West Seattle, Washington
6:27 PM: The wind is getting stronger and the first West Seattle power-outage reports are in – Arbor Heights, Fauntleroy, Morgan Junction reports so far. Almost 5,000 customers (homes/businesses/facilities), according to the City Light map. Updates to come.
6:39 PM: The wind’s roaring up here. Possibly related to the outage, wires are down on 35th at 108th, and the road’s closed south of there, reports Colby, who sent the photo:
A few reminders: The High Wind Warning is in effect until 1 am, so we could be in for a few hours of this. If your power goes out, don’t open your refrigerator/freezer – what’s inside will keep for longer. And remember that the “estimated restoration time” on City Light’s map is absolutely meaningless – it’s automatically generated and even the utility admits the estimates are useless.
7:23 PM: In case you’re wondering – though the outage stretches from Lowman Beach to The Arroyos, the Fauntleroy ferry dock has power, Alice Enevoldsen texted us to report. (See terminal cameras here.)
7:32 PM: Some report their power’s back on (comments and phone calls). SCL’s map lags a bit in updates so we’ll see if that’s everyone. … And a moment later, the map’s updated – 276 still out.
7:56 PM: Now the map shows a multitude of smallish outages, still in the same general area affected before, totaling more than 1,100 customers. … No other major problems reported so far, but we’re monitoring.
8:37 PM: If you lost power, then got it back, and have lost it again … you’re not alone. … On police radio, an officer just told a dispatcher that 35th/Roxbury is in the outage zone, which reminds us to remind you that dark or otherwise malfunctioning signals mean it’s an all-ways stop.
9:26 PM: Unlike yesterday’s short burst of high wind, we haven’t had a lot of downed-tree reports … so far. SPD Twitter log shows a call for one in the 5000 block of Puget Boulevard.
9:45 PM: As noted by commenters, many got their power back … and the map again shows the number affected has dropped below 300. … The late-night National Weather Service “forecast discussion” says “System continues to wind down across the area tonight.” And after this, no extreme weather in the foreseeable forecast – New Year’s Eve/Day should be downright quiet. There’s an alert for possible coastal flooding again tomorrow, but without the main factor that added extra feet to this morning’s high tide – the low-pressure system – it’s not expected to be nearly as extreme.
11 PM: The NWS has reiterated the High Wind Warning in effect through 1 am, but downsized the wind outlook to “Southwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.”
11:52 PM: More power restored! The map shows no one currently still without electricity in West Seattle.
1:08 AM: The wind alert has expired but the wind itself has not.
SDOT is finally commenting on what’s wrong with the West Seattle low bridge (Spokane Street Swing Bridge), four days after it was closed. According to SDOT, the bridge won’t reopen for at least two weeks because crews need “to repair mechanical issues that intensified after a power outage during the ice storm on December 23.” They’re still working on a “repair plan and schedule.” Here’s their explanation of what’s wrong:
The problem initially appeared to be associated with a computer issue that occurred while the bridge was powering back up after a power outage. Once the computer issue was resolved, engineers found previously identified minor issues with the hydraulic system that moves the bridge had intensified.
SDOT completes regular inspections of the Low Bridge and had existing plans to repair these aging components in 2023. However, after the power outage, it was discovered that previously manageable small-scale issues had escalated into more severe problems. Until these components are fixed, the bridge cannot be reliably moved without risking more severe long-term damage.
SDOT engineers are working as quickly as possible to analyze repair options. While there is not yet an estimate for how long bridge repair will take, SDOT expects the closure to last for at least two weeks.
Based on the evaluation results, additional Low Bridge closures for repairs may be needed in 2023, along with closures associated with planned capital improvements to the bridge next year.
In the meantime, the low bridge is being kept open for maritime traffic, but closed to vehicle, bicycle, and foot traffic. The bridge is 30 years old.
3:50 PM: Thanks to Devlin Carey for the photos. While the weather-enhanced king-tide waters were mostly a point of curiosity in West Seattle, they caused more-serious trouble along the Duwamish River in. South Park, flooding streets and neighborhoods.
At the peak of it, emergency responders had to rescue people from what was described as “flooding/possible sinkhole” near 5th South and South Holden.
ADDED 8:14 PM: Speaking of responders, look what one crew faced, in this photo sent by a reader who works in South Park:
Tonight we also have an advisory from SDOT that road closures continue:
Due to flooding, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) closed streets north of S Kenyon Street from 8th Ave S to SR 99 in South Park until further notice. (Read SPU’s statement on today’s flooding in South Park.) SDOT will reopen the roads once crews verify that the area is safe to travel through. SDOT advises travelers to avoid unnecessary travel in this area. If you must travel, please slow down and avoid driving through flooded roads.
There’s a sidewalk detour in front of Menashe & Sons Jewelers in The Junction as repair crews work to fix the damage done by would-be crash-and-grab burglars early Saturday (previous WSB coverage here).
We say “would-be” because the Menashes told us today that the burglars did not succeed in getting inside, though as we reported Saturday, video shows them making three tries – two rounds of ramming a pickup truck into the front of the store, one attempt at smashing the storefront with a mallet. It’s expected to take about a week to fix the damage, but in the meantime, the shop is open, 11 am-4 pm daily – just go around back to the alley door and ring the bell. And if you have any information on the break-in attempt, the SPD case number for reference is 22-342460.
11:02 AM: Three weeks after the crash-and-grab burglary at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Westwood Village, the store was burglarized again early today – but this time police arrested a suspect. They say the man broke in by using a shopping cart to break a window around 4:15 am. The burglar was still inside when officers arrived; he pointed what appeared to be a rifle – but turned out to be a pellet gun – at them and fled. They caught the suspect nearby, in the 2500 block of SW Barton, and recovered the pellet rifle plus bullets, boots, two coats, and a baseball bat. The 37-year-old suspect was booked into the King County Jail, where the roster says this is his fourth booking this year.
1:02 PM: One added detail from listening to the radio exchanges recorded during the police response – the original call to 911 came from shopping-center security.
Though the tide tables showed the 8:40 am “king tide” this morning would be slightly lower than yesterday, with the atmospheric conditions, the tide instead rose higher. The first three photos are from Deb Holbrook – above, the Alki Bathhouse, below, Statue of Liberty Plaza and the completely swamped beach:
(added) Also from Alki, Zach Wolpa‘s photo shows the west end of the promenade:
(added) And one more Alki view, from David Hutchinson, also showing how the water reached to the edge of the trail:
At Fauntleroy, as Elizabeth pointed out in her note with the photo below, this tide is a reminder of why the ferry dock needs to be higher when rebuilt (as is part of Washington State Ferries‘ plan):
She also sent this photo from the mouth of Fauntleroy Creek:
(added) Paulette‘s photo shows a logjam against the south side of the ferry dock:
As shown here, high tide was at least two feet higher than expected.
ADDED 11 AM: Doug Eglington sent this view of Don Armeni Boat Ramp:
Thanks again to everyone who’s sent photos! (firstname.lastname@example.org or text 206-293-6302)
6:02 AM: Good morning! It’s Tuesday, December 27th.
LOW BRIDGE STILL CLOSED
We’re hoping for an update today on what’s wrong and why it’s taking so long to fix.
It’s been out of service since Friday.
More wind is on the way, according to the National Weather Service, with the latest alert – a High Wind Warning – and forecast viewable here; the strongest wind is expected in the pm. Rain continues, too; by late last night we were already getting reports of pooling water on local streets. Another water note: Today’s “king tide” – 12.9 feet – is at 8:40 am.
TODAY’S TRANSIT STATUS
–Metro is back to a regular schedule today but still down buses for repairs – 12 of the 126 had been fixed by the end of last week – keep watching notification channels such as @kcmetroalerts for trip cancellations and route suspensions.
-The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its regular schedule but with a warning that the forecast high winds could affect service.
-WSF’s Triangle Route remains on its two-boat schedule- check here for alerts/updates.
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).
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.