West Seattle snow: Wednesday pm updates – roads, weather, closures

(TOPLINES: Seattle, Highline, Vashon school districts closed Thurs. (new list of Thurs. closures, here) … today/tonight’s non-school closures/changes here … snow-fun photo gallery here)

1:01 PM: The classic song “With a Little Help from My Friends” might be today’s theme song.

Above, Suzanne shared the photo of a stuck U.S. Postal Service truck getting help on the Barton hill in Fauntleroy from her husband, among others; below, tweeted by PCTheGov, a Metro bus getting a tow from alongside Capco Plaza at 42nd/Alaska:

Speaking of buses, the 54 is back on its full route. Meantime – it’s been snowing for 11 hours — still very small flakes – and we keep hearing it’s going to stop any minute now.

1:49 PM: The snow is lighter now. The forecast continues to include a chance of snow off and on through tomorrow, but after that, by all accounts, it’s rain, and much warmer. Above, a look at Delridge/Juneau, courtesy of Sage K. We’ll include mostly informational photos – road conditions/challenges, for example – in this coverage, but we also are continuing to add to a gallery of snow-fun shots – see it here.

2:33 PM UPDATE: Looking ahead to the commute home – if you had to go to work (and some didn’t – we have heard the figure cited that the area traffic has been about a third of normal today) – remember that the 2nd/Columbia bus stop downtown is not served during snow-route operations (3rd/Spring instead). On the roads, West Seattle Be Prepared relays the report that Pigeon Point has pretty much gone unplowed today. Jen tells us Arbor Heights is mostly unplowed and Roxbury is slushy. JayDee spotted a snow-removal crew near The Junction, Oregon/Glenn:

SDOT has just sent its afternoon overview:

Seattle deployed a fleet of 30 plows, de-icing trucks, and graders to remove snow from approximately 750 miles of priority roadways in the city today. Residents are discouraged from traveling to help keep roads open and safe for emergency vehicles, transit and snow removal.

Road crews continue to focus on plowing and salting major arterials and transit routes for emergency vehicles and buses. If you must drive, be prepared with tire chains, warm clothes and sturdy footwear. Be aware of the potential for icy or slippery conditions.

On residential streets, residents should be cautious about accumulated ice and snow which will not clear until temperatures rise above freezing for an extended period.

Melting snow can overwhelm storm drains by filling them with ice, leaves and accumulated street debris. Clogged drains can result in flooding and hazardous road conditions. In Seattle, there are about 80,000 storm drains — far more than city crews can clear quickly. Residents are asked to clear storm drains on their streets if it can be done safely.

Please use caution if sledding today. In 1989, a 12 year old girl was killed in a sledding accident in Magnolia. Discovery Park, Camp Long, Carkeek Park and Seward Park are open for snow play.

Businesses and residents are reminded to keep their sidewalks clear to help pedestrians walk safely. Pedestrians should be cautious on snow or ice covered surfaces.

3:20 PM UPDATE: If you had been planning on attending a meeting, going out to dinner, etc., tonight, check our list of closures/changes, which has grown through the day – not necessarily all-inclusive, but we’ve listed everything that’s been called to our attention or that we’ve seen mentioned online. We’re also awaiting any early decisions on tomorrow’s school schedules – and will add them here when word comes in.

4:31 PM: Seattle Public Schools just announced, no school tomorrow.

4:41 PM: Vashon has canceled school for tomorrow too. We’ve started a new story listing Thursday closures – find it here; we’ll update it through the night and into the morning.

5:05 PM: We’re monitoring scanner, TV, and multiple other sources for potential commute problems. None so far. Took the photo above at the nearby corner of California/Thistle, much clearer than it was earlier – and moments later, another plow went by, headed eastward on Thistle (the photo looks north on Calif.). Side streets that haven’t been extensively driven, though, are still snow-covered.

5:32 PM: We’re starting to get some Thursday non-school closures too. We’ll continue to add them to this list of non-school facilities/businesses/etc. closures/changes started earlier today, since some of those are still in effect. Some restaurants, for example, are closing early. (If you’re looking for numbers to call before going out – the WSB Restaurant Guide might help.)

6:31 PM: An apparent weather casualty – that sign at the already-worrisome 47th/Admiral intersection, photographed by Beth Stone. Whether you are walking, driving, or riding tomorrow, ice is the new concern, as freezing rain is falling now, and freezing atop the layer of existing snow. Arterials get salt; side streets are left to their own devices. The major warmup isn’t expected for another 24 hours or so. Meantime, school closures keep coming in – Westside is the latest.

7:31 PM: And, not too much later, several others – all listed here. We will be starting an evening weather report by 8:30 or so, but are working on a few other things – non-snow news, plus more photo gallery additions – in the meantime.)

91 Replies to "West Seattle snow: Wednesday pm updates - roads, weather, closures"

  • JayDee January 18, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel seemed a little miffed when he described the snow as “Snizzle” ;-)

    • WSB January 18, 2012 (1:16 pm)

      Snizzle? Excellent. Nonetheless, we have four inches worth out there. If it had been heavy big-flake snow for 11 hours, we’d have a foot! – TR

  • saney January 18, 2012 (1:15 pm)

    Beware of the 6 or 7 young people headed south on California. Spotted them near the high school throwing snowballs at passing cars AND people walking on the sidewalk.

  • datamuse January 18, 2012 (1:21 pm)

    At this point it’s hard to tell whether it’s still snowing, or if the wind’s just blowing those little light flakes around…

  • saney January 18, 2012 (1:30 pm)

    And now there are 3 boys on dirt bikes headed south on California…ignoring traffic lights. Ugh.

  • J January 18, 2012 (1:31 pm)

    Lost a key near corner of 42nd SW & SW 104th St (the neighborhood sledding hill)? It’s hanging on the flag at the top of the hill.

  • mookie January 18, 2012 (1:42 pm)

    Getting Cantore on the case jinxed it from being a really big snow. Feh.

  • Underwhelmed January 18, 2012 (1:48 pm)

    Kids having fun in the snow?!?!? Shocking!

  • linda January 18, 2012 (1:49 pm)

    Just saw the first snow plow of the day on Fauntleroy, thought he was going to go down to the ferry dock but he turned left onto California. Fauntleroy is now partly plowed in one direction, good luck to anyone who needs to catch a ferry this afternoon.

  • coffee January 18, 2012 (1:56 pm)

    My complaint, snowmobilers that are going WAYYYY too fast on city streets. There have been a few in Arbor Heights

  • Christopher Boffoli January 18, 2012 (2:05 pm)

    That top photo seems an apt metaphor for the current (financial) state of the US Postal Service. :-)

  • J January 18, 2012 (2:09 pm)

    I think the snowmobilers in AH are the same people who roar around the neighborhood on their loud and annoying scooters and motorcycles in better weather. I’ve told them how unsafe they’re being, and how annoying. They don’t seem to care. I don’t know what else to do except hope they move away.

  • Aman January 18, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    The U.S. Postal Service does not have an official motto. The phrase which most people associate with the postal office is that which is engraved on the outside of the James A. Farley Post Office building at 8th Avenue & 33rd Street in New York, New York: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

    This phrase was a translation by Prof. George H. Palmer, Harvard University, from an ancient Greek work of Herodotus describing the Persian system of mounted postal carriers c. 500 B.C. The inscription was added to the building by William Mitchell Kendall of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, the building’s architects.

    Just a reminder to please shovel, salt, and/or sand your sidewalks, steps & porches for our postal carriers & delivery service personnel.Thanks!

  • Noelle January 18, 2012 (2:27 pm)

    I saw a mail man wearing SHORTS Delivering the mail today! Brave? Crazy? I dont know!

  • datamuse January 18, 2012 (2:39 pm)

    Noelle: maybe he’s from Finland. :D

  • Margie January 18, 2012 (2:40 pm)

    I just received metro text that the lower level bridge is closed…

  • karla3000 January 18, 2012 (2:42 pm)

    If you have hummingbird feeders, please take them in at night and return them before dawn. We have Anna’s Hummingbirds living in our area and they sometimes solely rely on these feeders during the snow. We have what appears to be a female Anna’s who has taken up residence on our balcony, near the feeder. She is just inches outside the sliding glass door and has been a delight to watch all day long. Though she is a bit of a bully, chasing away all other comers!

    edit: if I wasn’t clear, you would take the feeders inside to avoid having the nectar freeze…

  • Sarah January 18, 2012 (2:50 pm)

    Just was out and about-16th has not been plowed or salted but it’s pretty drivable-I have an AWD but I saw a couple 2wd doing ok. Safeway was awesome-no one in there and fully stocked shelfs! I made it to Starbucks in Westwood-open and bustling a bit-they even have boots and gloves left at Big 5. 35th is clear as bell and has been salted and plowed. All in all looking good-just DRIVE SLOWLY-it makes all the difference-oh and when you turn a corner go even SLOWER because even with 4WD you will still spin out and possibly hit the car waiting to turn!!!

  • Steph January 18, 2012 (3:00 pm)

    I am heading to the airport in an hour. (Morning flight canceled but got Grandma on an evening flight). The Highland Park hill scares me, so plan on sticking to WS Bridge, to I-5 (and driving really slow). Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • Christina January 18, 2012 (3:03 pm)

    Just took a walk. Briefly saw 16th south of 106th. Southbound had been plowed recently was was mostly bare pavement with a bit of slush. Northbound was packed snow. Cars seemed to be doing fine both ways. I also saw a 120 headed southbound.
    In Shorewood, most of the major hills are now sledding hills so be careful when driving.

  • Alki Resident January 18, 2012 (3:05 pm)

    Can anyone confirm the lower bridge is closed please?

    • WSB January 18, 2012 (3:14 pm)

      Alki Res – it was closed for a while – I just got a text that it’s reopened. Which tends to lag reality.

  • Alki Resident January 18, 2012 (3:09 pm)

    @Steph_I’d go down 16th then head over to !st ave,all the way past Fred Meyers ,then hop on freeway to get right to airport.

  • Stephanie14 January 18, 2012 (3:11 pm)

    Thanks for the postal/Persian history tidbit. Glad I’m not delivering mail in shorts today!

  • Alki Resident January 18, 2012 (3:30 pm)

    Thank you thank you WSB

  • beth January 18, 2012 (3:31 pm)

    Just out of curiosity; it’s still snowing in High Point. It’s incredibly tiny but still there. Anywhere else?

  • westcoastdeb January 18, 2012 (3:36 pm)

    Not in the area, but we have freezing rain in Auburn, where I am at work.

  • Casey January 18, 2012 (3:40 pm)

    Just got back from Crystal mountain, the roads are bare until right when you hit ws! Was surprised at the amount of snow that fell between 5am and now! Freeway (I-5) was good just be wary of the slush on the sides that can pull you in pretty good! 518 to airport looked a bit more snowy but drivable for sure

  • Franci January 18, 2012 (3:40 pm)

    Yep I still tiny flakes/freezing rain coming down on Gatewood.

    I just got back from an errand at Alaska & 37th. Studded tires on an accord, did alright both directions. I’m near Webster and 44th.

    For the person going to the airport. I’d go 16hth to Ambaum, to 152? (corner w/Walgreens). That leads directly onto the freeway (509/518 I can never remember which one is which ). That route is going to be mostly flat

  • smokeycretin9 January 18, 2012 (3:43 pm)

    Uggggh! I wish Seattle Public Schools would figure out what they want to do Thursday. I am trying to make plans.

    • WSB January 18, 2012 (4:43 pm)

      So far, in the past 15 minutes, both Seattle and Vashon have announced, no school tomorrow.

  • beth January 18, 2012 (3:46 pm)

    I was just thinkin’ the same thing about schools Smokey.

  • haha January 18, 2012 (3:47 pm)

    Pigeon Point is unplowed. If coming from 21st or 22nd Just drive up the hill and make your way to Orchard to get to Delridge, from delridge you can get to mast places. Or don’t drive which is best unless you have too. As long as you have a awd or 4wd you should be fine getting back up Andover. But its the braking to a stop for anything on the side streets which is dangerous.

  • Gina January 18, 2012 (3:56 pm)

    Downtown at 5th and Madison the tiny ice things are still falling.

  • genesseehillmike January 18, 2012 (4:01 pm)

    California Ave, 35th Ave, Delridge and Alaska St all in pretty good shape. Buses seen moving regularly on all of them. I don’t have FWD and was able to get around at 20 mph. WS Bridge (upper) and 99 btw the Bridge and downtown is bare and wet. Let’s hope we don’t have an ice rink in the a.m. that screws up the commute.

    P.S. thanks to Doug for opening the “Y” on time today at 5:30 a.m.

  • Arbor heights mama January 18, 2012 (4:06 pm)

    I just saw two people sledding through Arbor Heights being pulled by a moving car! Please be safe out there people.

  • Tito January 18, 2012 (4:07 pm)

    any ideas why Fauntleroy has only been plowed in one direction and when SDOT might actually get around to finishing the job?

  • curious January 18, 2012 (4:09 pm)

    Still snowing in Westwood :D :D :D

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (4:18 pm)

    @Patrick, Any new info on the forecast?

  • Valerie January 18, 2012 (4:36 pm)

    SPS is closed tomorrow, Smokey. http://www.schoolreport.org/schoolDetail.php?schoolId=63

  • dandelion January 18, 2012 (4:39 pm)

    I second the request D1 – Patrick, what does the forecast have in store for us for tonight and tomorrow? Right now it looks like it is either raining, or snowing those little ice balls again – can’t really tell. Does anyone know how the roads are downtown?

  • Tony January 18, 2012 (4:39 pm)

    Seattle schools closed on Thurs.

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (4:41 pm)

    snowplow just went north on 37th, at Hinds

  • Cclarue January 18, 2012 (4:41 pm)

    16th near the college. Plowed and sanded

  • JayDee January 18, 2012 (4:47 pm)


    I talked with a red-haired (and pink-legged) postman who said he did it to cool off, while he wore layers on-top. He didn’t seem cold and was changing to a drier pair of socks at the time. Probably the same guy.

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (4:50 pm)

    and snowplow just went south on 37th, at Hinds

  • smokeycretin9 January 18, 2012 (4:56 pm)

    we are getting freezing rain down here at 21st and Roxbury. I went out to see why my bamboo is all leaned over and it is coated in ice dropplets. :(

  • Chris January 18, 2012 (4:58 pm)

    @ Casey, how was skiing at Crystal?

  • LyndaB January 18, 2012 (5:00 pm)

    Drove home from uw via 520 to I-5. Beware of left most lane. There is a small section where there is a lot of slush. I saw a guy going waaaaay too fast fish tale when he encountered it. I was far away but still was scared to see it. Good thing he got control again. So dumb!

    I had no problem coming up 35th to Juneau. That was about 40mins ago. :)

  • transplantella January 18, 2012 (5:06 pm)

    Has anybody mentioned that this is the mushiest, slushiest, snow-like muck ever?

    This muckety mush is going to turn into a icy frozen mess of hardened mess in a couple of hours. Yek.

    You can shovel snow but you can’t shovel ice. Any place that didn’t get shoveled today is soon to be

  • Bill at Duwamish Head January 18, 2012 (5:09 pm)

    Anyone been over I90 today? I have the 3am commute and wondering how icy it is going to be. At least there won’t be any traffic to worry about.

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (5:09 pm)

    37th in Admiral double-plowed; hopefully the 51 will run again soon

  • A January 18, 2012 (5:17 pm)

    Something’s still coming down quite steadily here in Westwood. It looks like sleet or even freezing rain. I am NOT going outside to check. :-)

    Am I the only person who’s hoping Cliff Mass is wrong and that it’ll snow another few inches again tomorrow?

  • SJ2 January 18, 2012 (5:21 pm)

    Haha. No A. I hope for the same.

  • Underwhelmed January 18, 2012 (5:27 pm)

    Cliff Mass seems to be the only meteorologist who was accurate in his predictions.

    Time for a serious meltdown so life can get back to normal. It was fun while it lasted though.

  • Amalia January 18, 2012 (5:31 pm)

    Yes, more snow, please!!!
    Three cheers for the postal workers who showed up and toughed it out. My mail carrier had extra work today because a bunch of his colleagues didn’t make it in, but he was cheerful as ever and even a little early (and in long pants). Glad I shoveled for him.

  • Beth January 18, 2012 (5:31 pm)

    Highline schools are closed Thursday. Posted notice on their website, but not yet on SchoolReport.org

    • WSB January 18, 2012 (5:41 pm)

      I had been checking the website. So that would have been a couple minutes ago. They also just posted on FB. So, adding to our list (and our White Center site).

  • Diane January 18, 2012 (5:38 pm)

    lots of cool coverage of Seattle snowstorm on ABC World News; of course they showed Queen Anne ski resort, stuck cars/buses…….

  • Dunno January 18, 2012 (5:41 pm)

    Did have a short span of freezing rain, but now it is frozen precip. Going to be very icy tonight!

  • Keva January 18, 2012 (5:48 pm)

    Spot from NBC Nightly News this evening too:


  • Admiral Janeway January 18, 2012 (6:11 pm)

    Evening bus ride from downtown to WS was smooth. Roads had a little layer of slush, but the bus had no problem driving through it.

  • Katherine January 18, 2012 (6:17 pm)

    Anyone know if Holden and Highland Park way are open, plowed, sanded?

  • bsmomma January 18, 2012 (6:26 pm)

    The Heartland is open! They’re out of some things but yummy none the less! Don’t think that Angelinas, Circa or Brickyard BBQ place was open. And yes, more snow Please!

  • mrsB January 18, 2012 (6:29 pm)

    Bill at Duwamish Head – we took I-90 to and from Bellevue mid-morning and it wasn’t too bad, not much traffic which helped.

  • renaissancered January 18, 2012 (6:31 pm)

    anyone measure the snow to see how much fell???

    • WSB January 18, 2012 (7:01 pm)

      we had the measurement discussion at some point earlier, I think. Up here for example (Gatewood/Upper Fauntleroy), about 3 1/2 inches.

  • Gina January 18, 2012 (6:41 pm)

    Water was a bit rough coming home on the Water Taxi, and the shuttle bus was chained up and waiting when we got there.

    Measured 5 1/2 inches, So Ad.

  • Bill at Duwamish Head January 18, 2012 (6:48 pm)

    Thank you mrsB. After watching all the news, there has been no commentary on the bridges, and I was worried they had not gotten plowed or treated. All the news was north and south coverage.

  • miws January 18, 2012 (6:56 pm)

    Glad you made it home okay, Gina.


    Saw your posting on FB, or was it here, that you were waiting for the WT. Then about an hour or so ago got the e-m alert that the Vashon Wt was canceled due to high winds, and was a-sceered that the WSWT might shortly meet the same fate.


    Bonus that you had a bus ride up the hill!



  • Casey January 18, 2012 (7:05 pm)

    @Chris: Crystal was WINDY not sure how fast, only 3 lifts were open but other than that the snow was amazing!!! They expect the weather to be more clear tomorrow!

  • Christina January 18, 2012 (7:17 pm)

    @ renaissancered We measured 3.5 inches today on a wind free spot. In windy spots, the snow was up over 7 inches. As of right now, it’s all compacting to ice. Yuck!

  • Hockey Witch January 18, 2012 (7:29 pm)

    was just happy that I didn’t have to go to work today. Thank you to my boss who understands West Seattle and the affects of snow here as she lives up North and is snowed in pretty good herself.. If you go out in the elements W. Seattle neighbors, be careful!

  • beth January 18, 2012 (7:37 pm)

    Stuck a measuring tape into the nice, level snow on our picnic table. Just a tad over 6 inches. That’s in High Point.

  • sssssss January 18, 2012 (8:01 pm)

    I hope it doesn’t snow any more! It’s too hard to get around in, and if you have to go to work downtown there’s the worry about whether you can make it in and once you get there, if you can get home. My boss was snowed in too and nice enough to say I oculd stay home because it was going to snow all day and maybe I’d get stuck. But 2 co-workers from WS made it into work, so now I worry what the owner of the company is going to say about those of us who didn’t get in, as I suppose I could technically have made it in and back on one of the buses.

    I don’t want to have to go through the whole decision-making process (should I go in or not) again tomorrow! (And no, I’m not set up to work from home.) If I missed another day I’d worry that I’d be fired.

    I’m glad that snow is a happy occurrence for some–it would be for me too if it wasn’t for my job situation.

  • D1 January 18, 2012 (8:05 pm)

    No weather update from Patrick?

  • mookie January 18, 2012 (8:18 pm)

    The snow definitely has an icy crust on it now. It’s like walking on Crème brûlée.
    Not sure WHAT is coming down out of the sky it’s so tiny – freezing drops? I’ll call it “sneet.”

  • Barb January 18, 2012 (8:59 pm)

    I love the WS Blog. Thanks for what you do for all of us!

  • Dc January 18, 2012 (9:03 pm)

    Not looking forward at all to the drive to work tomorrow morning. Ice scares me. May just tell the boss I’m snowed in here in W Seattle. Are a lot of people staying home tomorrow (besides students)?

  • westcoastdeb January 18, 2012 (9:05 pm)

    Bridge mostly clear as of about 8 — exits slippery and not so fun. Highland Park Way hill was slick but do-able.

  • soundDogswims January 18, 2012 (9:05 pm)

    Who *was* that Masked Meterologist anyway?

    Earlier this pm, the dog was under a tree limb when an icy projectile fell next to him. Surprised him, but no harm. However, other bigger icy projectiles might still be falling so heads up. Be safe.

  • beth January 18, 2012 (9:07 pm)

    We’re all staying home. UW is closed (hubby), school is closed (daughter), and I imagine our hill is an ice rink right now. Might as well enjoy the rare event.

  • Chris January 18, 2012 (9:12 pm)

    Thanks Casey. May head up on Friday. Too hard to resist!

  • Bmiller206 January 18, 2012 (9:16 pm)

    I live on sw yancy st, and while I haven’t left the house, I am currently watching cars spin out going up the hill… I would stay on main roads and not use this one to cut up to Avalon! This road is soooo icy.

  • Lura Ercolano January 18, 2012 (9:27 pm)

    Beth – UW has said they are closed until 10:00am

  • beth January 18, 2012 (9:54 pm)

    Per the UW Alert site:
    Seattle: Both classes and normal operations are suspended for Thursday, Jan. 19. Essential personnel only report to work. The basketball game vs. Cal will be played.

  • SJ2 January 18, 2012 (10:31 pm)

    Yes, UW will be closed. My partner is a student there and got the notification a few minutes ago.

  • BThompson January 18, 2012 (11:01 pm)

    Is that a “jip” on the corner of Delridge and Juneau?

  • redblack January 18, 2012 (11:08 pm)

    renaissancered: ultimate total near fairmount elementary was 5 inches flat.

  • Bthompson January 19, 2012 (11:36 am)

    On the picture of Delridge and Juneau, is that a “jip” power pole in the background?

Sorry, comment time is over.