day : 14/12/2008 8 results

West Seattle snow (and ice): Sunday night updates

(refresh/scroll down for the newest information; Monday school changes we have so far – Holy Rosary 10 am start, Holy Family 10 am, Our Lady of Guadalupe 10:30 am, Hope Lutheran 10:30 am, Seattle Lutheran 11 am, Shorewood Christian CLOSED)

(California/Thistle after dark tonight – look close to notice the glistening ice)
Our Sunday morning coverage is here; our Sunday afternoon coverage is here; now it’s time to start a new post for Sunday night – especially as we look ahead to tomorrow, and what conditions will be like as people look ahead to the workweek, and school (the last week before winter break, for most). Keep posting your reports, and sending photos to – the information you provide is helping thousands of your West Seattle neighbors stay up to date with what’s happening, particularly important since most accounts suggest our area was hit harder than other parts of the city. Thanks again for your collaboration. First up, another update from the Goulds, reporting on multiple areas in south West Seattle:

Barton Street fairly good. Buses moving up the hill fine. Some folks are still a bit nervous going down, including the buses, so quite a bit of slow going down hill, at times. Did see a another sander and a de-icer truck going up.

It is our sense that the sand is in short supply and they are using it very judiously. It has been very hit and miss where we saw the sand. They may have also been trying to hit the worse spots as quick as they could, covering as much ground as possible, until they had time to do more thorough coverage.

Barton east of 35th – now much better, I followed the sander and de-icer to Target. 35th from Roxbury to Avalon is generally good. Some spots both lanes are not completely clear so folks are trying to avoid the icier lane. Most people do seem to be driving quite sensibily, but you can easily tell who the
folks are that are not having a fun time.

Roxbury – east and down the Olsen Place hill and across the Cloverdale Bridge: Roxbury overall is in better shape than 35th. Olsen Place hill is fine – clear and no apparent problems.

Also for folks interested in Thistle, I saw the sander and de-icer coming east on Thistle, crossing 35th and continuing on. So my guess is, is that Thistle is also in pretty good shape now.

The newest forecast now says “quite cold through next weekend” and flatly declares “SNOW” for next Wednesday; see it here. Another road report now from Kevin in Arbor Heights: “100th west of 35th appears to be sanded but still very slick. I’m a couple of houses south on 42nd SW and our street is just solid ice as most likely the case with all the other side streets.” He says vehicles DO appear to be proceeding slowly and cautiously. However, Meg reports a nearby trouble spot:

There are three cars stranded at the curve on Marine View Dr SW, just south of 45th and Endolyne Joe’s. It’s very slippery on the curve headed South, and on the straight-away part of the hill where you come out of all the foliage. No sand or de-icer truck all day, which is typical, the hill is treacherous.

Updates as we get ’em (photos welcome too – anybody going to the Christmas Ship? – 6:05 PM: Folks are discussing power flickers in the comments – no power outages listed on the city site so far; here’s where they will be, if something big happens (hope not!). 7:39 PM UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments, some people in that area of Morgan Junction lost power entirely. That’s not listed on the city site; we’ll check by phone to see if there’s information on what’s going on. We’d heard from Vlad Oustimovitch, who lives in the area, that his wife Kathryn had called City Light to ask about the microoutages and was told about “20 blocks” were affected by the blickering and that crews were en route. However, now, in addition to the comment here, we also just received a note from someone whose friends near Thriftway are without power. 7:48 PM UPDATE: City Light says the outage is affecting 200 “customers” (which means homes/businesses) between SW Graham north, SW Webster south, 39th SW east, 47th SW west, and says crews are “currently patroling to find the cause of the outage.”

8:10 PM UPDATE: No outage updates yet. Meantime, we’re watching both the Seattle Public Schools site and for any school info for tomorrow morning that might affect folks in this area – as we mentioned earlier, though, the district often does not make the decision until early in the morning. It’s also a tough call when the weather conditions don’t affect the city (and therefore the district) uniformly – you may remember a time a few years back when the north end had snowy, icy conditions, while West Seattle was in relatively great shape, but schools were closed anyway because more routes were dangerous around the city than not. One other note – the WSB Forums have a few weather-related topics going, including “what’s better for your driveway/walkway: kitty litter or salt?” Join the conversation here. Good news for bus riders (and drivers who share the road with buses): King County promises buses will be chained tomorrow! (That same link contains other general commute-related info from the county, mostly re: unincorporated areas.)

8:23 PM UPDATE: Just a note while things are relatively quiet – besides watching schools and roads, we are also watching for other information relevant to tomorrow – government agency operation changes, major employers, what have you, so please share that kind of information too if you think it’s of value to more than a few people (comments and/or Besides keeping watch till late tonight, we will of course be updating for the morning commute too, monitoring various sources for West Seattle-specific/relevant road info. Both the city and the county promise to be on their game.

8:50 PM UPDATE: We have paged Seattle City Light media reps in hopes of getting an update on the Morgan/Gatewood outage. If we don’t get any new information soon, we’ll head down the hill (the area is a mile directly north of us) and look for crews. Meanwhile, a photo just in from David Hutchinson, one of many people who contributed great photos earlier today too:

David says, “Just got back from seeing the Christmas Ship near the Don Armeni boat ramp. A small group braved the cold temperatures and wind. The bonfire was appreciated.” Also: Michelle, in comments, reports one West Seattle school change has been announced: Start time for Holy Rosary is 10 am tomorrow. By the way, if you’re looking for the website or phone number for a West Seattle school, we have a fairly comprehensive list (probably missing a few preschools – those are hard to track) on the WSB Schools page.


Non-snow news: Neighborhood radio test – talk about timely!

Before we launch our Sunday night edition of snow coverage, wanted to mention this – since it turned out to be particularly timely: Saturday morning, hours before the snow hit, volunteers from neighborhoods all over West Seattle got together to test emergency radios that could be used for West Seattle-wide info-relaying in case of catastrophe – the photo above shows preliminary results (broken lines are iffy, solid, better) – here are photos taken before participants fanned out for the actual test:

That second photo is Ron Zuber, a radio expert who coordinated the test (and the one we mentioned on Night Out in August) — that test had mixed results, so this time, they tried more powerful radios. Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association reports, “Not a perfect result, but there were enough inter-neighborhood connections that we think we can stick with family service style radios, and that way Block Watch and SNAP groups can hear our communications. Alki and Fauntleroy will be our biggest challenges, we may have to get a repeater to boost the signal all the way from end to end.” They’ll meet again next month to further develop the plan.

West Seattle snow: Sunday afternoon updates

(this post covered the weather situation from noon till 5 pm – follow this link to find Sunday night updates – thanks!)

Starting a new post. Tons of info in the morning post, so if you haven’t read that already, start there, but please add new comments here (and e-mail us photos). Now, the latest: Jana called to say that Thistle is closed at 35th to the top of the hill (heading west). 35th/Roxbury has a stalled bus. The photo above is from The Goulds on Barton in Fauntleroy, who report:

Barton Street is an ice rink. Barton St, between the Ferry Dock and 35th is a graveyard of buses – 4 of the Route 54s and one Sound Transit 560. Buses were sent out this morning with no chains, some sort of bad call by Metro Transit authorities. Drivers indicate there are only two trucks for all of King County that can rescue the buses and get chains put on them. Some folks can get up and down Barton, others cannot and give it up. Success seems to be tire and driver skill related. We have seen all 4 wheels on some 4-wheel drives spinning.

Here’s another one of their photos:

They promised to try to walk to Westwood Village to see how things are there. 12:22 PM UPDATE: Heather has provided some photos from Alki – first, Alki Ave doesn’t look much better than the roads in higher areas of West Seattle:

Another angle:

Seattle Public Utilities has just sent a news release headed “Coldest Weather in 18 Years Forecast, Take Steps Now to Protect Pipes From Freezing.” We’ll upload the news release as a PDF here in a minute if we can’t find a link on the city website. (Here it is.) Editorializing now, that is the FIRST official communication we have received from local governments all morning. Maybe there’s a media list we’ve missed being on. But media lists aside, the websites are not updated (just look at Can’t someone at least be updating them from home? Good business for us, but we would much rather have Web/RSS/Twitter/etc. access to official info to filter for you and link to – WSDOT is something of a trendsetter in that regard. In our old-media days, many of us were under orders to get to work even if we had to walk, to get TV and Web coverage going. 12:49 PM UPDATE: Looks like sanding/plowing may have made some progress – check the latest “live” picture from the Fauntleroy/Alaska traffic camera (looking to the northeast):

Remember, the WSB Traffic page has screengrabs of all the West Seattle-area traffic cams (and related ones on I-5, 99, etc.) – find it here. As for other areas – not so lucky. This just in from Julie:

We live on Admiral Way and 53rd. Admiral is a mess. There have been no snow plows this side of California Way on Admiral and it’s a sheet of ice. Drivers are attempting it and either getting stuck or rethinking and turning back down the hill. We had planned to go to the grocery store and tried to go out in it but about 6 cars were stopped or stuck in various parts of the road. According to the city snow plow map, they only service Admiral up to California Ave, and not West.

ANOTHER EVENT CANCELLATION: The Esoterics concert at Holy Rosary is cancelled. It was scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm. We’ll also add that to the “events canceled/happening” post we’ve been keeping. AN EVENT STILL HAPPENING: If you are able to get to The Junction SAFELY (walking, perhaps?) – Santa is on hand at Cupcake Royale as planned – for photos, with donations to benefit local nonprofits – till 4 pm. (More info on the West Seattle Junction [WSB sponsor] website.)1:03 PM UPDATE: An explanation from County Executive Ron Sims himself on what’s up with the lack of bus info online – We sent a message via Twitter (which he uses quite avidly) to ask why no updated bus info on the Web; he said “Our network went down” and, they’re fixing it. 1:08 PM UPDATE: Another snow hazard, just described on the scanner – location unknown, may not be West Seattle but certainly could happen here – blowing snow suddenly falling from branches, roofs, awnings, etc. So walkers beware as well. (We see this happening in our back yard right now, in fact.) Also – JayDee is back from a trip to PCC and sent photos (we’ll post in a moment), as well as saying, “Overall, I don’t understand why people are driving. The 51 I took home was fishtailing and if he’d had to stop on the hill the driver said ‘If I stop on the hill, I am spending the night on the bus’.” First photo’s from 55th/Spokane:

This one, 56th SW near Schmitz Park:

Another photo to add – this one’s from David Hutchinson, who took it at Don Armeni, where the Christmas Ship is due at 7:10 pm tonight:

1:21 PM UPDATE: Looks like Metro’s website is indeed now offering updated information – here’s the bus-problems page. If your route is on a “reroute,” here’s the link again with the map of all such snow/ice routes. (That’s from our early morning post with a long list of helpful links – see it here if you missed it.) A new comment says Hanford is closed east of California (map). 1:45 PM UPDATE: Just went out to watch the California/Thistle plateau intersection. Lots of turning around from people reaching it and looking eastward up the Thistle hill. A smidge of video shortly. (Scanner has somebody totally stuck further east on Thistle, at 36th, calling for a tow truck. Update – that may be a bus – Jana called to say one is stuck around Thistle/41st, which is where the 22 usually turns to head north.) Meantime, scanner reports complaint of people riding motorcycles (ATV’s?) on the sidewalk on northbound California at Fauntleroy. Great. Also, another Morgan Hill update from Pamela McCarty: “It is not sanded or plowed. I have lived by here for 10 years and have never seen it closed. 35th is sanded and plowed and saw a 21 bus pick up going north (with no chains) at 1:09.” Photo, taken two blocks west of 35th:

We’ve had a suggestion we post some fun photos too. How about video? This was uploaded to YouTube by Jeff Johnson, who sent us the link:

And from Darren Pilon in Arbor Heights, a dog who looks quite at home in the snow, his American Eskimo named Abby:

2:07 PM UPDATE: The good news for those of us here in Upper Fauntleroy is, there seems to be a snowplow pointed west on Thistle. The bad news is – there’s a Sound Transit bus sideways blocking its progress (thanks to Jana for the phone tip on this):

2:21 PM UPDATE: And another break for a “cute kid in snow” photo – this one’s from Admiral

As for the roads – update from Mona, who’s in Arbor Heights, stuck behind 2 stalled buses at 35th/106th (map) – she also sent this photo:

If you’re just joining us, remember to read the comments too – lots of great info there and while we will repost major items (road closure reports, etc.) here in the main post, that doesn’t cover anything. Meantime, here’s even more about the Arbor Heights situation (and vicinity), from MargL:

Just walked up to the intersection of 106th and 35th in Arbor Heights. Talked to a Metro 21 bus driver (pic attached) who said he’d been stuck at the intersection since about 8AM. He estimated that last 21 that got thru was probably around 10AM. He’s waiting for his supervisor to bring some chains and enjoying the circus show of folks trying to get around the corner from 35th AVE to SW 106th. We were both pretty surprised bus maintenance decided not to chain the buses this morning given the advance weather reports and the condition of the roads. 106th heading east toward White Center is a sheet of ICE. Saw many many cars fishtailing and skidding down the hills and one delivery truck stuck sideways on the curb. Saw no evidence of plowing or sanding anywhere. On the walk home also spotted a Seattle Public Utilities employee on a service call to a house – but it wasn’t a power outage, just some low hanging wires.


2:31 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Hopey for sending the Metro real-time bus tracker link, which she says appears to be up to date (find it here). Meanwhile, Cathy Woo sent some pix from Alki including a snow-o-saur and snow family:

2:49 PM UPDATE: Speaking of families, the question has come up: What about school tomorrow? From old-media experience, we can say that the call sometimes isn’t made till very early morning – Seattle Public Schools, for example, sends a bus around to test the routes. However, given that you can kind of tell NOW what tomorrow morning’s going to be like, perhaps a decision will be reached sooner. One good place to watch (we’ll watch too) is the “emergency messages” page on, which has member school districts (and some private schools) all over the region that report in. If you are a West Seattle or White Center private school and you DON’T report to, we invite you to call or e-mail us (all WSB contact info is here) when you make your decision and we’ll be happy to post it tonight/tomorrow (and of course beyond). On another note – 911 dispatch is sending two engines to 34th/106th, close to scene of the bus photos above, for a “motor-vehicle accident” call. ADDED 3:03 PM: Well, there’s more trouble, a “heavy rescue” dispatch to northbound I-5 – car into guard rail 200 yards before the West Seattle Bridge exit. Will monitor. Meantime, Vanessa is back home on Alki after a trip to LA and sent some photos from her return, including a view from the airplane window, followed by The Bridge (with heavy sanding evidence):

If anyone travels the Roxbury-to-Olson-to-509 airport route later today (or has already been), we’ve got at least one person in WSB-land who really needs to know the latest for that area, for a trip later tonight. Switching gears, another sledding video from Jeff Johnson:

3:15 PM UPDATE: The iced arterials near WSB HQ have finally gotten some sanding/plowing love – suddenly there arose such a clatter, we looked out the front window to see what was the matter, then what to our eyes did appear but:

A moment ago, it took off northbound on California, same way it’s pointed in that photo. (For the other side of the weather spectrum, this link just appeared in our Twitter feed: LA’s expecting an inch of rain tonight/tomorrow. 4:06 PM UPDATE: Back from a neighborhood walk to see how things are out there. Neighborhood kids/parents are sledding; e-mail reminds us that sledding in the street can be very dangerous if the street’s not closed (we just saw one close call ourselves). Also got word that the “Morgan hill” between 35th and Fauntleroy Way is open again — technically — Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association says, “the signs are now down but the conditions are only improved a little and will become icy again as the temperature falls,” so avoid that area anyway. Also from the inbox, a short news release from SDOT:

SDOT crews worked throughout last night and through today, Sunday, on major arterial city streets. Many sea-level streets remained bare and wet, but streets at higher elevations, on hills, and in shaded areas were icy. Crews used 18 vehicles to apply de-icer and sand as needed.

Crews are working on 12-hour shifts. The forecast for tonight calls for continued low temperatures. Night crews will replace day crews and will continue with 18 vehicles to patrol streets and treat as needed. As the night progresses, crews will focus on preparing streets for the Monday morning commute.

Got a Twitter message from Melanie that a plow was recently spotted heading westbound on Admiral. And another “Morgan hill” update from Cindi – it JUST got sanded. 4:22 PM: Going back through the inbox to make sure we didn’t miss anything big. We did miss an Admiral update from Bree hours ago, but this advice in her note still stands:

Also, can you please remind drivers to pay extra special attention when driving on ice. This morning I almost got rear-ended twice, first a guy on his cell phone was trying to go the speed limit and was following me way too close. The second time it was a couple of kids on Admiral who were going too fast and then slammed on his brakes, scary!

Nancy Folsom also sent an update on the Delridge group in this morning’s Jingle Bell Run downtown:

Some of the Delridge team had to bow out to colds and minor (we hope) surgery. But a few of us made it downtown for the run. It was fun. I don’t know how many people usually attend but it sure seemed jam packed for each event. It was particularly silly fun when we entered the first tunnel and the crowd broke out into song. “Jingle Bells,” of course, at full strength. Who cares if it was just one chorus over and over?

The only hard part was waiting for the return buses which we guessed were held up to due to weather or road conditions in West Seattle. Yea Metro drivers for getting people around town safely in these icy conditions!

4:36 PM UPDATE: Heads up that after 5 pm or so, we will start a “Sunday night” post – like this one, the Sunday morning version, and the Saturday night version – but for now, a few more things. Josh Sutton from the West Seattle Family YMCA (WSB sponsor) sends word on their schedule:

WS YMCA will close early at 6 pm tonight (no evening Yoga or Volleyball). Fauntleroy YMCA closes at 5 pm (normal). WS Y will be open at normal time (5:30am), but likely that many classes & programs won’t be running in early am – depending on instructor’s ability to get there. Fauntleroy will be wait & see, but likely open by 6 am. Status of our school-based programs will be based upon School District decision (if closed, we’re closed, etc).

No word yet on school; as mentioned earlier, you can watch and, for Seattle Public Schools, their home page. Also — MAYBE some more snow in the hours to come – from the midafternoon “forecast discussion”:


Via Twitter, Pam from Nerd’s Eye View forwarded a link to this ominous-looking radar “blob” of wetness appearing to be heading this way. 4:52 PM UPDATE: Just pointed out in comments – Lander is closed below Admiral. Also, a question was posed in comments re: the condition of Barton between 35th and Fauntleroy Church (WSB sponsor), where there’s a choir concert in an hour — Pigeonmom just noted it’s “fine … just go slow.” Switching locations – before we move on to evening coverage, two views of the Alki Statue of Liberty in the snow; one from Amy, who had insomnia last night and decided to go see the snow at Alki; second one, from David Hutchinson earlier today:

West Seattle snow: Event cancellations

December 14, 2008 11:18 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle snow: Event cancellations
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle weather

We — and you! (thanks SO much for comments, photos, info) — are continuing to add to the “Sunday morning updates” post (and will switch to an “afternoon updates” post later) but we also want to have a separate list of what we know IS happening and what we know is NOT happening.

HAPPENING: West Seattle Farmers’ Market, usual hours – here’s one of the photos taken by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli just before it opened:

HAPPENING: Santa photos at Cupcake Royale (with donations benefiting local nonprofits), till 4 pm as scheduled

CANCELLED/POSTPONED: Glee Club concert at Peace Lutheran

CANCELLED/POSTPONED: WSB Forum members’ holiday party

CANCELLED: The Esoterics concert at Holy Rosary

CLOSED: Log House Museum is usually open till 4 pm on Sundays but we just got word it’s closed today

Please e-mail us with word of any other events scheduled for today that are canceled or postponed.

West Seattle snow: Sunday morning updates

(this post covers snow coverage 8:41 am-12:09 pm Sunday. Follow this link to afternoon coverage)

(photo looking east up Thistle from California near WSB HQ)

(sunrise from 39th and Andover, courtesy of John)

(photo courtesy Babs)
Just got a note from Ron that the #128 bus is stuck on the Morgan hill at 39th, going eastbound. He adds, “Cars are also going west, down the hill and sliding most of the way down. I hope SPD or SDOT closes the road soon.” JayDee “above Alki” is hearing tire-spinning that doesn’t “sound successful.” Here’s the “live” city traffic cam looking northeast from Fauntleroy/Alaska:

Lina just added this comment on our early-morning post: “35th/Roxbury looks sketchy and the few cars i see are going really slow by my house.” 9 AM UPDATE: Just checked the conditions outside our house and at the nearest major intersection. The snow is CRUNCHY — aka ice — different from the softer texture when we were out walking after midnight, and the cars coming down Thistle hill toward California to turn north are going very slowly. This, to boot, is a “plow route.” This is the view looking north on California:

More photos welcome, road conditions and otherwise – – official information on city roads is hard to come by so info-sharing like this is the best way to share word of what you’re seeing. A new forecast has just been posted – the “winter weather advisory” has been extended till 3 pm and there’s a prediction of possible “new snow accumulations” this afternoon. (Wondering how the Jingle Bell Run is going downtown? Here’s a pic that Mark from West Seattle just sent out via Twitter – and another one from when it started – quite the crowd!) Wildlife note: Previous post’s comments included a discussion about how to help hummingbirds (the flowers “ours” usually drink from are now frozen over) – here’s a WSB Forums post with a suggestion (and photo). 9:34 AM UPDATE: Shari reports, “I just wanted to let everyone know that 35th Ave SW at Camp Long is a sheet of ice. The road doesn’t look bad so I went and checked and it is ice — I was slipping all over in shoes. I see people helping heading to go down the hill but I haven’t seen anyone coming as though they came up the hill.” We can say the same thing for California/Thistle – just went out with video camera to see if anyone, snowplow included, would drive by, but not a soul – and if you walk out into the street, you can tap inch-high ice ridges with your shoe. Meanwhile, WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli reports from The Junction that THE FARMERS’ MARKET IS ON – 15 to 20 vendors are there now, setting up. He’ll be sending pix in a bit but also reports, “Some of the vendors from outside of Seattle said that things outside of west Seattle were better. They were surprised the roads in WS were so bad. They said the bridge was pretty nasty getting over here.” Earlier in The Junction, Larry got this photo – describing it as “street art”:


West Seattle snow: Morning info-links

Once it’s light, we’ll be checking on conditions, especially the roads, around West Seattle, since a lot is happening today — from the weekly West Seattle Farmers Market, to Hometown Holidays Sunday in The Junction (with Santa photos and more prize drawings), to the WSB Forum potluck holiday party and donation drive (everybody invited!) at Big Al Brewing. In the short term, some helpful links if you need them in the very early am:

City info on snow/ice routes/procedures (including link to plowed-routes map)
County info on snow/ice routes/procedures (including Metro reroutes)
Metro “adverse weather” service status
King County road alerts
Latest forecast
National Weather Service “storm reports” (record snowfall, etc.)
City Light power-outage list
WSDOT trouble spots via Twitter
Washington State Ferries “service bulletins”
Live 911 log for Seattle fire/medic calls

One more note – the Jingle Bell Run to raise money for arthritis is scheduled downtown this morning (here’s the course map; here’s the timetable).

Non-weather news: Fauntleroy “rechannelization” Q & A up

Just discovered, while looking for snow/ice info on the SDOT website, that the department has posted the promised “Q & A” following up on the December 1st “open house” regarding the proposal to reconfigure – “rechannelize” — Fauntleroy Way between Alaska and California. Among other things, the city maintains that the changes would not add more than a minute to travel time along that stretch, and explains why this is considered to be different from the proposal that Morgan Junction community members voted down a decade ago. Read it all here.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Snowy Sunday, early edition

WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli has just sent snowy photos from The Junction vicinity, including that one from the “West Seattle Bros.” tree lot on Alaska west of Fauntleroy. We’ll be adding more of his photos – and others that came in from all over West Seattle, in just the past half-hour or so – for this early report (original Saturday night snow coverage here). CLICK AHEAD to see 10 more photos:Read More