day : 19/01/2012 6 results

West Seattle snow/ice: Thursday-Friday overnight edition

(Stacy‘s snow sculpture on Pigeon Point, photographed by Mark)
11:04 PM: All the weather info we’ve heard/seen so far suggests what you see out your window now will still be there in the morning. How long till it melts? Estimates vary. Meantime, most students are off again tomorrow (the closure list is here) and Metro plans to at least start the day on snow routes. Others have it rougher than us – a quarter-million people without power elsewhere in Western Washington, but only a handful in West Seattle, from two tiny outages in Genesee and Westwood.

11:21 PM UPDATE: A big addition to the closure list for Friday – South Seattle Community College. We will collect business/organization/facility closures again for one more day, so please let us know about any of those, too.

Arroyos whale lives on, in upcoming display and in a new movie

Almost two years after a gray whale stranded and died off southwesternmost West Seattle, in The Arroyos (WSB coverage here), its legacy lives on in a multitude of ways. Here are updates on two. Above, Highline Community College‘s MaST Center is closer to displaying the whale’s skeleton; they hope to finish assembling it (a process that’s been under way in Tacoma) in time for a celebration in March. The recent photo of the assembly process was shared by Rus Higley from MaST.

Second – the Arroyos whale plays a bit part of sorts in a movie opening next month:

(Publicity photo, courtesy Universal Pictures)
“Big Miracle” is the new title for the Drew Barrymore movie about the effort in 1988 to rescue gray whales trapped in Arctic waters. The Los Angeles-based special-effects company that worked on the film, Rhythm and Hues, purchased high-resolution photos of the Arroyos whale from longtime WSB contributor Christopher Boffoli, using them, he explains,”as a source for their computer-generated whale textures.” So now you know, there’s a little bit of West Seattle in the movie that hits theaters February 3rd.

West Seattle development: Land-use approval for 3261 Avalon

(From the “design proposal” packet for the project’s Design Review Board meeting)
Once again tonight, we’re squeezing in a few non-weather stories before what’s likely to be one final (for now) round of overnight/morning coverage. The six-story, 120-apartment building planned at 3261 SW Avalon Way has won final approval for its land-use permit. The decision (read it here) was published in today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin. The project passed Design Review in July and November (here’s the final report), but this is the city Department of Planning and Development‘s final word, pending a two-week window for any appeal to be filed (here’s how). You can watch the permit toplines for the project on the city website, here.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Icy Thursday, pm updates

(LINKS: Friday school closures already coming in … Winter Weather Advisory till 4 am … Ongoing list of business/etc. closures/changes here … Morning coverage/comments, here)

(Photo by Meredith, looking cityward from the bridge over Fairmount Ravine)
1:24 PM: It’s a freezing rain/snow mix here right now. Afternoon updates are below. Thanks yet again to everyone for sharing photos, road reports, business closed/open updates, everything else to help your West Seattle neighbors through day two of weather woes!

(Latest bridge and Viaduct views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
1:44 PM UPDATE: Waiting to see if the National Weather Service will extend the “ice storm warning” past 2 pm, since this doesn’t appear likely to end any time soon. At noon, weather analyst Cliff Mass predicted at least several more hours, and explained why this wasn’t foreseen till it was almost upon us.

2:05 PM UPDATE: Definitely snow out there now. Traffic alert: SDOT says a crash in the northbound 99 lanes at the Battery St. Tunnel has those lanes all CLOSED. From the city emergency-ops center:

With ice and snow continuing to cause challenging travel conditions, the City of Seattle is encouraging people to get home before dark if possible. After dark, icy conditions may worsen and ice will become more difficult to see. Pedestrians should exercise caution – many sidewalks are icy, and there is danger of falling ice from trees, buildings and power lines.

Residents are discouraged from all but essential travel to help keep roads open and safe for emergency vehicles, transit and snow removal. Streets may appear bare and wet but may be covered with ice, which will be difficult to see after dark. Ice accumulation could lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches, a danger for both drivers and pedestrians.

The National Weather Service has now switched our area to a Winter Weather Advisory (read it here) – which insists that it will warm up late tonight and all this will end.

2:47 PM UPDATE: Still snowing steadily and in the “new accumulation” category. We’ve received official word that the fire-relief benefits for Teri Ensley and Furry Faces Foundation tonight ARE POSTPONED. They’ve just settled on the date – Sunday the 22nd. … Road-condition report: Illusions Hair Design (WSB sponsor) between The Junction and Morgan Junction took this photo after plowing/sanding crew went by a little while ago:

3:33 PM UPDATE: Josh sent this photo of the thick sheet of ice cleared off his wife’s car:

Co-publisher Patrick had the same results when he went out to make sure at least one of the official WSB vehicles is in ready-to-go mode if news breaks – almost an inch of ice. If your car has been parked outside your workplace etc. all day, you’ll need time to get it ready to go.

3:44 PM: “Wires down” call in South Delridge. Reportedly involving a tree, according to scanner traffic. … SDOT says (via FB) they are “utilizing truck drivers from a sister department and equipment from a vendor to augment resources for snow response.” … Another addition to our list of closures/changes – Pagliacci says it’s too dangerous to send delivery drivers out.

4:07 PM UPDATE: Seattle Public Schools just announced they’re closed Friday. (They have not announced official make-up-day plans, for those who have asked.) … Holy Rosary and Westside School, too. We’ll update the school-closure page momentarily. … Metro also says it will continue on snow routing tomorrow.

4:27 PM UPDATE: Vashon Island School District latest to announce it’s closed tomorrow.(added) Seattle Public Schools has added some info about their decisionmaking process re: makeup days:

Next Tuesday, Jan. 24 is a three-hour early dismissal from schools because of a scheduled furlough day. That day cannot be used as a snow make-up day. District administration will determine tomorrow if Friday, Jan. 27 – a scheduled day off for professional development – can be used as a snow make-up day.

And we’ve also heard from Explorer West Middle School, they’ll close. Here’s where we’re updating the FRIDAY school-closure list.

5:21 PM UPDATE: Highline Public Schools is now on the closure list too. Meantime, we’ve heard from some area restaurants that ARE open tomorrow. We appreciate hearing directly – e-mail, comments, Facebook, Twitter – so here’s who says they’re open: Kokoras Greek Grill, La Rustica, Skylark, Blackboard Bistro, Terrible Beauty, Cactus on Alki. Also have seen mentions by Feedback Lounge, Locol, West 5, that they’re open and serving food. (Added: Proletariat Pizza, Zippy’s Giant Burgers, Circa.) But only if you can get there safely! Traffic alert: 1st Avenue South and S. Dakota Street, there’s a serious crash (rollover) – heard it on the scanner, and it’s affecting traffic in that area. … Got a note from Fairmount Park saying they haven’t had mail delivery in 2 days. Anyone else?

6:15 PM: The 1st/Dakota crash is cleared, per SDOT. There’s helpful info, meanwhile, in this update from King County – please especially take the part about checking on older/sick neighbors to heart. Re: the outage advice, we have had almost no trouble with that here – but things could change as the weather changes later tonight:

King County would like residents to keep four main points in mind overnight tonight and into the morning hours:

1) Residents must avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping grills and generators outside.
2) Only call 9-1-1 if you need immediate help from police, fire, or medics. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report power outages or road conditions.
3) Stay indoors and away from ice covered trees and power lines to avoid hazards from falling debris.
4) Shelters and warming centers are available throughout the county.

1. Carbon monoxide warnings

You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but carbon monoxide poisoning can kill. Follow these tips to avoid accidental injury or death from carbon monoxide during a power outage or at any other time:

Only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents.
Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or carports.
Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly and without warning. Physical symptoms may include splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy and fatigue.

If you believe you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Call for medical help from a neighbor’s home. The Fire Department will tell you when it is safe to re-enter your home.

If you have a power outage, use safe ways to stay warm. Find places where you can go to get warm, such as the home of friends and family with power. Many cities have opened centers where people can go during the day to stay warm. Center locations can be found at

Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors. Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets. Everyone should try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.

Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they are elderly or if you think their power might be out. If you know someone who has lost electricity, invite them to your home to stay warm. Warn neighbors, friends, family and community groups about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keep 9-1-1 clear for emergencies

King County is currently experiencing a high volume of 9-1-1 calls that do not consist of actual emergencies. Only call 9-1-1 if you need immediate help from police, fire, or medics. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report power outages or road conditions.

Now to change the mood – thanks to whomever (on 51st SW, is all we saw) texted this photo:

6:46 PM UPDATE: Seattle Public Library says the system will open at 1 pm tomorrow.

8:05 PM UPDATE: Just added more photos to the “snow-bird” gallery, and we’re working on a few other things to publish before the overnight weather story, including a gallery with the day’s “fun” pix. First, an update from the city, starting with words of thanks from the mayor:

“Everyone has had a hand in helping respond to this winter storm,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “I want to thank city employees who are working around the clock, residents who are making smart travel choices and helping their neighbors, and the media for the great job they’re doing keeping the community informed and sharing safety information.”

According to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reports, traffic volumes were significantly down in the city Wednesday and Thursday. For instance, the morning peak commute around the 8 a.m. hour southbound on the Aurora Bridge dropped from about 4,300 vehicle trips per hour to around 600 trips.

SDOT crews will be working through the night to remove snow and ice on major arterials and apply anti-icing solution.

West Seattle ‘snow birds’: A photo gallery of their own


When we mentioned receiving so many bird photos during the snow/ice storm that they seemed to merit their own gallery, that drew some positive response – so we’re launching it now, between morning/afternoon coverage, and will continue adding to it. Top photo is Mark Wangerin‘s male Anna’s Hummingbird; next, a beautiful owl whose photo was tweeted by Illusions Hair Design (WSB sponsor) last night:

Beautiful – and of course the bigger birds can be deadly too. Sherman’s Corner posted this next one on Facebook, looking to ID this bird that suddenly swooped down and killed a pigeon in the back yard:

Taught well by WSB birders, we guessed Cooper’s Hawk. Were we correct?

ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: Suzanne has shared some wonderful photos. First one we’re featuring – a flicker (type of woodpecker, if you didn’t already know that):

Danny McMillin photographed this bald eagle on Monday near Alki Point:

On our snowy Sunday (seems so long ago!), Satom photographed Steller’s Jays with blooming witch hazel (thanks to Toni Reineke for forwarding the photo):

These crows were photographed by Emily Austin:

And here, courtesy of Mark Dale, is an American Robin:

AND MORE: Many hummingbirds. From Monica and Lisa:

Another bird from Mark Wangerin – this time a spotted towhee:

Plus one more from Suzanne, a fox sparrow:

Christina says her Khaki Campbell ducks were not pleased by the weather:

13-year-old Helen caught a group of robins:

Katie declared these to be robin tracks:

And we’re going to end with a bird-related sight: Beautifully iced chicken wire, from Brian Allen:

Thanks AGAIN to everyone who has shared photos, of birds and kids and iced plant stems and stuck buses and snowpeople and so much more. Sorry we couldn’t publish every single one … but don’t stop!

West Seattle weather: Ice storm warning; other Thurs. a.m. updates

(TOPLINES: Ice-storm warning extended till 2 pm … Non-school closures/changes, including all libraries & Seattle Parks facilities, here … Keep scrolling down for frequent updates; we’ll launch afternoon coverage by 1 pm)

(Latest bridge and Viaduct views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
An “ice storm warning” is this morning’s big news so far – with more freezing rain, resulting in conditions more dangerous than “just snow.” Here’s the National Weather Service warning.

SCHOOL CLOSURES: Once again today, just about every school is closed; South Seattle Community College has made its announcement too. Here’s the list.

OTHER CLOSURES/CHANGES: Seattle Public Library has announced its facilities are all closed because of the weather. Sea-Tac Airport is reporting delays. Seattle Public Utilities says NO residential pickup, limited commercial pickup. We’ll continue adding other government/business/etc. closures/changes to this list as we get them.

TRANSIT: Metro is again chained up and on snow routes with some cancellations – check here.

ONGOING UPDATES – STARTING AT 6:46 AM: In comments on the overnight roundup, “Smokey Cretin” has words of warning: You might have a LOT of ice on your windshield – and don’t do anything drastic like dumping hot water on it, “unless you want to buy a new windshield.” But the top-level advice is beyond that – PLEASE stay home if you possibly can. There’s no official word so far of road closures, but we’re monitoring all public communications channels, and things COULD change fast.

7:11 AM UPDATE: In comments, LyndaB reports the bridge was “slushy” this past hour but OK. Power outages could be a problem if too much ice builds up on lines – so if anything you really need isn’t fully charged, you might consider plugging it in before it’s too late. Just announced – no residential trash (etc.) pickup in Seattle today.

7:51 AM UPDATE: Crews are going to a reported downed/burning tree in far southeast WS, possibly related to power wires. No word of outages in our area (we’re watching the map) but lots of flickers.

8:11 AM UPDATE: Just ventured briefly outside. Serious ice on vehicles. Everything crunchy underfoot. You can hear the freezing rain as it falls. Windshield photo above (THICK ice, on car hood too). Video:

Listen to the crunch of the snow – and if you listen close, the freezing rain falling. Toward the end of the minute-long clip, you can see the ice coating plant stems.

On KING 5 just now, SDOT’s Rick Sheridan told Tracy Taylor that they have one plow devoted EXCLUSIVELY to the high bridge – no major problems reported currently either there or on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. (See live cams above.)

9:20 AM UPDATE: Just heard Linda from Metro mention “significant delays” for buses in some areas – another good reason not to go out if you don’t have to. ALSO – Seattle Parks has just announced, community centers/pools are closed today.

9:58 AM UPDATE: Bus stuck in the 4700 block of 35th SW per scanner, and other traffic may not be able to get around it. Continuing to add to the changes/closures list – Seattle Chinese Garden is the latest – adding businesses too. That includes restaurants. One restaurant is trying something inventive – via Facebook, Tuscan Tea Room Bistro in The Junction says that while its cooks are stuck and can’t come in, they’re offering free pots of tea 11 am-3 pm. (Tea-accompanying treats will cost you, of course, but the tea is free.) Meantime, Mike Jensen sent this photo of a downed tree in his Seaview-area neighborhood:

Tree damage is a distinct hazard in ice storms, as branches get weighed down – if you have to be outside, be very careful, for trouble above as well as underfoot!

10:12 AM UPDATE: Ice-storm warning extended till 2 pm. Metro bus trouble in at least two spots – stuck buses reported on 35th by The Mount (via scanner) and on California SW heading up Gatewood hill (via e-mail). (added) Twitter also reveals one stuck on 35th near Morgan.

11:11 AM UPDATE: And Tami sends the shot of bus trouble at 35th/Roxbury. We also have a general road-condition photo courtesy of Kate, on California SW looking south from Spokane:

Also some ice photos coming in, like this one from Diane in Westwood:

If you’re waiting for updates on Sea-Tac after the morning runway closures – KING 5 just reported a second runway is now open.

11:57 AM UPDATE:
In the next hour or so, we will launch afternoon coverage, but this’ll keep going till then. We’re also working on the “snow bird” gallery, thanks for the photos! Also still adding to non-school closure/change list, hearing from more businesses and organizations – latest, ArtsWest canceling tonight’s show.

1:19 PM: Just started the snow bird gallery. Afternoon coverage next. Buses stuck on 35th in various spots – that’s the latest trouble we’ve heard of. And it seems to be a little more SNOW than frozen rain here in Upper Fauntleroy right now …