West Seattle snow: Saturday night/overnight updates

(This post is now closed and Sunday morning coverage is under way; go here to see coverage from earlier Saturday – SUNDAY CLOSURES/CHANGES: Farmers’ Market canceled – No church at Westside Unitarian – Admiral Sings Christmas postponed to 12/28 – No mule rides in The Junction BUT as of right now Santa pix ARE still on – POWER OUTAGE SAFETY INFO AND READER TIPS HERE)

(photo by Tom F – that’s John Meer helping out tonight at the Holy Rosary tree lot in Admiral)
Here’s the official evening post – we’ll start with information from the 7 pm briefing expected from the city – stand by for that. Meanwhile, if you know of any additional closures/changes for tomorrow, please let us know. Mayor’s briefing under way – he says Weather Service expects winds 10 pm-1 am. That’s about it for useful info – he reiterated that all 27 of the city’s plow/sand trucks are out and working. Meantime, looks like the wind’s picked up further, at least here in Upper Fauntleroy.

7:24 PM UPDATE: Stuck head out the door (note our warning from the earlier post – the snow is blowing even onto covered porches, BEWARE unexpected slipperiness) – the wind is definitely getting stronger. Not massive trouble level yet but stronger, so now’s the time to make sure you have all that just-in-case-of-outage stuff handy.

7:44 PM UPDATE: From SDOT on Twitter: “Roads leading to Qwest Field will be plowed tomorrow to allow football fans to attend the game.”

8:55 PM UPDATE: Video’s the order of the night. Tried to get the howling wind and blowing snow on cam and the clip didn’t quite convey it. So we’re trying again. Meantime, Manuel W is out and about; he sent this link to a clip he shot in Morgan Junction about an hour and a half ago, just BEFORE the wind started revving up. Meantime, King County’s Emergency Operations Center is open too, according to a news release from the county; mostly the carbon-monoxide reminders yet again, but also a note that they’re plowing unincorporated areas. And this note about buses:

Metro Transit was able to operate much of its Saturday service on snow routing during the day, but began experiencing difficult travel conditions Saturday afternoon and evening. As conditions worsen, Metro may have to further curtail service. Metro anticipates having to significantly cut back Sunday service if road conditions are dangerous in the morning.

Also, an update on Thriftway – they did NOT close early, they’re open till midnight. And a reminder from earlier – the West Seattle Junction Association (WSB sponsor) is still planning to have Santa pix at Cupcake Royale and the holiday-cheer booth at California/Alaska, noon-4 pm tomorrow, UNLESS otherwise announced, though the draft-mule trolley rides are off (they can’t get here from Port Angeles).

If you’re not near a window – it looks like near-whiteout conditions out there. Here’s a taste of the blowing snow from a quick 9 pm walkaround:

9:42 PM UPDATE: Alma just took a walk on Alki and came back with this photo from beneath the seawall:

Listening to the scanner – which we have programmed with various county frequencies as well as city – sounds like the eastside is really having a time of it, with power outages and trees down. Nothing on the city power outage list so far. Wind still howling outside our windows, though.

10:06 PM UPDATE:
Latest forecast posted — calls for “periods of snow” tomorrow — the winds aren’t supposed to get any worse than they are about now, though, but of course, take it all under advisement. Well-known meteorologist Cliff Mass posted an 8:30 pm update with a chart. Reading his site’s comments, there’s a report of a 55 mph gust on Genesee Hill less than an hour ago.


10:22 PM UPDATE: More pix. Manuel W linked his Flickr and Vimeo uploads in comments; here’s one shot we thought especially lovely:

And from Delridge/Juneau, Sage K‘s view – with a snowperson keeping watch:

10:51 PM UPDATE: Sure hoping there’s no one even remotely contemplating this, but … I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass is currently closed both ways for zero visibility. Also: The Bohemian just sent word NO BRUNCH tomorrow, though they will be open for coffee:

Based on the severity of the weather lately and this current storm…most of our key personnel couldn’t even get into West Seattle over the past 24hours and therefore we are not prepared or able to execute Brunch service tomorrow. SO…we have decided to cancel plans for full Sunday Brunch service, but we WILL be open from 8am for Coffee, Tea, Pastries, etc…

Airport driving report from Hopey, who just called and said she had decided after all to brave it: If you know how to drive in the snow, it’s OK getting down Roxbury, the “scary hill,” and even on 509, aside from a few idiot tailgaters — she said the treacherous part was 518, the freeway from Burien to Sea-Tac, including the ramp up to the airport — deeper snow, etc. Overall, “only” took her twice as long as usual to get to the airport.

11:12 PM UPDATE: JS e-mailed to say someone’s actually out having a beach bonfire on Alki “across from Pepperdock’s.” Just heard Portland has 8 inches of snow??? Wow.

11:32 PM UPDATE: Austin sends a report and photo:

35th and Fauntleroy.. Snow. And more snow. I took a ride from here to points south and everything was pretty much like this or worse. Still some people out, mostly 4x4s but not all. A few people not able to make it up the hill at 35th southbound from Andover. The land rover made short work of the mess however.

11:46 PM:
Manuel got a photo of the Alki bonfire:

12:31 AM: The incredibly cool Alice Enevoldsen has again updated the map she made last night (which was such a great and welcome surprise) – note the yellow markers for places where sledding’s been reported; click the “view larger” link to see the whole map in a Google environment with the legend:

View Larger Map

12:55 AM: A couple more photos from Austin – first, the Fauntleroy overpass (brrrr):

The 7-11 gas station at Avalon/35th:

And we’ve got a Junction report from WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli:

Lots of loose snow on the roads. A surprising number of people are out. Some driving too fast and a bit recklessly. Saw more than a few people in 2 wheel drive cars having a tough time of it (going uphill on Alaska and on Fauntleroy. Saw guys on ATVs doing doughnuts in the middle of the Junction just outside of East Street. Saw three adult men throwing snowballs at passing cars at Oregon and California and laughing as if it were funny. Saw a parked Subaru in front of Matador with a somewhat distressed standard poodle sitting in the front seat. Temperature on the clock at Jefferson Square reads 23 degrees. Shadowland, West 5, Matador, still open with a handful of people in each place. There’s an unbelievable amount of snow out there. Drifts are 8-10 inches in some places.

A few of his photos, starting with ATV’s in The Junction:

This one, Christopher described as “Trepidatious pedestrians crossing California. They told me they live down by Lincoln Park and drove their van to the Junction just to walk around and check things out.”

On the scanner, simply: “There’s a LOT of snow out here.” Looking for overnight reading? This rant about “Seattle and snow” is very well-written (and educational in spots).

136 Replies to "West Seattle snow: Saturday night/overnight updates"

  • Cheri December 20, 2008 (7:08 pm)

    So does the West Seattle blog have a rant and rave section? I was driving home up 35th from work at about 6:30 in the snow and the cop behind me decided mid hill that i wasn’t moving fast enough for him so he turned on his lights… i thought he was pulling me over so i had to pull over on a hill with limited visability just so he could go around me!!! and as soon as i pulled over he kept going the same speed i was then i was stuck behind him!! That wasnt safe thinking on his part!!! but anyway yay more snow!!!

  • Manuel W. December 20, 2008 (7:08 pm)

    Just drove back to Morgan Junction from Fremont. About 2″ of snowpack on 99. Aurora bridge and WS bridge starting to get a little squirelly, but driveable at slow speeds. (driving in a Subaru outback w/no chains.) Fauntleroy has a good snowpack going too. Visibility still several hundred feet.

    So far logged about 75 miles since first snowfall. Learning much about driving on snow. Seems like on ice, braking causes more slippage than acceleration, and on snowpack, the opposite holds true.

  • WSB December 20, 2008 (7:09 pm)

    Yes – In the Forums, we have rant/rave

  • yo December 20, 2008 (7:10 pm)

    Cheri –

    I wasn’t there, but the cop may have just got a call?

  • Sage K December 20, 2008 (7:15 pm)

    Just got back from Westwood Village. Delridge was fine plenty of sand still on the road. Henderson down to Barton and back up to Delridge was no problem as well. The parking lot at Westwood has some sand.

    Target has been mostly picked bare. It’s no longer crowded. Most of the flashlights are gone, but they did just put out some small propane bottles and have a few lanterns left.

    So far the roads aren’t bad just remember to drive slowly, in a low gear and not to slam on your brakes.

    I’ve been just fine in my car and I don’t have chains or 4WD, but I avoid hills and side streets.

  • Steve Ripley December 20, 2008 (7:18 pm)

    Here is the link to the City of Seattle snow and ice news release from tonight.

  • Sage K December 20, 2008 (7:19 pm)

    Forgot to mention, that the delivery truck for Target tonight has been canceled. So the only things going out tonight are what we have in the back. Might not be a lot of selection tomorrow.

  • WSB December 20, 2008 (7:22 pm)

    Thanks, Steve, we already had that in our previous post (full text) soon as we got it in e-mail – we are on the media list – but if you have separate updates on any breaking developments, even one-liners, we welcome those – TR

  • p December 20, 2008 (7:22 pm)

    Just ran to the White Center Liqour store, last one in, they closed at 7 (thank GOD I made it in…) Burien closes at 8, just in case you need to make that run…
    Alice 106th between 26th Ave Sw and 35th Ave SW is snow packed and slick, but driveable. Also stopped in Roxbury Safeway, bread is pretty much gone, but the store is pretty quiet, lines are short I was in and out in 5 minutes. Oh, and if you are going in for baking supplies, they are pretty cleaned out!
    For those of us on 28th Ave SW after 106th, the blank, blank, blank snowmobiles are back, standing on top of the mobiles zipping up and down the street….

  • Alice December 20, 2008 (7:23 pm)

    I changed the WS Bridge, and added the Delridge section on the map. Thanks!


  • wsguy December 20, 2008 (7:25 pm)

    49th and Brandon

    3 Snow mobiles going pretty fast down the road..

  • Peaches December 20, 2008 (7:30 pm)

    P- Sorry to hear that you have drawn the snowmobile card tonight (although I won’t be surprised if I hear them on my end of 28th at some point).
    On the good news front, this snow is so dry that it’s not accumulating on trees and power lines. Even if the winds do finally pick up, less chance of toppling trees and power outages.

  • Big Al (No, Not THAT One) December 20, 2008 (7:32 pm)

    Sooner or later, someone flying north on 35th from Roxbury in front of Tony’s is gonna bite it — and there’s a steady sream of candidates, even now. Mark my words.

    By now, I imagine most any Seattleite with a pulse knows Seattle has (brace yourselves) 27 — yes, TWENTY SEVEN whole snow plows. Wow. 27. Coming from Chicago myself, 27 for a city and storm of this size is as good as having zero, practically. So, this means that the roads will be bad until — the temps rise above freezing long enough for the slickness to just go away.

    Please people, drive safe — or better, DON’T DRIVE!!

    And to the WSB — you run the best blog anywhere! We locals appreciate your hard work and excellent blog, and I just want to remind WSB how much we all GREATLY appreciate it!

    OK, back to hot chocolate for me …. hopefully we won’t need to puul out the generators!

  • Steve Ripley December 20, 2008 (7:33 pm)

    Thanks WSB I did not see it there just trying to cover all bases and get the news out! I will send along any updates. S.

  • Stuart December 20, 2008 (7:35 pm)

    Wind kicking up here in Gatewood…maybe just an anomaly.

  • happycustomer December 20, 2008 (7:37 pm)

    Amante Pizza and Pasta is open and delivering – yum!

  • Patrick December 20, 2008 (7:38 pm)

    I have to agree about loving the WSB – You are my lifeline to go to work or not haha.

  • Dustin December 20, 2008 (7:41 pm)

    P & Peaches,

    I just started hearing the snowmobiles. How can they think it’s safe to be fooling around on those things with the wind kicking up and making visibility crappy???

  • Peaches December 20, 2008 (7:48 pm)

    As predicted, snowmobiles are now on 28th SW from SW 106th to Roxbury. Dustin: I think the operative phrase in your post is “can they think”. I vote no!

  • Johnston December 20, 2008 (7:52 pm)

    Just heard snowmobiles in/near Explorer West/Westside schoolyard…I wonder if those geniuses have been drinking at all?

  • Kim December 20, 2008 (7:53 pm)

    I am glad to know that pizza is being delivered. I hope that it is safe for the drivers and I hope that they are not being forced to work/drive in this weather.

  • p December 20, 2008 (8:00 pm)

    Peaches, Dustin, and Johnston, its the same group. They are all over, I saw them headed towards 26th Ave SW, up and down 28th ave sw. Drinking comes to mind….
    Back to the grill to my nice ribs that we have been working on for the last hour….

  • Bobby Rosigliano December 20, 2008 (8:00 pm)

    We will be in Seattle soon visiting family. Here in Montana it is -20…….that is twenty degrees below zero and we already have a foot of snow. We are now waiting for the snow hitting you to be here in a day or so. Well, I will get the shovel out, put on my down parka and put of skiing for the day.

  • chas redmond December 20, 2008 (8:02 pm)

    Winds on Gatewood Hill definitely up – for the past maybe 20 minutes we’ve had pretty sustained 15-20 with some pretty impressive 30-35 gusts – all easterly – blowing the snow right off my roof and down toward the sound. All the trees have been shaken so much that none of them have any snow left – most fence lines seem to be getting cleared in this wind, too.

  • Sage K December 20, 2008 (8:03 pm)

    Alice just wanted to let you know that Delridge from SW Juneau to Henderson is driveable at a slow and steady pace.

  • Johnston December 20, 2008 (8:04 pm)

    At least the snowmobile morons are using equipment that, while annoying, was designed for this stuff…unlike the guy in the schoolyard last night on a DIRT BIKE! Now there’s a Darwin Award winner!

  • MNGirl December 20, 2008 (8:07 pm)

    We are near Genesee and 49th… just came in from shoveling the snow off the sidewalks and we have about 3 inches of very light, fluffy, dry snow…it’s gorgeous..but enough already. I knew we should have brought the snowblower from Minnesota. Wind is blowing a little more but all in all not too bad.

  • Dustin December 20, 2008 (8:15 pm)

    You read my mind with the Darwin Awards. :)
    Chas Redmond – How are you tracking the wind speeds?

  • cdavis December 20, 2008 (8:16 pm)

    Winds are picking up pace down on the Morgan Junction. The snow continues to fall. It feels like a real blizzard.

  • Patrick December 20, 2008 (8:16 pm)

    I hear ya MNGirl…..im on 46th and Genesee…..granted I am born and raised West Seattle. I despise the ice.

  • Sue December 20, 2008 (8:17 pm)

    Saw a plow go southbound on Fauntleroy a little while ago. First one I’ve seen in days.

  • katydid December 20, 2008 (8:23 pm)

    Where on Fauntleroy? I’ve got a grandson coming in around midnight from back east…he’s on his way to Anchorage and may be stranded…he’s on NW, not Alaska…and has already been bumped or something from one flight already…keep your fingers crossed he makes it safely….anybody been out to the airport lately?

  • RS December 20, 2008 (8:23 pm)

    Anyone been down Roxbury towards 509? Is it passable? Gotta go to the airport in a few hours. And then probably will have to come right back a few hours after that. :)

  • katydid December 20, 2008 (8:24 pm)

    BTW, what would be best/safest route to airport if I have to go…from Lincoln Park to Airport??? Thanks for any advice…I know, stay home…but it may not be an option…

  • dana. December 20, 2008 (8:26 pm)

    just saw a plow head down barton towards the ferry dock.

  • Scott December 20, 2008 (8:28 pm)

    I know that I shoveled the driveway last night, 6 inches then, now I can’t even tell that I did it there is so much snow out there now. How much, dunno, its snowing and blowing everything in from elsewhere.
    Wind speeds from a local monitoring station: http://weatherbug.excite.com/Common/Excite/Home.aspx?zcode=z4639&rnd2=34385&

  • hopey December 20, 2008 (8:31 pm)

    Glad to hear I am not the only crazy person considering a trip to the airport tonight. :)

  • Mags December 20, 2008 (8:31 pm)

    Better check the airport, news said that lots of flights have been cancelled..it’s really a mess out there and there are drifts forming due to the wind. The schoolnet thermometer has Madison at 22 with 21 mph gusts..

  • katydid December 20, 2008 (8:31 pm)

    hey RS, what time do you have to go out there…I think I may have to go around 1:30 am….maybe we can convoy together

  • Sue December 20, 2008 (8:35 pm)

    katydid, the plow on Fauntleroy was going south past Dawson (which is 3 blocks south of Alaska).

  • Johnston December 20, 2008 (8:35 pm)

    Observations from N. Shorewood: 20F, snowing harder, still small cold flakes. Barometer falling pretty steadily; down .1″ in the last 90 mins, now 30.02″. Winds NE ~5mph. It seems this thing is moving in slower than predicted. Also, the predicted strong easterly winds off the Cascades are not nearly as strong. All this means maybe less wind but more snow for us. Stay warm! (I’m not a meterologist, I just love Cliff Mass and still have the Heathkit weather station I built when I was 15!) :)

  • mike December 20, 2008 (8:39 pm)

    I went up the highland park way hill, I don’t recommend it for anything besides 4wheel drive. The cars I saw made it but barely, and with alot of work.

    a few bits of advice.
    1) When approaching a hill and its even slightly slippery DO NOT SLOW DOWN, hit it as fast as safely possible or you will get stuck half way
    2) Try Deflating your tires for more traction

  • rykrite December 20, 2008 (8:42 pm)

    Over by the West Seattle Nursery it is still snowing, and the wind is picking up. I have no way of measuring the force, but the large trees around our house are in constant motion now, and occassionally I really hear the wind whoosh and slam up against the house.
    Stay warm and safe, everyone!

  • RS December 20, 2008 (8:44 pm)

    We’re hitting refresh constantly on the Sea-Tac flight status page. Our flight isn’t canceled yet! We’re leaving in about half an hour. Fingers crossed!

  • Diane December 20, 2008 (8:44 pm)

    snow plow went up and down 37th (at Hinds) about hour ago; that was few minutes after snowmobile came flying down my hill (Hinds) through 37th; now 37th is full of snow again and kids with sleds walking down middle of street; nearly white out with snow blowing in swirls all over

  • Sue December 20, 2008 (8:47 pm)

    That update above that SDOT will make sure roads are plowed for the football game really annoys me. We’ve been suffering from poorly plowed/sanded roads here in WS for a week, but they want to focus on football fans? How about focusing on whether I can get a bus to work on Monday!

  • p December 20, 2008 (8:49 pm)

    remember everyone, this weather brings out walkers, sleders, etc, so when you are in your car, please BEWARE of the noncar people out there enjoying the weather! I don’t want to wake up and turn on KING 5 and see a West Seattle injury.

  • Megen December 20, 2008 (8:50 pm)

    Since 5:30 have seen the plow working on the 5200 block of 35th Ave. SW 5 times. Mostly going downhill towards Alaska St. though. Thats been a record from what I have seen. Went out and played in the snow with the roommates. Walked from Brandon and 35th Ave to before the hill starts at St. Providence. Saw quite a few cars and SUVs come up the hill. If planning on coming up the hill do it soon because I’m not sure how long you will be able to get up it if you have only FWD. :)

  • karen December 20, 2008 (8:50 pm)

    Gotta love WSB!! My husband is in Denver awaiting a flight home. I called to see if he was affected by the plane off the runway. He had no idea what was going on but said that it explained why a plane had to disembark and what all the aid cars were headed to. He asked how I knew – well WSB – DUH!!

  • ML December 20, 2008 (9:10 pm)

    Dumping hard in Admiral!!

  • mellaw6565 December 20, 2008 (9:16 pm)

    For those of you headed towards the airport from WS – I haven’t been on the 509 for a while, but I have been back and forth to Burien and Ambaum is compacted and easy at a steady pace. I would take Delridge to Ambaum, Ambaum to 148th (Hwy. 518) and straight on to the airport.

    Earlier this evening they said the traffic from I5 to 518 to the airport exit was so bad they were forcing people to the Des Moines Exit on the 518 and making them do a u-turn and come back into the airport from the west. The route above would bring you in from the west as would taking 509 to the 518.

  • Johnston December 20, 2008 (9:16 pm)

    Dumping hard in N. Shorewood too! Wind has obviously picked up as I see sideways snow in the lights at the schoolyard. My meter only says 5-10 mph, but it’s only about 12′ off the ground. Things are picking up! Be careful!

  • Shell Marr December 20, 2008 (9:20 pm)

    Holden, between 35th & Delridge…snow is coming down and the wind is blowing good…. power lines are bouncing up and down outside our window!

    Hubby hit Target and Big 5 today to get “stuff” in case we do lose power.

    Got all my laundry, Christmas baking, and dinner done in time!! :)

    Should be an interesting couple of days!

  • p December 20, 2008 (9:22 pm)

    its howling at 109th and 28th ave sw! glad we are in for the night! If you are taking a bus, please remember to thank your driver! As I have stated many times in the past, I get to talk to many drivers at work every day and they are really there for you!

  • nuni December 20, 2008 (9:29 pm)

    Just drove back from my company holiday party (left early). Drove 99 south to the West Seattle Bridge, to 35th ave SW South and Morgen. 99 south wasn’t bad as long as you take it slow. West Seattle Bridge was about the same (there have obviously been crews making passes to make sure there isn’t as much build up). 35th Ave SW was a different story. Almost didn’t make it up the hill past Alaska and we were sliding quite a bit. We have a Nissan Pathfinder with rear wheel drive and have chains on all four tires. BTW. The worst part of driving wasn’t even the roads, it’s the other drivers that think they can go 50 mph in these conditions and don’t leave any space between the cars. LEAVE ROOM. My hubby was getting so pissed he was about to stop the car and yell at the idiot behind us.

    As a side note, on our side street it has been so windy that hills of snow have formed in the roadway, some around a foot and a half to 2 feet deep.

  • Joe December 20, 2008 (9:32 pm)

    Just a suggestion for these updates, it would be nice to have them in reverse order with the most recent on top. When you have 2-3 pages worth of updates to find the most recent one, it’s a bit of a chore. Everyone stay safe and warm!

  • Cleveland Ken December 20, 2008 (9:37 pm)

    Someone was walking their dog in my neighborhood and the dog peed on the snowman I have in my yard. You would think people would be more considerate, now I have to make a new snowman.

  • angelescrest December 20, 2008 (9:40 pm)

    Alki has been stunning, with snow as high as the curb. Perfect for cross-country skis–sans the wind. There’s a group on the beach with tents and a bonfire…wow!

  • Manuel W. December 20, 2008 (9:40 pm)



  • WSB December 20, 2008 (9:42 pm)

    Thanks, Joe. We’ve done that on occasion but in this case, the comments are probably even more valuable than what we are adding, so I suspected we weren’t getting complaints because it was better to have the newest update closest to the comments – there also is a sort of sequential story to the whole thing, for people who are maybe only checking in every few hours or so – but we’re always listening – TR

  • iggy December 20, 2008 (9:44 pm)

    Front page of the online Seattle Times has an article. “‘Crazy’ storm whips up wind, snow, ice — misery”. If you scroll down in the article, there is an interesting summary of the big storms of the past. I especially remember Thanksgiving Day 1991. We were supposed to go to dinner at the Silver Spoon in Duvall but the bridges to the East Side were closed because of winds and there wasn’t any power. Many people had half-cooked turkeys in the oven when the power failed. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/home/

  • Alice December 20, 2008 (9:44 pm)

    Sage K, p, wsguy, Peaches, mike, Diane, Megen – Thanks!

    Megen – how’s the 35th hill looking now?


  • jw December 20, 2008 (9:48 pm)

    The girlfriend and I just skied down LIncoln Park Drive toward Beach Drive. The snow is sticky and dry, but fun.

  • aaron December 20, 2008 (9:48 pm)

    let it snow police and fire scanner quite white out at walnut ave sw

  • nuni December 20, 2008 (9:50 pm)

    Yeah I remember the one in 1991 also. I was 12 and living in Puyallup. We never ate out but because we had no power we had to go eat at Shari’s hehe. Memoriessss

  • Megen December 20, 2008 (9:51 pm)

    There haven’t been very many cars in the last hour or so. I’d say people are finally home and staying in or its pretty difficult. Haven’t seen a plow lately either! Im off to bed since I have to wake up and most likely call into my boss. (Supposed to work at 7:00 am at a Tullys in Clyde Hill off of 520…. highly doubt thats going to happen!) I will take a little walk in the morning and see what the condition is then for your map! :)

  • BatKeva December 20, 2008 (9:54 pm)

    Megen has gone to bed, but as her roomie with a lovely street view from the living room I’m happy to answer! The tracks we made an hour ago are buried and 35th is pretty covered as well. There are ruts on either side but traffic is very quiet. Cars appear to still be making it up the hill from Alaska but at this point I wouldn’t want to try it in anything other than 4wd. I haven’t seen a plow go by for quite some time now.

  • BatKeva December 20, 2008 (9:54 pm)

    And one more thing…I just saw a rather empty bus go by!

  • TJ December 20, 2008 (9:55 pm)

    I took the bus to the airport from West Seattle the other morning……. it was great! The 560… took about an hour… but the bus driver was very skilled. It was actually quite entertaining, watching everyone else try to drive. It came on time and arrived at the airport on time!

  • cjboffoli December 20, 2008 (9:55 pm)

    Do not deflate tires for traction on snow and ice. I doesn’t work that way.

  • Ken December 20, 2008 (10:02 pm)

    10:00 pm Highpoint.
    22 degrees winds out of the east at aprox 20 with gust possibly double that. All the roofs I can see are clear of snow and the areas normally clear (carports, porches etc…) are covered with blowing snow.

    I cannot estimate the snow depth but I measured 6 inches after the last storm and one of the areas I had cleared has about 3 inches on it now.

    Someone on 34th ave, 5900 block has what sounds like a large piece of thin metal flexing in the wind. I don’t know what it is but it could be ugly if it goes sightseeing around the neighborhood.

  • GenHillOne December 20, 2008 (10:04 pm)

    The wind is making really cool ripples in the snow on our hill – like on wide beaches like Ocean Shores or Cannon Beach.

  • p December 20, 2008 (10:07 pm)

    BatKeva what part of 35th are you on? Just wondering, because I will have to take 35th tomorrow morning for work…Alice, I will be happily waiting your fabo map!

  • K December 20, 2008 (10:10 pm)

    Might sound like a silly question but… Does anyone know if there is a website that gives basic instructions for snow/ice driving? I have to drive as part of my job and it has been very stressful with this weather.

  • JenV December 20, 2008 (10:11 pm)

    Manuel W – Great job! love the pics and videos!

  • TSP December 20, 2008 (10:13 pm)

    Waiting for more than 1 hour at 3rd & Pine for the 54 bus in storm. All information on Metro web site indicated that the bus should be arriving. I was attempting to track the bus but Metro tracking system showed no buses in route. The web site said that the bus was on time. Waiting for mor than 1 hour for a bus that should be arriving every 30 minutes. I am angry and frustrated that I cannot get a person on the phone to help me. I will have to get into my auto and drive downtown to pick up my partner when I should be able to rely on public transportation which I pay and vote for. I understand that Metro can’t help the weather but Metro CAN have information updated correctly on their website. This trip began at 8:50 and it is now 10:01. I just received a call from my partner and he said that a Metro person just told him to and the rest of the people to go to 2nd ave. This was not and has not been on Metro’s site for the 1 hours and 11 minutes I have been trying to help him get home.

  • WSB December 20, 2008 (10:15 pm)

    K – here’s one for starters:

  • JH December 20, 2008 (10:16 pm)

    I just walked the dog down the street, and the snow is so hard to walk in! Very light and fluffy, and blowing sideways. I could barely see coming back home. The dog had fun though (and thankfully did not pee on anyone’s snowman-haha).

    I have such the urge now to put on the cross country skis and go for a spin around the block.

    Okay I’m doing it!

  • KM December 20, 2008 (10:19 pm)

    I can’t recall having seen so many hours of such tiny fine crystal snow in town before – we usually get lumpy flakes! It’s breezy but the bigger trees aren’t moving much at 35th and Andover… The occasional vehicle is going up and down 35th here but not many – looks lke packed snow over the remnants of the last stuff and people are at least trundling slowly as they drive.

    This snow’s definitely drifting. I can see it curling down in sheets blown off the roof edge like someone’s tossing shovels of sugar with the wind gusts. 5″ new snow in front yard, 3″ new snow on sidewalk, close to 2″ new snow on parked car at the curb. Watching it beneath the streetlights is hypnotic – it’s swirling sideways, down, and up like in a shaken snow globe.

    KOMO website 7-day planner predicting a high of 39 on Monday. and *warming up* to 46 on Christmas day. Here’s hoping!

  • ML December 20, 2008 (10:23 pm)

    Still coming down hard and drifting west in Admiral. SO pretty!!

  • K December 20, 2008 (10:25 pm)

    Thank you, WSB. The site is helpful. Thanks for keeping the great information coming!

  • Aim December 20, 2008 (10:26 pm)

    We’re getting the occasional very high gust of wind here in Highland Park, but have no way to measure it. Could hardly see across the street a short time ago. Snow still blowing sideways, and still the little tiny flakes. Our walk, which was nearly snow-free today, has filled in and our steps look like a ramp. Lots and lots of snow.

  • t December 20, 2008 (10:29 pm)

    Hey — what are the chances of my Sunday paper arriving in the morning? If the carrier makes it a major big tip will be in order.

  • mar3c December 20, 2008 (10:29 pm)

    just walked from the west seattle bowl to the mount, up 38th.
    it was a chore, not for the faint of heart.
    snow is thick on the sidewalks and streets, and the wind and snow froze the snot into my ‘stache for the first time since i left the great lakes area in ’95
    stay in and be warm.

  • ZS December 20, 2008 (10:30 pm)

    “I am angry and frustrated that I cannot get a person on the phone to help me. I will have to get into my auto and drive downtown to pick up my partner when I should be able to rely on public transportation which I pay and vote for. I understand that Metro can’t help the weather but Metro CAN have information updated correctly on their website.”

    TSP, I agree that King County/Seattle Metro is the worst public transit system on the planet. I’ve lived in NJ, NY, PA, VA, DC, LA, San Diego, Veracruz, Mexico and my family has lived in various cities in Europe. There is a reason they build trains, fixed rail, subways, street cars, etc. in most metro areas and not relay on just buses. Buses suck as a main mode of transportation. they are a good support mode of transport but will NEVER offer an efficient mode of mass transit.

    So it is so bad here in Seattle on a good day but when the weather gets a bit rough here they shut down and assume it does not effect the lives of us taxpayers is offensive. This is NOT OK or acceptable. Oh yeah, and they want to remove one of our highways too in favor of “more buses and a 27 light, 30 MPH boulevard”.


  • Mike December 20, 2008 (10:33 pm)

    Driving in the snow (and/or ice) 101: Don’t over correct. Don’t over react. Be smart and safe.
    If you drive a manual, use your engine to slow yourself down. Drive slow, don’t slam on your breaks, don’t lock up your breaks. Don’t spin out your tires and over accelerate. When you are driving in snow, everything is subtle.

    Be very aware of other drivers! Most of the time what causes an accident is other drivers, so you might as well leave extra room and go at whatever pace is suitable for your vehicle.

    If you have 4WD and were born and raised in Seattle, slow down. Your vehicle won’t save your from ice.

    And the most important instruction when driving in snow, don’t do it unless you have to.

    _former Spokane and now West Seattle driver

  • K December 20, 2008 (10:35 pm)

    Thanks, Mike. Are you supposed to shift from D to 1st gear (automatic transmission) when going down a big hill like Roxbury to 509?

  • JRC December 20, 2008 (10:36 pm)

    Just got back from getting m son who works at Thriftway. We live in Arbor Heights. Went down up 35th to holden then took holden to california and went down the hill on California. Not slipery at all just a lot of snow. Came back up california to thistle and down thistle to 35th. I drive a Honda CRV with a nearly new set of tires and no chains and got home without loosing traction going up the hills. Fortunalely it is very dry snow and not slipery


  • Tracey December 20, 2008 (10:43 pm)

    This is for Alice, who is doing the maps (THANK YOU!!) Ferry Ave. SW (4 blocks north of Admiral) is CLOSED and being used for sledding.

  • aaron December 20, 2008 (10:48 pm)

    hey jim who your son i work at thrifway toom just like to know

  • JH December 20, 2008 (10:52 pm)

    I only managed four blocks on XX skis, but had a great time! Snow is blowing like crazy. At one point I couldn’t even see, so I figured I better mosey on home. Except I wasn’t really moseying. Talk about a workout!

  • Sue December 20, 2008 (10:56 pm)

    Please be careful making turns while out driving. I’ve seen several people now who are turning onto Dawson from Fauntleroy (or vice versa) who are fishtailing their way into the travel lane.
    A lot less cars than normal out, but still driving way too fast on Fauntleroy. And curiously, I’ve seen 2 Metro buses go north on Fauntleroy in the last 2 hours – there’s no weekend service on this section of Fauntleroy, so I wonder what they’re routing through here.

  • BatKeva December 20, 2008 (10:57 pm)

    I’m at 35th and Brandon :)

  • nate December 20, 2008 (10:58 pm)

    K, I’ll shift my automatic to 2 when I’m about to descend a hill in the snow, not sure how good it is for the car, but it keeps my speed down. Just remember to shift back to Drive.

  • lg December 20, 2008 (11:01 pm)

    @ KM- I love the description “tossing shovels of sugar” that would be great in a song.

  • PP December 20, 2008 (11:11 pm)

    Just got off the phone, calling 911 to report the two maniac snowbilers flying down 26th Ave SW racing side by side.

  • karen December 20, 2008 (11:17 pm)

    Hubby just called – back in Denver. The pilot was in the air and was told that SeaTac is closed and to turn around. I don’t know who else is waiting for inbound folks but I have been keeping an eye on my flight info and it showed the plane coming in. Ch 7 just talked about Sea Tac being still operational. Anyhow – I would call before I headed over there.

  • p December 20, 2008 (11:21 pm)

    PP I sure hope that you called about our idiot snowmobilers on 28th Ave SW. Maybe they moved to 26th. I have not heard them for the last hour or so….

  • gatewoodgirl December 20, 2008 (11:22 pm)

    the blowing snow is collecting in the basement back stairs – over a foot from the wind. If it melts it will flood the basement. Get those shovels ready for the a.m. folks if you are in the same boat.

  • WSB December 20, 2008 (11:22 pm)

    I checked the FAA status map
    and Sea-Tac is NOT listed as closed.
    You would HOPE the FAA has the official word.
    Sea-Tac’s home page at
    mentions “significant impacts” and also says the cell-phone lot is closed.

  • karen December 20, 2008 (11:27 pm)

    They say that each airline is responsible for clearing their own runway. Maybe his airline was not able to anymore? I know that Alaska stopped running earlier this evening.
    One would hope that someone knew what was going on.
    Oh well. Here’s hoping he gets in tomorrow.

  • kjk88 December 20, 2008 (11:28 pm)

    Just came home from sledding at charlestown. Quieter crowd than last night. Wind is picking up down at Alki. Lights just flickered a little.

  • wundrgrrrl December 20, 2008 (11:28 pm)

    It’s been quite blizzardy here on 49th & Admiral… Seems mostly to be snow from the roof swirling off, but when its calm, you can see it’s still snowing. Snow drifts in the back yard have hidden the stairs entirely and the chimes go wild every so often with a good gust. The shoveled doggy path disappears every 1/2 hour under about 3-4″ of snow, so someone’s getting a workout!

  • aaron December 20, 2008 (11:35 pm)

    cops just called to charlestown for sleders and noise

  • mellaw6565 December 20, 2008 (11:36 pm)

    Ok – I just got back from my last pet sitting run of the evening: Fauntleroy Hills to Burien back to Fauntleroy Hills.

    I took Barton up from Endolyne to 26th Ave in front of Westwood. Turned right and went up to Roxbury. Went left and up to 17th – took that to Ambaum and from there all the way to 152nd and towards the water.

    There have been no plows in the last couple of hours and so the roads are VERY THICK with powdery snow. It does make you slide a little, but in an easier correctable way than on ice.

    One thing I noticed and I have to put out there – if you go too slow on these roads, you WILL get stuck and possibly strand those behind you. Please maintain a speed around 20 mph – this gives you enough momentum to get up small hills and plow through the thick snow, plus it allows everyone else behind you to maintain a steady speed without braking. Anything slower and, from what I’ve seen, you will get stuck. I saw many drivers stuck in the middle of the roadways – I didn’t stop for them but just gave a little honk to let them know I was going around. If I had stopped, I would have been stuck also.

    Just be careful, be aware and try to drive so as not to cause problems for the other drivers as well.

    BTW – I could hear several planes taking off from the airport from the house in Burien. That was at 10:45 pm.

  • Manuel W. December 20, 2008 (11:37 pm)

    Drove thru Admiral, down to Alki, around the lighthouse point; some people were having a bonfire on Alki across from Pepperdocks!


    Freezing rain down on Alki. Saw ferry lights blinking in and out through the storm.

  • rlv December 20, 2008 (11:41 pm)

    from Ron Sims Twitter about 30 mins ago:

    ronsims King County Emergency Operations reports that air traffic has been suspended at SeaTac Airport due to wind sheer.

  • WSB December 20, 2008 (11:41 pm)

    Someone else just e-mailed me about the Alki bonfire and I mentioned it in the running narrative – will pull one of the pix. Brrr.

  • JenV December 20, 2008 (11:43 pm)

    we just went out for a brief walk. cold, wet, tiny snow. My covered walkway is now covered..in snow. It’s gorgeous out there.

  • WSB December 20, 2008 (11:43 pm)

    FAA site is real-time and I would trust that … but it’s easy enough to get flight status online or by phone, for those who have to go. Can’t imagine flying in this weather.

  • Julie December 20, 2008 (11:46 pm)

    Just think: only about 4 1/2 hours until we pass that point in our orbit around our star which sets us on the long slide into spring! (Well, those of us in the northern hemisphere. Australians are headed for autumn….)

    I’m hoping we don’t mark the solstice moment with a power outage.

  • zerodacus December 20, 2008 (11:49 pm)

    Just drove from Lincoln Park to Admiral, pretty interesting, There was a ladder truck out across the street from the Post Office, some dimwit in his hummer veered over towards me trying to go around. About 25 MPH in 4wd is about right for conditions. I was ready to track down the son and girlfriend for not being home, but they’ve been home for two hours and there wasn’t a track to be seen in the snow. Time to hunker down for the night.

  • hopey December 20, 2008 (11:49 pm)

    the wind shear remark may explain why my husband’s flight has beed “diverted” to Spokane…

  • TP December 20, 2008 (11:50 pm)

    Here the winds are blowing the snow off the roofs and creating drifts. It is quite surreal. Grew up in Alaska, and I’m used to this in AK, not WA.

  • Patrick December 20, 2008 (11:50 pm)

    im thinking tomorrow (depending on the power status) taking a walk around outdoors will be much better than the Hawks game :)

    truly though, I wish everyone has a safe and calm night/morning/weekend/winter

  • Alice December 20, 2008 (11:53 pm)

    Thanks BatKeva, jw, JRC, Tracey, got your updates into the map.

    p – you want me to get up early on one of my 3 days of winter break to do this for you? How much do you want to pay me? ;) Well, check back anyway – if I don’t manage to get up early enough WSB will still have all the good comments and reporting!

    PP – Where on 26th?

    The map is updated to 11:44pm (http://tinyurl.com/AlicesSaturdayMap), tomorrow I’ll probably start a new map (http://tinyurl.com/AlicesSundayMap), but I’ll start with the same data from this map – red roads will stay red till someone tells me otherwise.

  • WSB December 20, 2008 (11:54 pm)

    Hopey – I’ve been watching some Spokane tweets and at least as of an hour or so ago they had NO snow. How will he get here from there?

  • Alice December 21, 2008 (12:07 am)

    Thanks mellaw6565, kjk88, aaron, zerodacus!

    Julie – Astronomy Picture of the Day has a pretty picture about the Solstice for yesterday – AND there’s a LIVE webcast of the Solstice sunrise aligning with the megalithic tomb of Newgrange, in County Meath, Ireland (it’s like a Stonehenge thing). Should be cool! It’ll start in about half an hour PST (just after midnight).

  • dana. December 21, 2008 (12:11 am)

    plow just went up and down 35th past my place on barton.

  • I Love My Jeep December 21, 2008 (12:26 am)

    I had a family holiday party down in Eatonville today and I left as soon as possible when the snow started. It was around 7pm and I finally got home around 9:30. Sumner to West Seattle was a treacherous drive. 2-3 inches of fresh snow on the freeways (167, 405 & I-5), and I couldn’t believe how many people were out in it. Around Renton, I was seriously thinking of staying at a motel because 167 was so bad. I have NEVER seen the freeways completely covered in packed snow and new powder the entire way home. The thing that surprised me most was how many 2 wheel drive cars passed me going at relatively high speeds. We were all creating our own paths through the powder trying to remember how many lanes each leg of the freeway has. When I made it into our driveway on 37th and Morgan, I wanted to kiss the ground. I will NEVER drive in weather like that again. Very, very, very scary.

    I have never appreciated my Wrangler, a new set of tires and good insurance more than tonight.

    Be careful out there!

  • kevin December 21, 2008 (12:42 am)

    I left downtown at 11PM and made it home to Arbor Heights in around 30 minutes.
    Evidence of plowing on 99 and across the W. Seattle hi rise. A couple of spin outs at the west end of the bridge before the hill.
    I watched the web cams before leaving work and traffic appeared to be making it up the hill OK. It was passable as long as you kept your speed UP.
    Continuing south, Fauntleroy was also passable all the way to the ferry.
    Probably not the best choice, I attempted to continue up Marine View Drive and MADE it, although it is deteriorating rapidly. I was able to keep my speed up with difficulty and had I met a car coming down, it would have been “game over” if I had to slow down.
    After making it to the top, I turned on to side streets which were totally covered with un-packed snow which was OK then but will likely change later.
    The worst of the trip was almost getting stuck in my own level driveway as I attempted to drive over 4 to 6 inches of wind blown snow on top of 2 to 3 inches of previously packed snow.
    Luckily I have Sunday and Monday off and that is where my car will stay.
    I would not recommend going out unless you absolutely have to.

  • kevin December 21, 2008 (12:45 am)

    Post script to my previous post.
    This trip was made in a 11 year old Toyota Avalon (Camry) with front wheel drive. I doubt a rear wheel drive car would have been able to make this trip.

  • Lou December 21, 2008 (12:45 am)

    35th at SW Webster seems decent…plowed, packed snow but not too slick. I saw a bus drive north on 35th while standing out there. We’ve had 7 inches at SW Webster and 36th, but the snow rate has decreased quite a bit in the last half hour and the wind doesn’t seem as strong.

    On a walk I just took, some drifts were reaching the 2 to 3 foot range up against houses, retaining walls, and in driveways.

  • M December 21, 2008 (12:53 am)

    After seeing some comments about SeaTac:
    – Airlines are responsible for deicing their own aircraft, most own their own deicing equipment, but some do contract out to other airlines to do their deicing.
    – Airlines are not responsible for the runways. Runways are kept cleared by the entity that operates the airport, i.e. Port Of Seattle for SeaTac
    – Windshear at an airport is usually very localized and fleeting, usually not bad enough to close an airport for extended periods, but it can disrupt the flow of traffic.
    – Flightaware.com is your best resource for seeing whats going on at almost any airport in the country. If you look at SeaTac activity since 11pm: There have been 11 departures and only 4 arrivals, including a few Alaska Airlines flights.

  • miws December 21, 2008 (12:57 am)

    Sanding truck just went by southbound on California near the Morgan Thriftway!



  • WSB December 21, 2008 (1:00 am)

    Must be the loud vehicle I just heard go ’round the corner eastbound on Thistle …

  • Alice December 21, 2008 (1:01 am)

    Thanks Lou and kevin – the map reflects your travels.

    I think I’m going to sign out for the night. Look for the Sunday map tomorrow!


  • mellaw6565 December 21, 2008 (1:07 am)

    Thanks Alice for all your work!

  • DM December 21, 2008 (1:18 am)

    Just came in from a short midnight stroll (slog). We were feeling curious and adventurous. We walked up Webster to 18th Ave SW and back down to Holden and 15th ave SW. Usually a short jaunt but it took a while walking through four inches of powder. Quiet lovely at this time of night. I’m thankful we didn’t receive the predicted winds.

    We witnessed five cars driving up and down Holden, which is drivable because it’s new snow thus far and not ice YET. Three were sane and two were going too fast. We watched one of the “too fast” drivers turning left to go down the Highland hill…Why on earth would anyone drive down that hill during an excessively heavy snow storm at midnight? We thought they were extremely clueless and reckless, but we sent blessings.

    I think we dodged a bullet with the wind. I’m happy for that. We’ve only had minor light flickers. But there is a story to be told by all the raccoon tracks I’m seeing in the snow.

    I hope every one is warm and safe. Thank you WSB for giving us this forum!

  • JRC December 21, 2008 (1:20 am)

    My son is Chris in the Deli

  • Alice December 21, 2008 (1:45 am)

    G’night WSB!

  • Scott B. December 21, 2008 (1:54 am)

    SE of Highland Park Elementary, the snow started changing shortly after 11:00pm Saturday night. It gradually grew wetter, and gradually decreased. At 1:45am Sunday, the precipitation is now just a tiny smattering of sleet, and the temperature outside is noticeably warmer.

  • Jason December 21, 2008 (2:33 am)

    The falling snow on 41st Ave SW just south of Alaska started to turn into freezing rain about 15 minutes ago.

  • littlebrowndog December 21, 2008 (3:41 am)

    I just let my 3 dogs out in our 6 inches of new snow. The 20″ tall Lab happily bounded out and did her business. The 15″ tall Sheltie stood in the snow on the porch and looked disdainfully at her and wouldn’t budge. The 6 month old Sheltie puppy (about 14 inches tall) leaped off the steps, took a header, bounded to the middle of the yard, and then sat down and got stuck. He sat there for 3-4 minutes until I went out and rescued him. I can see that I am going to have to shovel some paths in the yard once daylight arrives.

    On another subject—a friend emailed me last night. Her son drives for Metro. He says that during the worst of the storms of the past couple of days management appeared overwhelmed. His route was somewhere from the east side to downtown. He made 4 trips across 520 during his shift on the worst day, picking up some people who had been waiting 2 hours, but was left to make up his own route on the east side based upon what he figured might be passable. He said that people were very kind to drivers with stuck buses, bringing them food and warm drinks and allowing them to use bathrooms. One driver was given a 6-pack of beer! One driver returned to base with several bags of groceries. He had gotten stuck near a Metropolitan Market (don’t know if it was ours or a different one) and people kept giving him bags of groceries.

  • Sage K December 21, 2008 (5:00 am)

    Just got back home from work and there is a lot of snow out there. Was able to make it home alright coming up Henderson to Delridge and then North on Delridge to Juneau. There is a nasty sheet of ice on top of all the loose snow. Getting out of work there was a solid sheet of ice on all my windows, took awhile to scrape it off enough to drive.

    Mainly the snow is the worst in on the edge of the road and in the turn lanes. It gets really deep there.

Sorry, comment time is over.