everyone knows their Neighbors Helping Neighbors dinner/auction tonight at The Hall at Fauntleroy IS ON – regardless of snow, rain, whatever the weather.
2:20 PM: A few flakes are back. SDOT has in the meantime sent an afternoon update, saying it’s assessed pavement throughout the city, and:
All pavement is currently bare and wet. And while the city is experiencing light to heavy flurries, road temperatures remain above freezing between 35 and 37 degrees. SDOT has deployed large plows and spreader at high elevation areas throughout the city and will continue to evaluate and monitor.
If you see SDOT snow equipment, let us know/send a pic (206-293-6302 – thanks for the other pics and clips too).
3:16 PM: Thanks to Brian for sending that photo – taken at Fauntleroy/Edmunds around noon. Meanwhile, if you are worried about the drive/ride home – no reason to be. We have just traveled south through Westwood, Arbor Heights, and White Center – the snowiest area we saw was SW White Center but even there, nothing on the roads. We do have word of a crash just reported – 35th and Thistle, blocking northbound lanes.
3:58 PM: Heading back north on 35th, the northbound lane is still blocked by a sideways pickup truck. SFD closed out of the call fairly quickly, though, so no serious injuries. No snow or even rain right now, with the cloud layer higher and thinner, so looks like it’ll be an OK drive/ride home.
4:51 PM: Several people have reported being stuck on the westbound bridge. No alerts yet nor crash reports but one camera shows a few vehicles on the shoulder. We’re monitoring.
5:01 PM: This tweet reveals what the problem was:
Dumpster in the road near 35th. pic.twitter.com/iiVJJnuMbq
— BW (@bwwigen) November 3, 2017
5:07 PM: Here’s what the backup looks like – Catherine texted this view (thanks!):
5:28 PM: SDOT just sent another update, saying all’s well so far, but it has people and equipment on standby just in case:
•Plows and trucks on standby
•Crews on standby for rush hour throughout the evening
•Night crews staffed (in the event temperatures drop to freezing)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:22 PM THURSDAY: The afternoon forecast is out and the National Weather Service put the “s-word” back in for late tonight and tomorrow morning – at least, on the highest hills. Possible rain/snow showers after midnight tonight, with the snow level around 500 feet (that’s the highest point in the city, just southwest of High Point, 35th/Myrtle), dropping to around 400 feet tomorrow morning. And SDOT reminds you it has winter-weather maps – both interactive (showing where salting, sanding, plowing has happened) and printable – linked here.
ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: Some snow did fall on the higher hills, as noted in our morning traffic/weather coverage.
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.