West Seattle, Washington
9:32 PM: We’re now down into the 20s, and even without more snow (yet), ice is a major road danger and we’re getting some reader reports. First, Rosalie Miller – who usually contributes nature photos – has sent a different kind of photo tonight:
That’s both a street report and a reminder that it’s a good night to stay off the streets if you possibly can. Rosalie says she spun out, and as a result …
Our car is stuck perpendicular to the road on Southwest Stevens Street between 37th and 36th Ave Southwest. [map]
Efforts to move the car have been unsuccessful. There are two traffic cones placed on 37th.
I hope that people are not going to try to bypass those and head down Stevens. There is a steep slope and no traction.
I want to make sure that this information is available to anyone driving tonight or tomorrow.
A tow truck will not be able to get out until sometime tomorrow morning at the earliest.
We are trying to locate additional cones to place on the 36th Ave. Southwest / Stevens end of the street.
We have spoken with the police. They do not have any signage for us to use to close the street.
Just as we were about to publish Rosalie’s report, this came in via text:
Forest St. hill to Hiawatha park just across Fairmount Ave SW [map] is completely frozen over. Cars attempting to drive up sliding and stuck. Car currently stuck sideways down Fairmount after sliding backwards on Forest and spinning out before getting stuck.
Let us know if you have one to add to the list.
9:57 PM: Update from Rosalie – “With the assistance of a generous neighbor, we were able to get the car out. The road is still very unsafe. There are no traffic cones.”
APPARENTLY DUMPED: Two people sent photos (the one above is from Kay) of that gray Hyundai Tucson, left in the back of Riverview Playfield, clearly hotwired. It’s been reported to police.
Next – three auto-theft cases in which charges have been filed, starting with one involving a theft reported here:
RED-TRUCK THEFT: You might recall Brooke‘s report last week about the theft of the red 1986 Chevrolet truck shown above. Two days later, we updated the report when she told us it had been found and that someone had been arrested. The suspect, 40-year-old Daryl B. Allen of SeaTac, was charged today with possession of a stolen vehicle. Charging documents say Allen has a long record, including eight felony convictions on auto-theft-related charges dating back to 2006. The documents also show the WSB post from Thursday and note that a 911 tip reported seeing it near California/Graham; police spotted it a short distance north and followed it until the driver parked it in the 4000 block of California. After a man and woman got out, police tried to intercept them, and they ran, but were quickly caught. The man was Allen, police say, who claimed the truck had been given to him. They also say he had dropped a backpack in which they found a knife the truck’s owner had left in its cab, as well as “multiple shaved keys, a roll of window tint, a small number of narcotics and paraphernalia, and some bank cards and driver’s licenses that did not belong to him.” In the truck they found a screwdriver that they were able to use to start the truck’s punched-out ignition, and they found a witness who said they saw Allen use a screwdriver to turn off the ignition when he parked; the same witness has security video showing him getting out of the truck. He was arrested and booked into jail, where he remains in lieu of $15,000 bail; the woman was questioned and released.
BLUE-TRUCK THEFT: Bail was also set at $15,000 for the suspect just charged with stealing a blue F-150 truck in West Seattle in May; at the moment that’s somewhat irrelevant because the suspect has been in jail in Pierce County since September on five charges there. 22-year-old Nathan J. Adrian of Puyallup is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle in the West Seattle case. Court documents say he was found, passed out, in the stolen truck at 26th and Juneau while police were on the way to the owner’s house in Gatewood to take the report. Apparently the truck’s owner had tracked it there – the charging documents don’t say how – as had a victim of another crime, a gas-can theft. That person parked his own vehicle so this one wouldn’t be able to leave before police arrived. The court documents say police found “multiple vehicle keys” and drug paraphernalia in Adrian’s pockets. Though he has no conviction record yet, he has three other King County cases pending trial – two burglaries and one stolen-vehicle case.
STOLEN ACCORD: This case involves a suspect who prosecutors say was found in Highland Park on December 3rd with a Honda Accord stolen in Kirkland, 45-year-old K-Deane H. Fenner of Capitol Hill was arrested when officers pulled him over after running the plate on the car he was driving and discovering it had been stolen. They then noticed the car was running with a screwdriver stuck in the ignition instead of a key. The charging document includes this photo:
Fenner is described as having a four-state criminal history, but the first-appearance judge, who is not named in the documents, set bail at $500, so that’s what it was even after the charge was filed, and he is now out of custody.
This year, winter arrived in West Seattle amid truly wintry weather – and two hours after the 1:47 pm solstice moment, dozens of people commemorated the change of seasons with a tradition. Educator and skywatching expert Alice Enevoldsen drew more than two dozen people to Solstice Park for her quarterly sunset watch. It’s a chance to learn what actually happens in the solar system at the solstice moment – or, in the spring and fall, the equinox moment.
This time, the sun even made an appearance!
You can set your calendar to join Alice at the park for the spring equinox on March 20, 2023.
Before we get to the weekend warmup – one more possibility for snow and ice. The National Weather Service has just issued a Winter Storm Watch alert for Thursday night through Friday evening. Here’s what it says might happen: “Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snow accumulations of up to three inches and ice accumulations of up to a quarter of an inch possible. … This will be a complex mix of winter precipitation with potentially significant impacts.” Whatever the precipitation situation, the temperature isn’t expected to get back above freezing until sometime Friday.
David emailed today to suggest a PSA about helping hummingbirds get through this subfreezing weather – “tending to their feeders diligently over the next two days will literally mean life or death for many of them.” He offered this advice:
I have four feeders. One has a small homemade heater which protects the nectar from freezing, which is nice, but really not necessary in order to help them out.
They do not feed at night, so by simply bringing your feeders in after dark, then setting them out at daybreak again does wonders. The feeders will rise to indoor room temperature overnight then stay unfrozen for sometime when they are put out at daybreak.
Speaking of daybreak, this feeding is extremely important as this is when they come out of torpor. Torpor is the short state of hibernation they go into at dark in order to slow their respiration, conserve energy, and make it through the cold night. As soon as they wake up at the first rays of light, they are very hungry and are looking for an energy boost quickly so they can warm up.
The ratio of sugar to water in their nectar is a source of energy and the regular ratio is four parts water to one part sugar. An important note that I just recently learned: One goal of maintaining the nectar for them is simply keeping it unfrozen, but another consideration is that the temperature of the nectar itself lowers their overall body temperature. Rotating the feeder a few times during the day will help them out during these extraordinarily low temperatures, like a warm cocoa versus a iced latte.
My feeders contain no metal and are short enough to fit in my microwave. I blast them long enough to bring them up to a gentle warm temperature, barely warm to the touch, and hang them right back out again. If your feeder can’t be quickly microwaved, then making a huge pot of nectar is always an option too. It will set you back a little for the raw sugar, but a huge pot at room temperature kept on the stove can be used to refill your feeders periodically throughout the next couple of days. Just pour out the frozen nectar and pour
in the room temperature nectar for the swap out.
The lack of available food means there will be a great deal of fighting among the dominant males, so I spread my feeders around my yard, preferably out of line of sight between them. I have one on each of the four sides of my house for this reason. This allows for the weaker birds to swoop in occasionally and have a shot at getting a sip. Hand warmers can also be secured to the sides or bottoms of your feeders to maintain them for a few hours. This works well, but of course they are single use and can get expensive. You would also need to acquire them by this afternoon if you don’t have any on hand.
If we can all tend our feeders diligently for the next two days it will mean many more will be able to endure what may end up being record low temperatures.
Also, unfrozen bird feeders are a huge help to all of the local birds as it’s hard for them to rehydrate when all the water is solid.
Some other quick tips for helping birds in general are here.
12:14 PM: In case you wondered too, as did a few readers, West Seattle’s only weather-emergency shelter, at WS Veteran Center in The Triangle, is indeed in operation right now. We spoke this morning with shelter operator Keith Hughes, who said he expects to keep the shelter open until Christmas morning, by which time the temperature should be headed into the 50s. As for whether the donation-and-volunteer-powered shelter has any current needs with which the community could assist, Keith says no – they’ve received enough recent donations that they’re stocked up.
12:54 PM: While Keith didn’t mention it, we’ve just learned that there is some financial need for shelter operations, and one of the shelter volunteers has started a crowdfunding campaign for expenses including a big utility bill – you can donate here.
Just in from organizer Mark Ufkes, word that the New Year’s Day Alki Polar Bear Swim is on again! Here’s his announcement in its entirety:
Alki Polar Bear Swim 2023
January 1, into the water at 10 am sharp
Life gets better each year, and there is, and always will be, a benefit to celebrating this reality. Since the beginning of time, humans all over the World have held ceremony at the New Year. It is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and wash away the many frustrations and injuries that the previous year demanded of us.
And for us optimists out there, and those in our circle who suffer from our perpetually positive outlook, it is a chance to ask the Universe, in all its awe, for guidance and strength to make the New Year more significant than the previous one.
Some call our annual Alki Polar Bear Swim “the great washing.” Others call it the most challenging family-oriented adventure of the year. And for a few, it is simply another example that all of us humans have mild insanity and a need to prove it to an adoring crowd of fans who watch from the sidewalk.
Last year over 500 met at Alki for our grand entry into 47-degree Puget Sound. We were in and out of the water so fast that it was all over in less than a minute. And another crowd of hundreds watched and cheered as we proved again how great it is to be alive, in this still great city, and still great Democratic nation (even though many extreme Republicans seem to want to destroy it).
You all know the drill. We meet at Alki Beach across from Duke’s. We spread out up and down the beach with those we love and adore next to us, and after a count down from 10, 9, 8 …, we hold hands, start screaming and laughing, and run madly into the water as if our lives depend on it. As always, we go into the water at 10 am sharp, so don’t be late.
Bring good water shoes, a large towel, and warm clothes to dress in afterward. And as always, bring your hopes and dreams for the New Year and they will come true!
Last year, the water – 47 degrees, as Mark mentioned – was 22 degrees warmer than the air (25 degrees).
*The High Point and Southwest branches will be open noon-6 pm
*The Delridge, West Seattle (Admiral), and South Park branches are closed
P.S. The King County Library System‘s White Center branch will be open its regular Wednesday hours, 1-8 pm.
Just in from the city, updating yesterday’s announcement:
No residential collection today due to unsafe road conditions. Tuesday customers may set out twice as much next week at no additional charge. We will attempt to collect recycling in the off week as well. Wednesday customers should set their carts out for Thursday collection. We will attempt to collect Thursday, weather permitting.
In addition, our North and South Transfer stations are closed to the public.
6:03 AM: Good morning! It’s Wednesday, December 21st. Winter officially begins with the solstice moment at 1:47 pm.
Very cold today and tomorrow, with even daytime temperatures staying below freezing; some sunshine expected.
TODAY’S TRANSIT STATUS
–Metro is still down buses for repairs and is suspending some routes again today, including West Seattle’s 55, 56, 57, and 125. Keep watching notification channels such as @kcmetroalerts for trip cancellations and route suspensions. Also, here’s the page with rerouting info.
-The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its regular schedule.
-WSF’s Triangle Route remains on its two-boat schedule- check here for alerts/updates.
STREETS & SPOTLIGHT CAMERAS
Here’s the SDOT Winter Weather Response map showing which roads have been recently treated and when, as well as closed roads.
High Bridge – here’s the camera at the top.
High Bridge – the view from its southwest end (when SDOT points the 35th/Avalon/Fauntleroy camera that way).
Low Bridge: Or nearby, depending on where SDOT points the camera.
1st Ave. S. Bridge: The south route.
Highway 99: Here’s the northbound side at Lander.
All functional city traffic cams can be seen here, most with video options; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are also on this WSB page … Are movable city bridges opening for vessels? Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
If you see a problem on the roads/paths/water, please text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.