West Seattle snow: Late-night forecast updates; storm arrives

(Thanks to Eileen for the photo – milk section got a little bare in Jefferson Square Safeway!)
Both late-night forecast updates are in, and here’s the summary:

*NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICEPotentially 4 to 8 inches in Seattle.
*CLIFF MASS More like 2 to 4 inches in Seattle.

Many schools already have announced closures for tomorrow (here’s the updated list). Metro buses remain on snow routes, with some cancellations. More to come.

(Photo added 3:10 am, looking north on California SW from SW Thistle)
2:50 AM UPDATE: It’s been snowing steadily since 2 or so, according to our weather spotter here at HQ – very fine, though, right now, not those big fluffy flakes. It’s sticking, too. And SDOT has just sent its first advisory of the morning:

A light snow is beginning to fall in south and West Seattle. As the much anticipated winter storm makes its arrival, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is out in full force ensuring the roadways are safe for travel, especially bus and emergency vehicle routes. Ready for whatever comes, the department has deployed 30 plow trucks for clearing major arterials and four tanker trucks are applying anti-icer to elevated roadways and known trouble spots along the snow route network. Motorists are urged to help out by making way for the snow response trucks.

Drivers area also advised to use added caution on Seattle’s many hills and bridges. For up-to-date information on SDOT’s response activities and roadway conditions, please visit: seattle.gov/transportation/winterweather.htm . Motorists can also check on current traffic conditions and roadway images on SDOT’s Traveler’s Map at web5.seattle.gov/travelers .

SDOT reminds property owners that they are responsible for clearing snow and ice off sidewalks adjacent to their properties.

111 Replies to "West Seattle snow: Late-night forecast updates; storm arrives"

  • Patrick January 17, 2012 (10:16 pm)

    Interesting development for those of you who think snow is not going to be an issue for us. I just checked observations in and around the Portland, Ore. area and their temp has dropped about a degree every 20 mins since 6 pm and most if not ALL locations from rough;y Oregon city north to DDT Portland are reporting snow with DT Portland over 1 inch in the last hour. Now this is important because the NWS office in Portland JUST this afternoon was calling for a low of 37F and rain and now the mesoscale models are indicating that precip rates increase in the central sound thus increasing snow amounts respectively. Snow is already being reported in Olympia and IR ( infrared ) and WV ( Water vapor ) imagery support this and thus is an indication that precip is moving into the area rapidly thus busting the initial time frame of snow starting in the 3-5 am time frame and now it appears that many locations from Tacoma north may not get out of the upper 20s for highs on Thursday. In any event, snow is on the way, amounts look to be higher but NOT on the order of 10+ inches in Seattle and then very cold.

  • carole January 17, 2012 (10:22 pm)

    Per family in salem or big fat snowflakes coming down

  • D1 January 17, 2012 (10:30 pm)

    I really think the forecast is gonna change as the storm gets going! Or maybe im just hoping so!

  • Corra January 17, 2012 (10:33 pm)

    Who are you, Patrick? Some type of snow angel.

  • GreatSoFar January 17, 2012 (10:44 pm)

    We’ll see about that… In the meantime, I will stay home with my daughter and hope to get some actual “education” done. Would’ve preferred an experienced teacher for this…

  • Noelle January 17, 2012 (10:50 pm)

    I Love Snow Days and everything, but there was no new snow today in West Seattle. There was a little hale that I saw, but nothing big. Back when I was in school, the Snow Day Gods made “The Call” in the morning. As kids we would be in our jammies, Hopeful like Christmas Morning, wanting our school’s name to pop on TV! THAT was the start of s SNOW DAY! Why make the call today? Where is the fun in that?

  • Teddy January 17, 2012 (11:03 pm)

    FWIW, on 10 p.m. newscast, Jeff Renner also scaling back snowfall total … Just 2″ for Seattle on Wed. That’s down from the 3″ he was predicting at 5 p.m.

  • Patrick January 17, 2012 (11:11 pm)

    @ Corra, I am not a Snow Angel, but I am a very resourceful and well educated man.

  • SJ2 January 17, 2012 (11:12 pm)

    And that makes you a snow angel, Patrick. Thanks!

  • Patrick January 17, 2012 (11:22 pm)

    @ Corra, You’re very welcome

  • D1 January 17, 2012 (11:26 pm)

    @Patrick,You got the other model runs in?

  • Patrick January 17, 2012 (11:36 pm)

    @ D1 it now looks like the snow totals will have to be bumped up yet again after being reduced as moisture is now over-spreading the area and as I mentioned earlier, Portland is getting snow and now heavy snow. As of interest to some, the NWS office in Portland has admitted their forecasting failure and has upgraded the entire Portland metro area from a winter weather advisory to a winter storm warning for total storm accumulations of 4-8 inches. Also, looking at IR and WV, the moisture plume offshore is saturated and looking at precipitable water eqiv. it looks like the heaviest snowfall occurs during the coldest part of the day and the snow boundary being from Seattle North – South is now being extended PAST Everett which bodes well and means more snowfall, likely on the order of somewhere ( and this is MY best guess not to e confused with NWS Seattle ) of 5-9 inches for most of the Puget Sound area.

  • DJ Allyn January 17, 2012 (11:36 pm)

    I keep hearing that THIS snow storm will rival that of the storm in 1969. Unlike most people around these parts, I remember that storm.

    This is NOT going to be a repeat.

    At best you can expect the usual 2-4 inches. It will be a mess for a day — mostly because there are too many people around here who can barely drive in the rain, let alone the snow. THOSE are the dangers we have to deal with.

  • SM January 17, 2012 (11:37 pm)

    Looking at the radar…snow should be here soon! Just hitting Tacoma. How will we just get 2″!?

  • Alex January 17, 2012 (11:38 pm)

    I like the picture of all the milk gone. I don’t get it though, why would fearful shoppers stock up on milk? That’s the one thing I’d think you don’t need in a storm. I drink milk at a steady rate, the same amount every day. The fact there’s snow tomorrow isn’t going to make me drink more… I’d think they would stock up on dinner foods, so I wasn’t surprised to see the store low on ground beef.

    • WSB January 17, 2012 (11:44 pm)

      Alex, it might be regional. Eileen noted that where she used to live back east, people just made sure they were stocked up on beer!

  • D1 January 17, 2012 (11:48 pm)

    Yeah it says its snowing in olympia. If not tacoma to.

  • D1 January 17, 2012 (11:57 pm)

    Thanks for the updates Patrick!

  • Patrick January 17, 2012 (11:59 pm)

    @ D1 No problem buddy

  • Elizabeth January 17, 2012 (11:59 pm)

    It’s still bone dry in the Admiral Junction… I’ve been hearing about this massive storm for so long that I’m kind of getting impatient.

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (12:14 am)

    Snow is almost to Seattle!

  • csj January 18, 2012 (12:24 am)

    Bring it on!!!! Thanks, Patrick for sending me to bed more hopeful about the potential to justify the snowday! @Noelle, my memories of snowdays were just as yours and I think the “old-fashioned way” was much more exciting except you had to do your homework either way:-)!

  • SSF January 18, 2012 (12:26 am)

    Patrick and WSB you guys are the best. TV doesn’t really tell me much of what is going on in the neighborhood. I’m hoping for several inches after all this waiting.

  • Patrick January 18, 2012 (12:32 am)

    Here is what the Portland area looks like right now



  • Kim January 18, 2012 (12:39 am)


  • Patrick January 18, 2012 (12:41 am)

    And here is the Olympia airport 3 minutes ago


  • Admiral Lady January 18, 2012 (12:43 am)

    YIKES!!! Here it comes!!!

  • MikeRussellFoto January 18, 2012 (12:52 am)

    Looking like it will be here (at least in N. Admiral) within the half hour. That’s my prediction based on this. http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/

    Weather Underground also has a few of the cool model maps that Patrick has been referencing. Not all of them, but it’s kinda fun to play around with them.

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (1:05 am)

    That is awesome!

  • Tim January 18, 2012 (1:06 am)

    I think Cliff Mass dowmplayed this one a bit. I’ve been tracking the radar and it’s going to be big!!

  • Patrick January 18, 2012 (1:10 am)

    Well, I am not in Seattle for this snow I am in Edmonds and it’s already starting to snow here so it HAS to be snowing in Seattle by now.

  • MikeRussellFoto January 18, 2012 (1:13 am)

    Huh, weird. I’m in West Seattle (N. Admiral), and have seen just one or two stray flakes. Perhaps what’s in Edmonds is a leftover from earlier? (I am definitely NO expert, just love major weather “events”.) :)

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (1:20 am)

    Nothing yet!

  • Patrick January 18, 2012 (1:20 am)

    @ MikeRussellFoto, What I’m likely seeing here in Edmonds is enhancement of precip forming ahead of the main precip shield but one thing is certain the snow is here and here to stay, All Day.

    And here are a few more cam views to get everyone in the mood.

    SR-16 @ Tacoma Narrows

    I-5 & Hwy 101 in Olympia

    Centralia Airport

    I-205 in Vancouver (wa )

  • ripper January 18, 2012 (1:26 am)

    *chugs milk*

  • Kevin January 18, 2012 (1:27 am)

    Check out this WSDOT cam at the junction of I-5 and Hwy 18.
    Or… take a look at the King 5 animated 60 mile radar. Almost to Burien at 01:25
    I would guess perhaps 02:00 just like one of the earlier forecasts suggested.
    SURPRISE! – Already seeing tiny flakes starting in Arbor Heights! 01:35

  • Admiral Lady January 18, 2012 (1:28 am)

    Just looked out my deck, looking south… snow clouds REALLY moving in now… Anticipation!!

  • Cc January 18, 2012 (1:28 am)

    Waiting in admiral

  • Patrick January 18, 2012 (1:29 am)

    HEY @ Lady, hope you’re ready for a very snowy and beautiful early morning, Enjoy!

  • chiwaw January 18, 2012 (1:29 am)

    I’m in Redmond, and nothing yet as of 1:30am. Crossing fingers for a snow day from work tomorrow :-D

  • wsguy January 18, 2012 (1:30 am)

    Here’s hoping for some snow soon !!!

    Original WSB WSGUY

  • Traci January 18, 2012 (1:30 am)

    I can’t sleep, too excited!

  • Arbor Hghts Dude January 18, 2012 (1:32 am)

    Just looked at the doppler…..It’s here….

  • ws parent January 18, 2012 (1:32 am)

    I am excited too!!! Keep looking!!!

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (1:33 am)

    starting to snow very light in west seattle!

  • Admiral Lady January 18, 2012 (1:33 am)

    @ Patrick – you talking to me? oh yea, I have a 9am conf call for work… probably should get some sleep considering I’ve been up since 6am for work… But I love a good storm and am now waiting… :-)

  • Elizabeth January 18, 2012 (1:36 am)

    Still waiting here too. And still nothing. I keep looking out the window, to see it (I’m from the Midwest and I do kind of miss it,) and there’s nothing :(

  • Patrick January 18, 2012 (1:36 am)

    @ Lady, Yea, I’m talking to you :)

  • Tim January 18, 2012 (1:37 am)

    There is something in the human psyche that loves a good storm. I’d like to know the evolutionary reasons behind it, and not just the usual survival stuff.

  • Patrick January 18, 2012 (1:38 am)

    Folks, IT IS COMING, I promise you

  • Kim January 18, 2012 (1:40 am)

    @Tim–agreed. The stuff of theses.
    Go, Patrick!

  • MikeRussellFoto January 18, 2012 (1:43 am)

    Yep, I’m from the Midwest, too. I definitely miss storms (both the thunder and snow varieties).

  • Neighborly January 18, 2012 (1:43 am)

    Nothing happening yet in Seaview. I really hope to get enough for cross-country skiing out my front door!

  • MB January 18, 2012 (1:45 am)

    I will peacefully go to sleep when I see the first flake. I’m so excited :) I know its coming!! storms are fun, wish we could have thunder and lightening at the same time as the snow!

  • Elizabeth January 18, 2012 (1:48 am)

    Oh yes. Those Midwest roofshaking thunderstorms were just spectacular. However, I could have done without the tornadoes…

    And… still nothing. I’m really hoping this doesn’t amount to a few flakes and a frozen puddle…

  • MB January 18, 2012 (1:55 am)

    Starting to think if I don’t go to bed it’ll never come. Just like Santa!

  • Admiral Lady January 18, 2012 (1:57 am)

    Ok Patrick! :-) Stil waiting in North Admiral. I think I’ll check out my deck again…

  • Traci January 18, 2012 (1:58 am)

    Oh! Seeing the first flakes in N. Admiral! @Admiral Lady, we need a good gust of wind to blow them to your house :)

  • Elizabeth January 18, 2012 (2:01 am)

    I saw half a dozen a few minutes ago. Teeny little flakes that I wouldn’t have even noticed if the floodlights from across the street didn’t highlight them.

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (2:05 am)

    Light Snow in the highland park area!

  • MikeRussellFoto January 18, 2012 (2:09 am)

    The northern border of the storm has not moved much in the last half hour (at least according to the radar. It’s like it got to White Center and stopped.

    Really wanted to see some serious flakes before heading to bed. Might be resigning to just waking up to them.

  • JayD January 18, 2012 (2:22 am)

    So all we’ve learned from this whole encounter is how irrelevant and unimportant meteorologists and “weathermen” really are. I wish any industry I have ever worked in required the level of competency the weather folks require. Especially when you can just change your predictions/accuracy every hour. Guess what? I can look out the window and observe the same thing you are, only I’m not cashing the paycheck. What a joke.

    And Cliff Mass’s closing blurb in his blog is a bit self-righteous. Weird, that consumers (viewers) would expect accuracy and commitment to a prediction you made (and are now changing) just hours ago? If you can’t do your job within a slight level of efficiency, either someone else should, or nobody should.

  • Kevin January 18, 2012 (2:25 am)

    @Mike – I think I will be off to bed too. Nice to get some sleep while things are still developing.
    The cars do have a “dusting” of snow at the moment.

  • ripper January 18, 2012 (2:25 am)

    0mg here it comes!

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (2:38 am)

    snow has picked up in highland park! steady snow

  • Elizabeth January 18, 2012 (2:39 am)

    It has started snowing lightly in the Admiral district. Finally.

  • Traci January 18, 2012 (2:41 am)

    Bedtime for me too, I’m starting to hallucinate. It’s been fun to read this thread tonight everybody!

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (2:43 am)

    teeny tiny snow flakes starting in Admiral

  • wsguy January 18, 2012 (2:49 am)

    Just started snowing in Seaview

    Original WSB wsguy

  • Kim January 18, 2012 (2:50 am)

    Alki has light snow!

  • FredT January 18, 2012 (2:52 am)

    Snowing at Chief Sealth HS in West Seattle.. :)

  • Delridge Chick January 18, 2012 (2:57 am)

    Light snow coming down near Delridge & Holden!

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (3:04 am)

    streets are white again in south Admiral, getting a bit snowier

  • Tired Mama January 18, 2012 (3:11 am)

    I would’ve missed seeing it start to fall here near 35th and Morgan if my baby hadn’t decided to wake me up! It’s beautiful out there.

  • caphilldude January 18, 2012 (3:11 am)

    ill eat a shoe if we actually get any real snow

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (3:14 am)

    it’s here; no big flakes yet, but much snowier and city now completely covered in snow cloud

  • mookie January 18, 2012 (3:14 am)

    3:14 a.m. Snowing and sticking well in the Alaska Junction. FINALLY.

  • Andy January 18, 2012 (3:22 am)

    Small flakes with a dusting of accumulation in SODO at 3:20am. Started A little before 3am.

  • Cami January 18, 2012 (3:33 am)

    Tiny flakes on Alki. Sticking to the pavement but not the lawn. YAWN.

  • ripper January 18, 2012 (3:40 am)

    About .5″ so far here in High Point.

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (3:48 am)

    south Admiral sidewalks, streets, cars, covered in white; grass halfway covered; Cami, if you don’t get more on Alki, you can always come up the hill; we’re getting plenty

  • DY January 18, 2012 (3:58 am)

    Around 1/4 of inch on Alki. Such a beautiful snowfall, everything is sparkling like diamonds!

  • LAzySunday January 18, 2012 (4:03 am)

    No snow in Houston!

  • Terry January 18, 2012 (4:07 am)

    Sunny and hot again in North Admiral!

  • Paula T January 18, 2012 (4:10 am)

    The hubs is leaving for work. 44th & Charlestown to DT. Cross your fingers… Morning, Tracy!

  • ScottA January 18, 2012 (4:19 am)

    I usually would stay awake waiting for the first flakes and then it’s hard to not stay up or even go for a walk when it starts sticking. So glad I went to bed and could still relive the moments by reading comments. Thanks everyone! Now I might go for a walk but at least I got some sleep.

  • Ken January 18, 2012 (4:54 am)

    Light snow (powder) started in HighPoint at 2:38.

    radar and satt look like the the front is heading a bit more north of where it was forecast so there is no snow shadow now.

    I am working on my sidewalk now.

  • HelperMonkey January 18, 2012 (4:59 am)

    Snowing in Arbor Heights, at least 1″ on the car and still coming down, small flakes. While Mother Nature seems to have backed up her threat for now, it hardly looks like Snowpocalypse out there. We’ll see what it looks like around 7 am though!

  • SSF January 18, 2012 (4:59 am)

    We live on 35th @ camp long and good amount of snow so far. Cars on 35th heading north seem to be doing just fine though watched for 30 seconds and didn’t see a singele car heading south Snow plow just went by heading northbound. Safe travels.

  • Cls January 18, 2012 (5:26 am)

    Finally! I was beginning to think someone was crying wolf.

  • janvp January 18, 2012 (5:29 am)

    About one inch on the ground in lower Fauntleroy. Snowmaggedon?

  • petert January 18, 2012 (5:33 am)

    Coming down since 0230 in the 5900 block of Beach Drive. Looks to be about almost an inch accumulated so far. Have seen 2 cars going northward, coming up Beach Drive from the Atlas bend, and they seemed to be doing OK, but no one else. Not even the SeaTimes paper delivery folks, at least yet. Waiting for the first #37 of the day to go by…

  • Pman January 18, 2012 (5:41 am)

    Looks like 1-2 on the ground in Gatewood. Nothing coming down. Anyone know when the next batch is supposed to come?

  • Sally January 18, 2012 (5:46 am)

    Sitting here in Key West, with the sun shining warm temps, but thinking of all our family and friends in and around West Seattle. Drive safe and hope you all don’t get as much as has been alluded to.

  • Tony January 18, 2012 (5:47 am)

    Snowing as of 545am in High Point. About 1″ of dry powder on the ground. Wax your skis and boards. Drive safe. Stay warm.

  • Trileigh January 18, 2012 (5:50 am)

    Pman – that’s funny; down the hill here by Lincoln Park, it’s snowing hard. Maybe 1-2″ on the ground, looks to build up fast. C’mon snow!

  • JasonG January 18, 2012 (5:54 am)

    Still coming down moderately in Admiral, just over 1″ of dry flakes so far.

    • WSB January 18, 2012 (5:57 am)

      We’ll be launching a morning report within 10 minutes or so. Since the snowflakes are so small, it doesn’t appear to have built up too much depth in the past three hours.

  • A January 18, 2012 (6:07 am)

    Husband has been waiting for thee 120 for over an hour with a group of others. OneBusAway keeps reporting it, and has reported three times that it was approaching. It has apparently not shown up any of those times.

  • petert January 18, 2012 (6:23 am)

    Just saw what I think was the 5:50 #37 going north on Beach Drive at a snail’s pace, flashers on, etc. Went by at about 12 after 6, so it looks like 20 minutes late or so…

    I didn’t see the earlier bus (5:32), unless this was it.

  • redblack January 18, 2012 (6:41 am)

    caphilldude: how does that loafer taste this morning? :)

  • always confused January 18, 2012 (6:59 am)

    My office closed for the day…we NEVER close. It is a sign. STAY HOME!!!!! Oh, and during my childhood on the east coast, I learned that big fluffy snowflakes were usually a sign the storm was coming to an end. Beware of these little flakes folks! It’s just starting!

  • happywalker January 18, 2012 (7:03 am)

    angry much JayD @2:22am

  • sam-c January 18, 2012 (7:05 am)

    finally ! it snowed. was glad to see it when I woke up. didn’t want to get worked up for nothin

  • JW January 18, 2012 (7:23 am)

    Caught 54x at 7:15 ON Fauntleroy & Juneau. Had also just missed one at 7:00. Driver stopping at all stops where people waiting even if not a regular stop.

  • MB January 18, 2012 (7:50 am)

    JAYD I hope you feel like an ass. and CAPHILGUY did you want that shoe medium rare or well done?

  • Rosanne January 18, 2012 (8:12 am)

    If you have a baby or a kid—–you cannot run out if milk! I stocked up on milk as well, it’s a basic staple in our house, especially with a toddler :)

  • yo January 18, 2012 (8:25 am)

    Patrick, thank you so much for keeping us posted. Any updates/predictions for tomorrow?

  • JayD January 18, 2012 (10:36 am)

    @MB why would I feel like an ass? Because the A) dice roll or B) changed-last-minute prediction was right?

  • Ajax January 18, 2012 (1:33 pm)

    @JayD – Finally, a voice of reason! Meterologists should make a forecast 3-5 days out and stick with it no matter what the new data reflects. They should do this with all weather – tornados, hurricanes, floods, etc. Better yet, we could just get rid of them and consult the Farmer’s Almanac and whatever we observe out our windows.

  • JayD January 18, 2012 (2:33 pm)

    @Ajax. THANKS! Exactly what I’m saying! At 2am I looked out my window and it was clear and dry. 3 hours later I looked out and snow was starting to fall. I say to my wife “looks like it’s going to snow”, and then it did. Crazy to think that “professionals” are cashing checks by beating me to the punch by a couple of hours (after blowing it the night before). Woooo!

Sorry, comment time is over.