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.