West Seattle, Washington
So far (updated 8:22 am):
Seattle Public Schools closed Tuesday
Hope Lutheran School closed Tuesday
Holy Rosary School closed Tuesday
Our Lady of Guadalupe School closed Tuesday
Westside School closed Tuesday
Seattle Lutheran High School closed Tuesday
West Seattle Montessori/WS Academy closed Tuesday
Explorer West Middle School closed Tuesday
Northwest Montessori closed Tuesday (all branches including West Seattle)
John F. Kennedy High School in Burien closed Tuesday
Highline Public Schools CLOSED Tuesday
Vashon Island School District CLOSED Tuesday
Fauntleroy Children’s Center closed Tuesday
West Seattle Christian Preschool closed Tuesday
Holy Family School CLOSED Tuesday
Community School of West Seattle closed Tuesday
South Seattle Community College closed Tuesday
SSCC Cooperative Preschools closed Tuesday
OUTSIDE WEST SEATTLE & VICINITY: We also received a note that Holy Names (Capitol Hill) is closed Tuesday.
And the University of Washington is closed as well.
We will continue updating as information comes in. Please let us know if you have any information about a TUESDAY school schedule change in West Seattle, White Center, or vicinity.
How perfect: A “snowy” owl, shared by Greta, who explains: “My five-year-old daughter spotted this beautiful owl on a tree on our backyard this morning. Our house backs up to Fauntleroy Park.” (Commenters on FB think it might actually be a barred owl.) A bit to the east, along the Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood line, this hummingbird photo just came in from 40th/Thistle (map):
And those go nicely with a pre-snow photo we received over the weekend from Kolus Photo (bald eagles look somewhat snow-capped, after all):
Accompanying that photo, this explanation: “The resident bald eagle pair are now rather active in Lincoln Park and may be observed hunting water fowl along the shoreline or squirrels in the park if you are lucky enough to witness it.” The photo was taken Saturday in the “central” park area.
We just checked, and this meeting is still on: For those who’ve been following the saga of townhouse design – which traces back more than two years – the City Council Committee on the Built Environment has a public hearing tonight on the proposed changes to the Multi-Family Code. The hearing is at the Wing Luke Museum downtown at 5:30 pm (following a hearing on an unrelated item) – scroll down this page for details. The proposal originally went to the council in January 2009 (WSB coverage here), but it’s been in the works even longer – almost 2 1/2 years. Someone who’s been involved all along the way is West Seattle architect/developer/Design Review Board member Brandon Nicholson – he was at then-Mayor Nickels’ original announcement in summer 2008 (WSB coverage here). He sent around information about tonight’s hearing, on behalf of CORA (Congress of Residential Architects) NW, with this concern:
The word on the street is that business groups will be coming out in force to oppose a specific portion of the bill that creates a new streamlined design review (SDR) process & mandates that all new townhouse projects must participate. They are asking for a set of prescriptive design standards to be used in lieu of SDR.
SDR is a process that provides citizens early notice and an opportunity for meaningful input into development in their neighborhoods. It has been carefully designed to streamline the inefficiencies inherent in the current design review process. Every attempt has been made to balance the needs of developers for speed and predictability against the needs to provide citizens with notice and a forum for input. SDR is the gate-keeping mechanism that allows designers the flexibility needed to design buildings that are sensitive to context, address the needs of the marketplace, and provide a multiplicity of housing types, while at the same time serves to check that this flexibility is not abused.
The prescriptive design standards provide no mechanism for public input, no way to account for context, and no ability to depart from the code when site-specific conditions warrant. They are a cookie cutter formulation that establishes a set of prescriptions that can be copied from one project to the next. Projects that are well designed, sensitive to context, but don’t comply with the prescriptive standards go to the back of the line, while indifferent proposals get an automatic green light.
If these issues are important to you, I encourage you to come to the meeting, write to the council, & let your thoughts be known.
After tonight’s hearing – likely within the next few weeks – the committee and then the full council will vote on the proposal, which you can read along with lots of other information linked here. If you want to go to tonight’s hearing, which starts at 5:30 pm with a hearing on South Downtown Neighborhoods, it’s at 719 South King Street (map).
LATEST TOPLINES 10:30 PM: ****School updates – Seattle Public Schools all closed Tuesday; several more school changes here … Metro will be on snow routes again Tuesday and expecting some cancellations … West Seattle (high) Bridge *open* … **Low bridge now reported blocked westbound by bus trouble**. Alaskan Way Viaduct has reopened … Buses have taken HOURS to get to WS … 1st Ave S. Bridge open but having problems. Roxbury/Myers hill to/from 509 *slippery*. Highland Park Way closed. Admiral Hill miserable. SW Yancy “sheet of ice”; many other West Seattle roads, especially the hilliest, also having trouble – avoid driving. Seattle Public Library branches closed early (6 pm).
(Refresh for latest pic from WS Bridge camera, looking eastbound, and 1st Ave. S. Bridge cam, more on the WSB Traffic cams page)
FIRST UPDATE, 12:20 PM: It’s been snow-showery off and on all morning – our video is from about half an hour ago:
But both the National Weather Service‘s “winter storm warning” (in effect till 10 pm) and online forecaster Cliff Mass‘s latest dispatch suggest the worst could be yet to come. SDOT managers told the City Council in a morning briefing that 25 of their 30 trucks are already out and about – we spotted this one a short time ago in The Junction:
We’re launching the afternoon coverage now – thanks to everyone who shared road (etc.) reports in the morning edition. Note that most schools are letting out early – here’s the roundup of all the information we have. Also, many evening events have been canceled, such as programs at Seattle Parks community centers (full list of Parks facilities changes/cancellations, here). As for buses: Metro remains on snow routes (latest info here, and remember to sign up for alerts). Other road info: Here’s the city “Travelers’ Information Map.”
1:32 PM: While there’s something of a lull before the threatened blast of afternoon snow and wind – not to mention, commute information regardless of conditions – we’re publishing some other news – scroll BELOW this story on the WSB home page (this will be “stuck” to the top but newer news will appear beneath it). Here’s a video clip, by the way, shot by Danny Gawlowski from the Seattle Times (WSB partners) – brothers Michael and Anthony Dimitre building a little snowman south of The Junction:
2:37 PM UPDATE: The snow and the wind are picking up. (No new forecast likely till later this afternoon, but here’s the newest one, if you haven’t seen it.)
3:53 PM UPDATE: Commute in full swing, as is windblown snow. Multiple trouble reports coming in. The West Seattle Bridge westbound is said to be a trouble spot – we’ve got one report from Pauline, stopped in traffic: “Bridge seems to be iced over with lots of stalled cars- no one is able to get up the hill going west on bridge. Need sanding trucks or something!” One driver calls it “a sheet of ice.” Multiple vehicles stopped, according to another who passed by. This photo from Paul:
A different Paul reports northbound Delridge onramp to eastbound bridge is closed. Also, the Battery Street Tunnel is now having trouble, if you are north of downtown or have to head that way – SDOT reports it’s closed southbound. And we are hearing from bus riders downtown that there’s quite a wait.
4:25 PM UPDATE: Anything that’s a hill – avoid. Admiral now said to be a mess between bridge and viewpoint. Roxbury is having trouble in westbound – Todd reports a bus is blocking it. Also note the Columbia entrance to the southbound Viaduct downtown is reported closed. Sanding trucks are trying to get to the WS Bridge “to get it back open,” per scanner. The low bridge ALSO is reported blocked, bus and truck trouble, according to Rose, who sent this photo:
4:58 PM UPDATE: 1st Avenue South Bridge is reported open, but otherwise we’re hearing most routes are still in bad shape. Also just got word that the West Seattle Water Taxi is having some trouble – commenter says they’re going to try to see if a bigger boat will help deal with wind/dock.
5:09 PM UPDATE: Water Taxi now CANCELED for rest of the evening. Wind has just picked up where we are – remember that strong wind is forecast as well as snow/cold. Also – Alaskan Way Viaduct CLOSED both ways according to e-mail just in from city Emergency Services Center. Quick reminder: In addition to updating the Web, we are also posting updates (as are “friends”/”followers”) on Twitter (@westseattleblog) and Facebook (facebook.com/westseattleblog).
5:41 PM UPDATE: SDOT says high bridge open but slow going. The “live picture” atop our story here (from city traffic camera) would seem to validate that. A non-traffic note: Seattle Public Library branches are closing at 6 pm.
5:53 PM UPDATE: From Rob via Facebook – many have been asking about this route:
I just got home in arbor heights via 1st ave s bridge, 509, Roxbury. There were two semi trucks stuck on the bridge, squeezing it to 1 lane. After that there were many cars spun out on the hill up to Roxbury. They are all over the road and moving randomly, so a really dangerous situation unless you enjoy auto pinball. The hill is very slippery and it’s probably best everyone just stay away but if you must drive it make sure you know what you are doing.
He said the trip home from SODO took … two hours. Also note, surface streets aren’t in the best of shape either. WSB contributor Ellen Cedergreen just sent a photo of a spinout in The Junction, 42nd/ Alaska. Looks like everyone’s OK, but nerve-rattling.
6:11 PM UPDATE: From Rachel via e-mail:
Please post on updates that Admiral Hill is extremely dangerous right now, when I came down it at 5 pm there were at least 15 cars wiped out on the sides, and cars sliding everywhere. Very scary situation and I was in a truck but still sliding like crazy also.
We cannot stress enough – don’t go out unless it’s an emergency. Obviously a lot of people are just trying to get home, but once you’re there (and it’s taking some *hours*), please stay in. Also know that the “official” reports on major roads are not coming in consistently – so if something doesn’t have a live camera (see the Traffic page), we may not know its status for sure unless someone nearby comments on it. Road photos welcome, too; we have some “snow fun” shots from earlier that we will get into a gallery later, but right now the traffic/safety info is paramount.
6:37 PM UPDATE: Photo from less than an hour ago on low bridge – many people are said to be walking back to West Seattle from SODO (dangerous – wind chill! it’s really kicking up out there) and this is what they’re encountering – the pedestrian/bike part definitely open – thanks to Tomf2009 via Twitter:
6:54 PM UPDATE: Lights just blinked. Charge your smartphone if you have one. … Also just heard some SDOT discussion via the scanner: 42nd/Edmunds “a sheet of ice” (south of Jefferson Square Safeway). Has been said about many streets – we got a note that SW Yancy (between Avalon and Allstar Fitness) is in that same condition.
7:02 PM UPDATE: Bruce Butterfield (president of the Fauntleroy Community Association) posted on FB wall that the lower bridge IS MOVING.
7:32 PM UPDATE: Commenters are continuing to share updates on road and bus conditions. A long-suffering 54 ridership is apparently getting closer to home. Meantime, some other problems. Thanks to Mike Jensen for this photo of a tree down by VCA on California SW south of The Junction:
7:48 PM UPDATE: Some of the people walking from SODO have made it into Skylark Café (WSB sponsor), according to a comment from proprietor Jessie SK on the WSB Facebook Wall. Meantime, we checked with the City Light outage tracker, since the wind’s been up quite a while and many have reported flickers – so far, only two small outages in West Seattle, pockets in the north (see them here), although on a night like tonight – with temperatures already into the low 20s – even a 1-person outage is especially bad news. Back to the walkers – Kristina’s husband took this, walking up Highland Park Way:
Kristina says he saw at least 10 abandoned, stuck, or “trying to get unstuck” cars, some even in the bushes.
8:08 PM UPDATE: Hope Lutheran School parent says she got the call they’re closed tomorrow. We started a separate page with Tuesday school info – here’s the link. Also, Twitter note says a new problem blocking the low bridge westbound – stalled truck.
8:20 PM UPDATE: Now there are several small outages in northern West Seattle. Biggest one is along Admiral in Alki Mail vicinity – 145 homes/businesses, according to the City Light tracker.
8:30 PM UPDATE: Seattle Public Schools now canceled for Tuesday. More school info here (and we’ll continue updating that page as we get updates from private schools, Highline, Vashon, etc.). Also note – safety problems with some wires blown-down, 35th/Dakota is the latest report.
9:18 PM UPDATE: Metro will be on snow routes again Tuesday. Low bridge now having new trouble with a jack-knifed bus. We are hearing from more and more people who have been on buses for up to FIVE HOURS trying to get home to West Seattle. Here’s one pic we received of some of the earlier-reported walkers going across the low bridge:
We also have another tree down – Eric sent this photo of the tree at California/Walker:
9:48 PM UPDATE: More school closures – Seattle Lutheran and Northwest Montessori (all branches including West Seattle) also closed tomorrow. Go here for the full list of Tuesday school closure/delays reported so far. Also we’re inviting businesses to share word of changes – so far, The Little Gym of West Seattle is closed tomorrow, 8 Limbs Yoga in The Junction is canceling 6:30 and 11 am classes. Our favorite TV meteorologist, former Q13 co-worker Walter Kelley, says one more big band of snow will come through before 4 am – after that, the big problem foreseen is the ice.
10:22 PM UPDATE: From Bill Schrier, video of some of the bridge walkers:
They and the 4- to 6-hour bus ride endurers are the story of the night.
10:29 PM UPDATE: Metro contacted us to say that not only will they be on snow routing tomorrow, they are already certain there will be cancellations, so they’re urging people to stay home if they possibly can. Here’s their complete news release, including details on Access buses.
10:56 PM UPDATE: More school closures/delays – West Seattle Montessori/Academy, Explorer West Middle School closed, Highline Public Schools now closed, Holy Family expecting a one-hour delay. Also note that the Alaskan Way Viaduct is open and fairly clear – we just got a phone call from a long-ago co-worker who mentioned he had taken The Viaduct to The Bridge from Queen Anne within the past hour or so and made decent time.
Just so we have it all in one place separate from our snow stories:
ADDED 2:01 PM: South Seattle Community College closed at 2, no evening classes.
AS OF ORIGINAL PUBLICATION AT 12:19 PM (will be updated if there are more changes affecting TODAY’s school day/evening – we will create a separate story if there are any announcements for the next day):
Seattle Public Schools: All classes and other activities end at 12:35 pm today (they had originally announced that middle/high schools would dismiss at that time, then expanded it)
Vashon Public Schools started 2 hours late
Highline Public Schools – no change
Hope Lutheran, Holy Rosary, West Seattle Montessori – out at noon
Seattle Lutheran – out at 12:15 pm
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Explorer West – out at 12:30
Holy Family out “after lunch”
Shorewood Christian *no school today*
Tilden School “open as usual”
(If you are with a private school, we invite you to please add us to your formal notification list – we have been gathering this information somewhat piecemeal today; a few have notified us, a few of these are thanks to helpful parents! firstname.lastname@example.org)
Though the fire response in the 3200 block of 41st SW (map) wasn’t described as major when we checked it out about two hours ago (mentioned briefly in our morning snow coverage), the Seattle Red Cross now says it’s helping the residents, “providing assistance to six people which could include shelter, food, clothing and other immediate needs.” Meantime, SFD’s report isn’t final so we don’t have an official cause – WSB contributor Jason Grotelueschen went by the scene a while after we were there and was told it was in the attic; original call, per SFD’s Helen Fitzpatrick, was “wall fire.”
**NOTE: We’ve now started afternoon coverage – go here – thanks!**
(TOPLINES: *Winter Storm Warning now in effect till 10 pm* … Metro on snow routes. Seattle Public Schools is now ending ALL activities @ 12:35 pm (update from early am), Vashon School District 2 hours late, Explorer West out 12:35, Our Lady of Guadalupe out 12:30, Seattle Lutheran HS out 12:15, Hope Lutheran, WS Montessori and Holy Rosary out 12 noon, Shorewood Christian canceled. Continuing coverage below.)
(Refresh for latest pic from WS Bridge camera, looking eastbound, and Junction cam, more on the WSB Traffic cams page)
FIRST REPORT, 5:01 AM: Starting our morning weather/traffic watch: It’s snowing here in Upper Fauntleroy, and sticking. Remember that Metro already was planning to be on snow routing to start the day, in ALL areas. Please share info on what it looks like where you are. Here’s an iPhone pic of snow on car/road right outside:
It’s a thin layer, though, as of that 5:05 am photo.
BUS INFORMATION: Here’s the snow routing info from Metro (which reminds you to PLEASE sign up for alerts for your route/s and is advertising that fact here and on other media sources).
SCHOOL INFORMATION, ONGOING UPDATES: Seattle Public Schools says it will dismiss middle and high schools EARLY today, 12:35 pm, because of “the snow expected this afternoon.” (Update at 9:54 am – They’re now ending ALL activities at 12:35 pm.) Vashon Island School District is 2 hours late. (We’re checking on local independent schools, but direct reports are welcome – email@example.com – so far, Explorer West getting out at 12:35 pm, Seattle Lutheran HS out at 12:15 pm, West Seattle Montessori, Hope Lutheran, Holy Rosary out at noon, OLG out at 12:30, Holy Family dismissing after lunch, Shorewood Christian CANCELED.)
6 AM UPDATE: That’s California/Thistle near WSB HQ, photographed a few moments ago. Checked the depth on our car – about 1/4″. No road problems reported so far in our area but drive VERY carefully. Light-to-moderate snow still falling here, has been steady for at least an hour and a half.
6:20 AM UPDATE: Adding to the school information higher up in this story – Vashon is 2 hours late. Note that the forecast calls for more snow later; the Winter Weather Advisory is in effect till evening. From SDOT via Twitter:
Snow routes pre-treated overnight. Two pre-treatment trucks working on SR99 and West Seattle high rise now. Snow routes in solid condition.
6:50 AM UPDATE: From the mayor’s office:
With a winter weather advisory calling for snow throughout the day, Mayor Mike McGinn activated Seattle’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this morning. The EOC will remain open as needed to monitor weather conditions and provide support and coordination with city departments.
The winter weather advisory is calling for unusually strong winds, with sustained winds at 25 mph, and gusts up to 40 mph. Temperatures are expected to remain at or below freezing all day. Snow flurries will continue this morning with snow at times this afternoon and early evening.
7:02 AM UPDATE: Starting to get light, will wait till then for next photo. Snow much lighter than it was two hours ago. Still no notable trouble reported on any area roads.
7:27 AM UPDATE: And – the snow’s picking up again. We’re checking out a fire response around 41st/Hinds, “4 Red” so not a full house fire.
7:38 AM UPDATE: Explorer West Middle School will close at 12:35 pm, per Tanya via FB. Meantime, from Fauntlee Hills, Cheryl sends this view looking north on SW Trenton (including her neighbor’s “authentic train signal):
We’re not too far north of there, a little bit higher elevation, but much snowier here. New photo shortly. Yours are welcome too.
7:51 AM UPDATE: East Marginal is “not an option,” we’re hearing via cdawg 2610 on Twitter – took a long time. Also note that Fauntleroy ferry dock is slippery, per DLGordo on Twitter (see the “live camera” on the WSB Traffic page). Meantime, the photo immediately above was taken a few minutes ago looking north on California from Thistle (our HQ vicinity) – both arterials but starting to get some snow sticking on the surface despite ostensible earlier deicing. And here’s California looking southbound, just north of The Junction, taken about 20 minutes ago:
8:16 AM UPDATE: More reports of slippery roads (co-publisher Patrick took the north-of-Junction photo on the way back from checking 41st/Hinds call and he says the Charlestown vicinity was especially slippery). Thanks again to everyone sharing road and bus reports in the comments. After the commute, we will start adding non-snow news BELOW this story, since it’s programmed to stay atop the page (yes, there IS some non-snow news to talk about!). Meantime, Cathy shares this photo taken about 7:45 am from Upper Alki – they’ve got about half an inch so far:
8:32 AM UPDATE: SDOT says that as of 8 am, they were planning to send out snowplows as needed. Meantime, a couple scenes from Sunrise Heights; first from Ty, looking toward Westside School (WSB sponsor):
Ty has also posted an update on his neighborhood site Roxhill Rox. And via Facebook from Michelle – including the iconic cow-topped John’s Corner Deli, at 35th/Webster:
9:22 AM UPDATE: The snow’s back to falling more seriously. Very off-again, on-again. We have a beach-level photo of Alki, courtesy of Cami:
9:49 AM UPDATE: The National Weather Service has now issued a winter-storm warning for our area. Also, an UPDATE from Seattle Public Schools – they are now ending ALL activities for the day at 12:35 pm – no after-school activities, no conferences after 12:35, and as reported earlier, middle- and high-school classes are ending for the day at that point too. Also just in: Seattle Lutheran HS out at 12:15 pm, West Seattle Montessori out at noon. (added) Holy Rosary’s dismissing at noon, Our Lady of Guadalupe at 12:30.
10:23 AM UPDATE: Seattle City Council is in the middle of a prescheduled briefing on the city’s snow/ice response for the year. You can watch live on channel 21 or online at seattlechannel.org. Nothing new you hadn’t heard of before, but SDOT notes they currently have 25 of their 30 snow/ice/deice etc. trucks out, and they reiterate they are not clearing/deicing residential-only streets. SDOT official notes dryly, “We are the second hilliest city in the nation after San Francisco.” P.S. The snow here stopped almost the moment the “winter storm warning” came in.
11:11 AM UPDATE: And … the snow’s back. Pretty good shower (?) right now. Meantime, thanks to Sully for a photo from Westwood Village:
Sully also reports, “Parking lot looked really good. Rt. 21 snow shuttle running south of Roxbury, Arbor Heights loop.”
12:15 PM: We’ll be starting the afternoon story shortly – latest info will be there. (Update – here’s the link.)