December 2006 windstorm 80 results

And on the seventh night

Guess we weren’t the only ones thinking a traffic cop would be a good idea at Fauntleroy/Cali … one is on the job there now. Otherwise, no progress in the re-outage that’s epicentered just east of the intersection (see midday photo below) … not only is M-Junction dark, so is a significant stretch of Fauntleroy heading southwest from there, plus the big stretch of Beach Drive before and after the original tree blockage. Maybe the re-outage is why City Light’s outage total went up between the early afternoon and late afternoon updates (was 5,300, now 5,900). Some are starting to ask, now that this crisis (and for those without power, it IS a crisis) is almost a week old, where’s the mayor? Especially considering so many of those still without power are right here in his back yard?


A cry in the darkness

Thanks to the reader who mentioned this sign at Highland Park Way & Othello … a few thousand West Seattleites can sympathize:


New advice from, and about, City Light

But first, one bit of advice from us … avoid the Cali/Fauntleroy intersection (M-Junction) if you can till you hear the power’s back (and we promise to keep checking) … as the evening drive home approaches, things are getting ugly down there, with ferry traffic, etc., and no stoplights to moderate. (Really wish they’d send a police officer to help direct traffic.)

Now, as for City Light … their outage-update page has some interesting new suggestions, such as “things to check if your neighbor has power but you don’t.”  And both SCL and some WSB readers urge you to keep calling if your power’s still out, instead of assuming they’re on the case. 684-7400 is the outage-reporting number; 684-3000 is the number for reporting downed lines. City Light says a little over 5,000 “customers” are still out; sort of seems like they’re almost all here in WS.

Morgan Junction: not back yet

December 20, 2006 2:17 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

Thriftway is open (with low lights again, as was the situation during Outage I), but nothing else in that vicinity (poignant little handwritten signs are tacked to most business doors); City Light crews are still working like mad in that blocklet along Morgan on the store’s north side. Also noticed that the re-outage is stretching directly east up Morgan – the light’s out at 35th/Morgan. Elsewhere – for the person who asked about 32nd/Thistle, no problems there, we saw outdoor lights along 32nd in the blocks on both side of Thistle. Some other folks are e-mailing to ask us about their areas; we’ll check them out as quick as we can.

Re-outage update

Looks like about half the re-outage area is back on. Heading south on Cali, up the hill, the first sign of power was an outdoor light at Cali & Austin. Morgan Junction businesses, still out. To the east, 35th/Thistle light was back. Someone just left a comment wondering about 32nd/Thistle — when we head out again in a bit, we’ll check that out. And we’ll keep you updated on Morgan Junction, where the substation area is still cordoned off. Funny how this sort of thing changes your mindset; we’ve laughed in the past about suggestions that emergency-preparedness kits make great gifts … just heard that pitch again on the car radio, and now we’re not laughing. At all.

Possible good news

December 20, 2006 12:31 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

We left our old-school answering machine “on” at home as a way of testing remotely whether the power is back on … just called, it picked up, that could be good news for the Morgan Junction-and-southward re-outage; will pack up and go check in person now …

Midday update

At an Alki coffeehouse now … apparently there is a powerless pocket near here too; we’ve heard at least three people talking about it, including the very nice gentleman who yielded his table to us (after seeing us wandering sadly around the place looking for an open power outlet).

Back in Morgan Junction and points southward, still no power as of when we left the house again just before 11:30 … that’s two hours re-outaged, and counting. Not sure how far south this stretches, but the 35th & Thistle stoplight is out, and to the north, we didn’t see signs of outagelessness till the first stoplight on Cali Ave north of Fauntleroy (Graham?).

Couple miscellaneous non-outage notes: The Starbucks drive-thru at 35th/Fauntleroy IS open (saw cars going thru as we took a convoluted route to Alki); and if you’re looking for Christmas cheer, there’s a note on the door of Spud Fish & Chips on Alki saying Santa will be visiting 2-4 pm today, tomorrow, and Friday. (Can we go ask Santa for a stable source of electricity, on behalf of all good little Western Washingtonians everywhere?)

New outage’s possible cause

We’re currently stationed in The Junction but a friend tells us that power lines are dangling near the Morgan Junction substation (just north of Thriftway), so that may be the culprit. City Light and the fire department are there.

What we were going to say BEFORE the power went out again …

December 20, 2006 10:03 am
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

… is, be sure you’re ready for anything tonight. The Weather Service says the wind could have some 40 mph gusts, which might be strong enough to bring down trees left weakened after last week’s Wind Wallop. (The Times sounds even more dire about the whole thing, mentioning possible 50 mph gusts.) We found firestarter logs this morning over at McClendon’s. So we’re set on that front. And given the apparent fragility of the whole power system, we’re darn glad we didn’t stock up on food once the original outage ended in our neighborhood Monday morning … there’s not much in there right now … come to think of it, we better go get a bag of ice just to protect what we DO have.

Off again

December 20, 2006 9:53 am
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

Just as we were finishing a post ruminating about the possible fragility of the power fixes in the face of the next storm … EVERYTHING WENT OUT AGAIN. Grabbed the laptop and headed out. No power in Morgan Junction; fire engines converging on Thriftway. Not sure what happened. We had seen City Light trucks in the vicinity of the Northrop sinkhole shortly before this … perhaps a planned outage to get somebody else on line? We can only hope? Stand by … sigh …

Pocket by pocket

December 19, 2006 10:51 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

One less pocket of powerlessness … the trucks we saw on Sullivan in Upper Fauntleroy a few hours ago seem to have achieved success; power to those houses is finally back on. Hope more pockets are on the brink of reconnection; we saw a crew working on Willow, a couple blocks west of Fauntleroy, but no sightings along the eerily dark stretch of 41st (and a few other streets) on the “real” Gatewood Hill, east and uphill from Morgan Junction.

Different outage

Tonight our internet service is out for reasons unknown, so we’re doing the coffeehouse gypsy thing again. Closed down Morgan Junction Tully’s, moved on to Ladro. Ran into someone from the still-out pocket near MJ who fairly exuded frustration, albeit quiet frustration. We’re seeing City Light trucks here and there, including a cluster up by the Upper Fauntleroy pocket, working on into the night. Keep us posted on who’s back and who’s not, so we can share the news. 

Good news … for some

Just back from a partial tour. Jacobsen Road is back up. So is Lincoln Park Way, including the gas station at the north end of Lincoln Park, and the Lowman Beach area at the bottom of the hill. Beach Drive is open again at the tree-blockage site, but the homes surrounding it aren’t back on yet (the area closer to Me-Kwa-Mooks IS, however). Neither is a stretch of Sullivan St. in Upper Fauntleroy. The city, meantime, has beefed up the info on the City Light page for the first time in what seems like days — including links to the latest newspaper articles — and a link to this complete breakdown, neighborhood by neighborhood (guess it was the city that broke apart WS and Delridge, not the Times as we suggested earlier, sorry). And from elsewhere in blogland, here’s a funny, one-paragraph refutation of those who suggest racism/classism has had something to do with the order in which neighborhoods were restored (we had to dismiss that one, given the length of time that stretch of Beach Drive has been out).

Mid-afternoon update

The Seattle Times also is reporting on the City Light press conference from a few hours ago; its article includes a breakdown of which areas still have outages, including curiously, separate mentions of WS and Delridge. Uh, hello, Delridge is part of WS, Times people …

-Another “pocket” report is in — one side of the street still out at Fauntleroy & Raymond.

-During the torrential rain that preceded the wind, Me-Kwa-Mooks had a major mudflow (from the looks of the gutters along the east side of Beach Drive nearby, looks like it ran along the streets). Here’s how it looked from the street when we went by a while ago:


Tuesday midday updates

December 19, 2006 12:41 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

Asplundh crews are out working on both the Beach Drive blockage and also some tree trouble along Jacobsen (which was also closed off about a third of the way up the hill when we went by a short time ago and currently has “Local Access Only” signs at both ends).

-An e-mail tip says 48th between Fauntleroy and Beach Drive, “near the Pelly Place green space,” was still out as of this morning. Just found a new P-I report on a press conference by the City Light big boss this morning, pushing back the “most everyone back online” timeline to THURSDAY. Ouch.

-Somebody told us a day or two ago about the Christmas tree caught on a Junction line (44th/Oregon). Today, after our delish stop at Bakery Nouveau (the brown sugar pecan brioche was as good as it looked), we snapped it:

5th morning PW (post-windstorm)

Sorry to see the dry weather is ending — at least rain wasn’t here these past few days to compound the misery of those without power. As for who’s still not plugged in, so far this morning, we have reports from 41st & Holly and Delridge & Kenyon. We’ve been on for almost 24 hours now, but the pocket not far from our house in Upper Fauntleroy may not be, as we’re still hearing the hum-roar of a generator in the distance. Off shortly to check on Beach Drive (the road closure as well as the outage, plus the Me-Kwa-Mooks mud). In the news this morning — the Times has a story headlined “why isn’t my power back on yet?” but doesn’t really offer any groundbreaking info (we’ve heard now about “feeders” and “laterals” about 2,086 times) though there are plenty of personal stories in this 9 am update; there’s no new info in the City Light online update, which is timestamped 8 am but looks about the same as the two or three “updates” posted yesterday (the number “15,000 customers” in particular doesn’t seem to have changed).

Monday night miscellaneous mentions

-Last power update for the night: The pocket just west of Westwood Village is back on. The pocket near Home Depot (Delridge & Orchard) is not (at least, as of our drive thru the area a few hours ago). Meantime, the sinkhole saga on the hill over Lincoln Park seems to be even worse, at least for one homeowner featured again in tomorrow’s P-I.

-While checking out the Delridge/Orchard outage, we took an unintended turn and wound up on Puget Ridge. More than a decade in WS, and we’ve never been in the South Seattle Community College area before, believe it or not … hard to tell at night, but seems like some people up there must have a heck of a view.

-Non-outage related business notes: First, Bakery Nouveau. Ducked in on its second day of ops today to have a look (unfortunately we’d just had lunch so no room for a taste). Several of the items in the case at the time looked incredibly scrumptious, such as a chevre/garlic/pine nuts galette-type thing (sorry, our culinary vocabulary fails us), slices of dark chocolate cake, and brown sugar pecan brioche (gotta stop by tomorrow morning and see if they’ve got any more of those for breakfast). Also in business notes, the former Jan-Michael salon (and long-ago “frozen custard stand”) just north of Thriftway in Morgan Junction has finally revealed its new identity … a mortgage company moving from its prior spot a few blocks south on Cali.

Life-saving information

December 18, 2006 7:01 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

If you know of non-English-speaking/reading families in still-powerless neighborhoods who might be in danger of carbon-monoxide poisoning, you might do some good by printing out and distributing one of the factsheets linked from here.

Some WS’ers going into night 5

December 18, 2006 6:47 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

Partial post-dusk survey so far: Lincoln Park Way (heading west along the north edge of the park) still out, as is the Lowman Beach area, and the southernmost stretch of Beach Drive, which now not only carries the “ROAD CLOSED” sign at Atlas (two blocks south of the tree blockage as shown in photo below) but also a LOCAL ACCESS ONLY sign at the three-way intersection by LB. Though our neighborhood and most around us over Lincoln Park have the power back, a stretch of Sullivan heading east from the south end of California remains dark. Heading out shortly to look for other pockets; let us know if you’re in one. Meantime, here’s the latest City Light bulletin of sorts. And if you haven’t already heard, those warnings about deadly carbon monoxide were on the mark; 4 people were found dead in a Burien home this afternoon.

The culprit

December 18, 2006 6:34 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

North-side view of the tree that’s blocking Beach Drive:


We have a casualty

Sometime Friday night, after the power had been out 18 hours or so, we shone a flashlight into our fish tank. Its lone inhabitant, a big tough algae-eater of the variety collectively known as “pleco,” was pressed up against the glass next to the (nonworking of course) tank heater. We tried tapping the glass. No response. One member of the WSB Posse grew despondent. Another member offered a theory about cold-blooded creatures going dormant when temperatures dropped. So we decided not to declare The Fish dead until and unless we saw incontrovertible proof when the power came back on.

As of midday today, we have that proof. Seems The Fish had wedged itself between the heater and the tank wall as the water temperature fell, and as soon as we lifted the heater away, The Fish fell lifeless to the tank’s briny deep.

Tears and a backyard burial ensued. It was a tough fish, procured from Petco in The Junction about three years ago. It outlived more than a dozen aquarium-mates, for a variety of reasons (in some cases, we suspected homicide, er, fish-icide, and The Fish earned the nickname “Psycho Pleco”). If we venture into fish-caretaking again in the future, we will be sure to secure a backup power source for the tank, in case this sort of thing recurs. RIP, PP.

BREAKING NEWS! Unplugged no longer

December 18, 2006 10:46 am
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 |   December 2006 windstorm | West Seattle weather | WS breaking news

OK, sympathies to those of you (hopefully those FEW of you) who are still not back on. But as of just a few moments ago — 10:33 am to be precise, three minutes before we arrived home from our latest tour of the wi-fi “hot spots” — our power is back on. Hard to describe our neighborhood as anything but “upper Fauntleroy” — uphill from Lincoln Park. Now begins a day of trying to warm the house back up again, cleaning out the fridge (we’d already put most of the food out for trash pickup after taking photos in case we get to file an insurance claim). And dancing in the streets! More later …