(Monday photo from Alki by David Hutchinson)
Good morning! Thank you again in advance for using the comment section (and/or e-mail, or phone 206-293-6302 when you’re away from computer or handheld) to share road conditions, bus observations, and anything else to help your fellow West Seattleites get around more safely and successfully this morning – regional weather star Cliff Mass warns “(this) morning may be a real problem with perhaps more troublesome conditions than (yesterday) morning in some locations.” As usual, we’ll be sharing info, official advisories, observations, photos, etc. Reminder that our list of infolinks (Metro status list etc.) and open/closed notes can be found here.
5:50 AM UPDATE: From Jim McCabe, at Sea-Tac, in comments: “The airport looks like a gigantic homeless shelter, with people sleeping in every corner.” Metro status list is being updated.
6:05 AM UPDATE: Radio report says there are still some flight cancellations at Sea-Tac; some flights are leaving, but the crowd is still there because there’s not much standby room to get passengers onto flights that have long been fully booked. Meantime, if you missed it at the end of last night’s coverage, here’s the Times story about why the city doesn’t salt roads.
Looking Down Avalon…cars are trying it and making it…many going very slow…many still driving with chains…on the bridge in the distance we see both cars and busses going over Avalon
Still awaiting many of the morning’s “official” updates, such as Seattle Public Utilities‘ official call on whether they’re even going to try pickup today (including potentially some of the Monday homes that were missed yesterday for the 2nd straight Monday; see our story from last night).
6:56 AM UPDATE: Summarizing what people are sharing in the comments section so far – sounds like Metro bus service through/from West Seattle is more reliable this morning, in general. The city has recirculated the overview news release we published yesterday afternoon; one highlight worth mentioning again in case it affects you or someone you know, “Seattle City Light has suspended disconnection notices through January 9, 2009. Any customer needing assistance in making payments on their City Light bill should contact the Call Center as soon as possible to make arrangements. Customers can call (206) 684-3000 Monday – Friday to talk with a representative.” Also – We’re monitoring citywide traffic reports via radio, scanner, and Web, no major problems so far.
7:07 AM UPDATE: JayDee just texted from his bus – “56 at seven (am) running, whew.” More evidence the bus service is doing better. The arterials mentioned so far in comments sound better too; the corner nearest us (California/Thistle) also has the sound of faster driving this morning – going out in a bit for a photo.
7:35 AM UPDATE: Another text from JayDee – 56 still going well but “of course (standing room only) since California.” Another public-service reminder: If you haven’t cleared your storm drains and checked your downspouts – more melting is likely today – it’s an important thing to do. Especially given the likelihood of more stormy weather on the way, one way or another – just noticed that Cliff Mass actually filed a significant update fairly late last night, not only with his thoughts about more snow on the way, but also his opinions on the snow-removal issue. He concludes:
I am no economist…but image if the city had 3x more snowplows and could keep the roads in far better shape. What is that worth? Tomorrow the UW is closing for a second day. Image the cost of that in lost productivity…certainly tens or hundreds of thousands of productivity lost. What about the loss of business to retail? Any reasonable analysis should reveal that better snow removal capabilities would be a extraordinary investment.
8:21 AM UPDATE: Seeing some snow-related items popping up in the West Seattle CL items that you can find on our “More” page any time (first half of the page is regional news coverage mentioning West Seattle or The Viaduct; second half is the latest 50 CL posts tagged West Seattle; both are automated feeds so they’re continuously updated (see ’em here). More reading suggestions – we published a few non-snow stories last night and added to the “amazing snow creations” post, so scroll further down the home page if you get bored!
8:50 AM UPDATE: Radio reports about downtown hills say some are still shut down, like Cherry (very steep near City Hall). Otherwise, traffic volumes are down regionally. Photo traffic’s slow this morning so we have a few more to share from Monday – Creighton sent this one:
And Paul sent this one, an example of bright color amid the white snow and gray sky:
9 AM UPDATE: Report from outside – “it’s trying to snow” and “on the sidewalk, where it’s been cleared, it’s icy, where it hasn’t, it’s packed snow.” The snow that’s trying to fall is VERY light, though. The forecast has a “winter storm watch” in effect starting late tonight. Meantime, word via radio, Greyhound has suspended service for the third straight day.
CLICK AHEAD TO SEE THE REST OF OUR ARCHIVED “AS IT HAPPENED” COVERAGE:
9:07 AM UPDATE: BULLETIN – no trash pickup again today, not for those who were delayed from yesterday and last Monday, nor Tuesday pickups. Here’s the official news release we just received – we’re going to clarify if that means the missed MONDAY customers should just bring in now, OR whether they might get a try tomorrow:
SEATTLE – Single-family residential garbage, recycling, food and yard
waste collection has been delayed in Seattle today, Tuesday, December
23, due to dangerous road conditions.
City collection contractors will attempt to service today’s missed
customers tomorrow, Wednesday, December 24, if road conditions improve.
Customers missed today should leave their containers out tomorrow. If
materials are not collected tomorrow, then customers should bring in
their containers until next week.
Due to the Christmas holiday, Thursday and Friday customers will be
delayed one day. Thursday customers will be collected Friday, December
26, and Friday customers will be collected Saturday, December 27th.
Customers whose collections have been delayed by a week can set out
double their normal amount of garbage at no additional charge. When
setting out extra waste, customers are encouraged to place perishable
food items in their collection containers and set bagged non-perishable
items next to the containers.
Customers who have had their collections missed two weeks in a row can
also take their waste to Seattle’s Recycling and Disposal Stations,
where it will be accepted at no charge.
9:27 AM UPDATE: Don’t get too cocky on the roads. The latest from Talani at Stor-More: “”At this moment, a huge Costco delivery truck is stuck on Yancy..sliding backwards down the hill…beware…there are cars parked nearby and his wheels are spinning..he’s huge to be sliding…” (added) Here’s a photo:
Talani says the truck is still blocking Yancy at their spot just east of Avalon, but they’re working to dig it out – salt, shovels, you name it.
9:52 AM UPDATE: Attention, fellow forecast geeks! Cliff Mass’s newest post is up!
10:05 AM UPDATE: Just posted a Crime Watch story atop the home page – if you are parking your car away from home to avoid getting stuck in ice/snow, a cautionary tale. Meantime, Talani’s update from Yancy/Avalon (map):
“ADD A 3RD INCIDENT TO THE YANCY SITUATION…WE NOW HAVE 3 STUCK VEHICLES ON YANCY CLOSING TRAFFIC IN BOTH DIRECTIONS…2 CARS AND A LARGE TRUCK…ALL ARE CURRENTLY JUST STUCK AND HAVE NOT YET HIT ANYTHING…”
If you “friend” us on Facebook (WS Blog), you can follow the drama on our wall, where Talani’s posting frequent updates. Meantime, this just in, namelessly – another bus story:
This morning at around 7:45 I was walking down Oregon st. in Delridge to catch the 120 at the bottom of delridge, as the 125 is supposedly suspended. I hear a ‘honk’ and look behind me and it was the 125. I was so happy. The bus driver let me on and I could have cried I was so happy.
So, just for all the people that rely on 125 – it is running, even though metro is yet again wrong saying it is not.
Hopefully it’s still running tonight. Took me 40 minutes to walk home after getting off the 120 on delridge. Uphill. In ice. In the dark.
Via Twitter, a recent update from SDOT:
Have full plow fleet out – with two working Alaskan Way Viaduct and West Seattle Bridge. Have even been using road grader at night.
10:33 AM UPDATE: If you have a view of the Sound, or go out walking, keep an eye out for orcas today – seems they’re back closer to the central Sound – from the latest Orca Network e-mail bulletin:
Orca Network received a call from Chris Kennedy of the Washington State Ferries, relaying a report from the Victoria Clipper of orcas in the northbound traffic lanes off Apple Tree Cove (N. of Kingston) between 8:30 and 9 am.
Dec. 22 – 23
Jason on the Victoria Clipper called to report J pod milling between Edmonds/Kingston at approximately 8:35 am. They also saw them Dec. 22nd at 8:20 am off West Pt., Seattle heading north .
West Point, as you probably know, is the tip of Magnolia, directly across (north) from Alki.
10:45 AM UPDATE: Talani says the Costco Delivery truck drama has ended but the road’s closed: “YANCY CLEARED – JACKNIFED TRUCK AND BLOCKING VEHICLES HAVE BEEN CLEARED. POLICE CLOSED ROAD AT TOP. WATCH FOR ICE.”
Just in from the Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) – karate classes canceled for today. Adding to the open/closed/links post.
12:04 PM UPDATE: Co-publisher Patrick traveled to Westwood; we put his thoughts in comments first because Darren was wondering, but here they are again: “Roxbury’s in great shape. Everything’s getting slushy now. Westwood parking lot ‘a nightmare’ – not evenly cleared – ‘some of those lumps you have to go over can be dangerous’ – the entrance just east of the McDonald’s is the most dangerous, with the stoplight.” And one last reminder from P: “HANG UP AND DRIVE.”
12:22 PM UPDATE: Quick! Look to the west if you can! That looks like a peek of the Olympics, golden with a bit of sun on the snow.
12:38 PM UPDATE: A couple photos Patrick brought back from his Westwood Village visit:
And an update from the West Seattle Family YMCA (WSB sponsor):
Fauntleroy Y Facility closes at 5:30 pm
West Seattle Y Facility closes at 6 pm
Both YMCA Facilities Closed
Both YMCA Facilities Closed – Merry Christmas!
Both YMCA Facilities Open at Normal Times
This post will stay open through the afternoon – then we’ll open a night/overnight post in early evening.
2:57 PM UPDATE: The latest official news release from SDOT:
SDOT Moves to Next Phase of Winter Storm Response
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has cleared primary arterials to exposed pavement and is now focusing on secondary roads. Feeder and collector routes across Seattle such as Third Ave. NW in Ballard, Fifteenth Ave. S. on Beacon Hill, SW Thistle Street in West Seattle, and Ravenna Avenue NE in Ravenna will be repeatedly plowed, sanded and de-iced. SDOT road-clearing crews have remained on a 24-hour schedule since Dec. 18.
As snow plows enter smaller neighborhood streets, residents should be aware that additional accumulation of plowed snow and ice may occur around parked cars. Additionally, drivers who encounter SDOT trucks on narrow roadways are advised to provide ample room for the crews to work.
Multiple winter storms created road conditions not seen in more than a decade. SDOT’s initial focus cleared heavily traveled streets such as the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the West Seattle Bridge, Rainier Avenue S, Elliott Avenue W, and Lake City Way NE.
With weather forecasts predicting possible snow, the department will continue to monitor primary roads and deploy resources as needed.
Hey! They mentioned our secondary arterial! (minutes later) And they are NOT kidding about the “road grader” – it’s at our corner right now – ran out in socks to take a photo – will add in a sec … Here:
It is doing the grader equivalent of donuts – back and forth, anyway – at Thistle/California (map).
3:10 PM UPDATE: Along with the road update, we have a short trash update – checked with Seattle Public Utilities after this morning’s official announcement, and Brett Stav replied “We’re still trying in West Seattle through Wednesday, but folks should use their best judgement- if their road is looking really bad, it’s probably best to bring it in until Monday.” We’d say that means … just bring it in. But if you’ve seen a trash truck. announce it! (And think of how exciting it will be when next week – we hope – the trash situation is back to normal; co-publisher Patrick is just back from a nearby grocery store where he reports someone came running excitedly over to the manager who was working the checkstand and yelled the news that their trash-pickup provider thought they could maybe make it to the store by the end of the night.)
3:31 PM UPDATE: Busy afternoon here at WSB HQ. Now there’s a Comcast guy going up in a cherry picker right outside the window. Hope he’s not here to cut off the Internet service … we do have two backups. Meantime – if you are not reading comments – in addition to road conditions, there’s a lot of info this afternoon about supermarket conditions. Some supplies low; also some reports of bad behavior – this is certainly a challenging situation but take a deep breath; as my grandma used to say, “Someday we’ll look back on all this and laugh.” And remember to go outside and take a picture of your house, your yard, if you haven’t already, to remember what it looked like, all buried in snow.
3:45 PM UPDATE: Checked with the Comcast guy. No outages, no disconnections, just “routine” work. Meantime, the road grader is back – seems to be going up and down Thistle from here (the arterial ends at California). Brand-new forecast just appeared from the National Weather Service — will excerpt heavily because after all this, the word “snow” stops appearing:
TONIGHT…SNOW LIKELY…MAINLY AFTER MIDNIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH. LOWS 25 TO 30. LIGHT WIND BECOMING SOUTH 10 MPH OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
WEDNESDAY…SNOW IN THE MORNING…CHANGING TO RAIN FOR ALL EXCEPT HIGHER HILLS. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 1 TO 3 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S. SOUTH WIND 10 TO 20 MPH.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT…SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATION OF A TRACE TO 2 INCHES. LOWS NEAR 30. SOUTH WIND 10 TO 15 MPH.
CHRISTMAS DAY…SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S. SOUTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH SHIFTING TO THE WEST IN THE AFTERNOON.
THURSDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. SOUTH WIND TO 10 MPH.
FRIDAY…SNOW IN THE MORNING…CHANGING TO RAIN. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S.
4 PM UPDATE: Added a larger version of this to the “amazing snow creations” photo post (see them all here) but wanted to showcase it here too – Patty says James at West Seattle Fence built this at 52nd/Genesee:
4:15 PM UPDATE: Tracking the afternoon commute via radio, scanner, web/e-mail alerts, etc. Reminder, WS-relevant traffic cameras are on our Traffic page. TRAFFIC BULLETIN JUST IN BY PHONE – 42nd/Edmunds, an 18-wheeler is stuck (thanks to the person who called us, 206-293-6302 24/7). “People are getting around,” but it’s not easy. Avoid that area (east edge of The Junction by back side of Jefferson Square) TFN.
4:36 PM UPDATE: There’s also word of “gridlock” from at least two sources — John just e-mailed “I work on Alaska between Fauntleroy and 35th and traffic is backed up almost to 35th from the Junction.” Second source, WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli, who just sent this photo from the north side of Jefferson Square looking east down Alaska:
4:44 PM UPDATE: Metro has just sent its outlook for TOMORROW (read it here) – along with a reminder that “holiday adjustments” kick in the day after tomorrow, aka Christmas. P.S. We’re continuing to publish “other news” of note atop the page as we get it … just added an update that will be of interest to those affected by the current school-closure process in Seattle Public Schools.
4:53 PM UPDATE: Big news from Metro via Twitter: “Good news! Metro is expecting 1,500 new sets of bus chains Wednesday or Thursday to keep buses rolling.”
5 PM UPDATE: Grocery bulletin from the comments: Roxbury Safeway JUST GOT EGGS.
5:08 PM UPDATE: Phone update on the 42nd/Edmunds stuck semi – tow truck there now trying to help. ANOTHER update – Christopher just texted to say TWO trucks are now stuck at 41st/Edmunds. Photo momentarily.
5:31 PM UPDATE: Steve just e-mailed big news for eastern West Seattle residents:
The grader just went down and up SW Holden ST between 35th and Delridge Way. It’s been closed for over a week, but people have been making out OK on it anyway except for Sunday when you needed 4WD or chains for sure.
We’ll ask SDOT where this grader has been all our lives … they’ve been busy all day discussing the road-salt controversy but maybe we can find out more. (See photo we published about two hours ago, when it came by our intersection.)
5:48 PM UPDATE: From Christopher re: the 41st/Edmunds truck situation – he says it WAS for Safeway deliveries, which would usually be happening in that (steep) area, and: “Just now freed the truck and cleared the intersection. Everyone should stay away from Edmunds. The hill is a sheet of ice and even four wheel drive vehicles are going down the hill sideways.”
We are going to start the evening post in a couple minutes with photos of the truck trouble and some other info that’s coming in that will be more helpful looking ahead to tomorrow (even if it IS Christmas Eve … still a workday for more than a few).