West Seattle, Washington
Seattle Public Utilities says it’s working on a water problem that’s affecting more than 60 homes in Gatewood. Late last night, Steve called SPU to report a problem with a “leaky water main” near 41st/Holden. Thanks to Alex for the tip that it’s still affecting homes today. The utility hopes to have service restored this afternoon.
(12:40 pm note, we are no longer updating this story – see our afternoon coverage here)
We’ve been covering the wind-related trouble in our morning roundup but now it’s time to break it out for updates.
WEATHER ALERTS: We’re under a Wind Advisory until 4 pm, with gusts up to 45 mph out of the south. … 11:57 AM: Some are getting a tornado warning but it’s for Kitsap County, not us. … 12:21 PM – The warning for Kitsap County has expired. Whether you got it or not depended on your cell provider – our AT&T phone got it, our Verizon phone didn’t, for example.
POWER OUTAGE UPDATES: More than 5,300 homes and businesses in West Seattle lost power at 7:40 am (here’s the SCL map).
This includes some traffic signals – treat any dark or flashing signalized intersection as an all-way stop. (9:12 am update) Some have their power back but 3,500+ homes/businesses are still out per SCL map. (9:35 am update) Getting reports of more power restoration – waiting for map to update. (9:44 am update) Map finally updated – now down to just under 900 customers still out. (10:12 am update) Down to 826. Adding updated SCL map below:
(11 am update) Still 826 out, mostly east of the heart of The Junction; SCL attributed outage to a tree.
Hope Lutheran School is closed for the day.
Holy Rosary hopes to start late – families are advised to stay home and wait for word. (10:06 am – CLOSED for the day)
West Seattle High School closed – this is the only SPS school in West Seattle affected so far
BUSINESSES/OTHER CLOSURES/CHANGES: Please text or call with updates – 206-293-6302
*Trader Joe’s in The Junction is without power and closed – (11:12 am update – REOPENED)
*QFC in The Junction closed (10:57 am update – REOPENED)
*Safeway in Jefferson Square closed (10:30 am update – REOPENED)
*West Seattle YMCA – closed (10 am update – REOPENED)
*Swedish clinic at 42nd/Alaska – closed
*Dr. Peter Yi‘s dental office – closed
*Senior Center of WS – closed
*Other Junction closures – mostly on the east side of California and eastward (zoom way in on SCL map); if outage continues past 10:30 am we’ll be making an in-person sweep
Thanks for the tip. Seattle Public Utilities is repairing a water problem on Genesee Hill, near 52nd/Dakota (map). They’re hoping to have it fixed around 8 pm, according to the water-outage map. Reminder that if you experience water trouble and it’s not on the map, the number to call is 206-386-1800.
It’s not just the streets and drains but also the sidewalks that should to be kept clear of all those leaves the wind and rain brought down (ever tried to use a sidewalk covered in slippery/mushy leaves?). If you have yard-waste pickup service, now’s the time to do it, because you can put out extra yard waste for no extra charge every collection day in November. From the city reminder:
If you do find that you have more leaves and yard waste than can fit in your food and yard waste cart, SPU has you covered! This November, SPU is providing FREE extra yard waste collection for household customers, up to 10 extra bags for every collection throughout the month. Simply set out your extra yard waste next to your food and yard waste cart on your collection day.
Extra yard waste must be contained either in kraft paper bags or placed in an extra container that is clearly marked to indicate it contains extra yard waste. Please make sure your extra yard waste collection bags or container only contain yard waste, not food waste. Fallen branches and twigs can be set out for extra collection as well. These can be tied into bundles up to 4 feet long by 2 feet in diameter and tied with fiber twine. Do not use wire, nylon cording, or plastic banding.
(Thanks to Eddie for reminding us about this!)
1:40 PM: Another power outage as this blustery weather continues, and this time it’s even bigger: 4,440 customers, according to the Seattle City Light map, including High Point, South Delridge, Westwood, Sunrise Heights, and part of South Park.
1:52 PM: SCL is blaming this one on a tree. … Note that this outage is affecting more signalized intersections – if the light is out, it’s an all-ways stop. … So far readers have texted about signals out including 35th/Webster and 1st/Cloverdale; (added) Delridge from “at least Orchard to Henderson” … 16th at Holden and Austin, too.
2:57 PM: Trees are causing other trouble on West Seattle streets. Just got this photo from the Admiral Way hill:
We’ve also heard emergency-radio discussion of trees down on southbound Myers Way south of Olson, and 45th/Roxbury.
3:03 PM: If you’re in the South Alki area, a neighbor just called to say that a woman is wandering in the rain calling for help and police are trying to catch up with her but haven’t found her yet – if you see her, please call 911 with the location.
4:09 PM: The weather’s calmed but City Light has a lot of work to do – 43,000+ out around its service area, including the 4,400+ here.
4:11 PM: Water-rescue response headed to Lincoln Park for possible kite-surfer in trouble.
4:22 PM: SFD reports the kite-surfer made it safely to shore, so the response has been canceled.
4:55 PM: Theresa notes via Twitter that the 16th/Holden 7-11 is closed because of the outage. Let us know if you’ve found other businesses closed. … Also just in via text: Best of Hands Barrelhouse is closed for the rest of the day (open tomorrow 3-9) …
5:45 PM: Thanks for the updates! Most got their power back after about four hours – about 50 customers in a half-dozen-plus West Seattle spots are shown as still out.
6:24 PM: Just went down Admiral Way. Note the outer southbound lane is blocked in TWO places – not just the one by the SDOT vehicle.
6:42 PM: Spot outages continue. Just noticed a new one on the map – eight customers near 24th/Graham/Delridge, out as of just after 6 pm. And while it’s relatively calm outside now, the forecast says more gusty wind is likely tonight/tomorrow.
9:08 AM: The map shows another 29 customers added to the outage total, now 1,023.
9:54 AM: After an hour and a half, all but 30 customers are back on, according to the map. Wherever you are, keep your devices charged today – it’s still intermittently blustery.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: We’re covering the new, bigger outage separately here.
9:05 PM: Thanks for the tips! 334 customers are out of power in the Brace Point area as of about 15 minutes ago. No cause yet per the City Light map, but this is an area that’s been through multiple previous outages, and is getting underground upgrades in hopes of alleviating that.
11:16 PM: The number of customers affected is now down to 166.
9:54 AM: As noted in comments, the outage – now attributed to “equipment failure” (we’re following up with SCL) – continues, and the number of customers affected is back to 334.
THURSDAY NIGHT NOTE: Per a commenter, the power was back by 2 pm. Meantime, we’re still waiting for City Light to reply to our questions about the cause and the status of the upgrade project.
FRIDAY UPDATE: SCL spokesperson Julie Moore tells WSB, “The cause of the outage was a failed cable. As far as the rebuild project, we’re waiting for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the Department of Ecology. We’re expecting it before the end of the month.”
Seattle City Light wants to know what you think of its service, among other things. So they’re running an online survey. The announcement says, “If you have opinions about power outages, your utility bill, different types of renewable energy, and more, this is your opportunity to provide your input.” We went through it – didn’t see any specific questions about outages, but there are a few open-ended places to offer your thoughts. If you have a few minutes to spare, you’ll find the survey link here.
10:52 PM: 120 Seattle City Light customers near Seacrest have been without power since early afternoon, according to the SCL map. We just heard about it from a resident who returned home to find their electricity off. “No cause found,” per the map, but of course we’ll check with SCL Monday to see what went wrong. Our tipster reports “three utility trucks on site” with crews working “in a manhole.”
11:56 PM: The map shows the outage has ended.
9:45 AM: Rod points out in comments that the update was incorrect, the outage has NOT been resolved. Now the SCL map shows that as well as a different start time and a notation that “equipment failure” is to blame.
ADDED WEDNESDAY: We followed up with SCL spokesperson Julie Moore, who replied today, “We responded to a customer report of an outage on Saturday and found a fuse blown, but no immediate obvious cause. Crews restored the circuit and it appeared all customers were restored, which is why the map reflected no outage at that point. However, upon receiving a new customer report, crews responded again and found a failed transformer, which turned out to be the cause of the original outage. They repaired it and fully restored service.”
As reported here Sunday morning, an overnight power outage lasted only two hours for 6,000+ affected in North Highline and Burien, but 10 hours for a West Seattle pocket at the east end of the Roxbury corridor. Seattle City Light spokesperson Julie Moore tells WSB what happened:
The cause was a failed cable. We were able to rule out issues along most of the route and restore power to the majority of customers pretty quickly. However, the last 40 took longer because we needed to patrol the overhead feeder that runs through a right of way to rule out other potential issues. Due to the terrain and other environmental conditions in that right of way, we needed to wait for daylight to do that patrol.
Part of the same area was affected by an outage the previous weekend; that one was blamed on a fallen tree.
Around 1:30 am, power went out for more than 6,000 customers, mostly in North Highline and Burien, but including a pocket at the east end of the Roxbury corridor, mostly along Olson Place.
Within about two hours, all but 40 customers were back on – but not the southeast West Seattle pocket. Seattle City Light says they’re finally back on after about 10 hours. We’ll be following up tomorrow on the outage’s ecact cause.
2:12 PM: Thunderstorms have arrived, and the National Weather Service says they’re likely for much of the afternoon:
Thunderstorms across central Puget Sound this afternoon. Heavy rain and thunderstorms will be possible over this area for the next few hours. When thunder roars, go indoors. #WAwx pic.twitter.com/bNFAN2Goc1
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) September 18, 2021
We’ll be monitoring for storm effects – power outages (just flickered here), etc. – if anything happens in your neighborhood, our hotline (voice or text) is 206-293-6302.
2:21 PM: And now there’s a sizable outage – almost 1,000 customers in Highland Park/southeast West Seattle. Some signals are out, too – Olson/Myers was just mentioned via emergency radio – remember, a non-functioning signal is a 4-way stop.
2:28 PM: The outage has expanded to another 2,000+ customers, including South Park – 3,235 total in what the map designates as two outages.
3:16 PM: Some texters are reporting the power’s back – the map tends to lag so we may not get the full picture on that for a few minutes. (added) Map has now updated – all 3,235 are shown as restored. (The map had suggested a 9 pm restoration estimate – remember that, as happened here, those are usually way off and not worth paying attention to – they are just guesses.) P.S. City Light says a fallen tree’s at fault.
4:45 PM: Forecast says there’s a chance of more thunderstorms tonight, and wind up to 25 mph too.
5:35 PM: Thanks for the tip. Another power outage started half an hour ago – 241 customers are out just north of The Junction:
7:50 PM: The outage north of The Junction is down to 114 customers, and is attributed to “equipment failure.” And now another outage – at least 20 customers along Fairmount Ravine, with a “transformer fire” response at Harbor/Fairmount.
In our coverage of the Morgan Community Association‘s summer meeting, we mentioned Seattle Public Utilities‘ plan for sewer-line work at the dead end of SW Beveridge Place [map], southwest of Morgan Junction Park. MoCA president Deb Barker sends this update: “The Beveridge Place SW neighbors, owners and Morgan Community Association want to let the community know that SPU will begin sewer line repair work in and adjacent to the Beveridge Place SW roadway west of California Ave SW beginning on Monday, September 20. Parking restrictions will be in place on the dead end roadway during the job, and everyone is encouraged to pay attention to the ‘No Parking’ signs.” SPU told MoCA in July that the work would take about two weeks. Meantime, Barker says neighbors and MoCA reps also have met with SDOT “to request repair of decaying portions of SW Beveridge Place pavement and sidewalks beyond those areas associated with SPU’s pending activity. SDOT will take a few weeks to evaluate the request.”
12:43 AM: Though it’s not on the Seattle Public Utilities map yet, there’s a water outage in the Luna Park area. That’s according to multiple readers who’ve texted. 206-386-1800 is the number to call when you’re having water woes, and one texter reports they said there’d watr break on Avalon.
5:06 PM: Thanks for the updates in comments. We asked SPU about the outage and got this response from spokesperson Shanna Christie:
Last night around 11 pm, SPU crews responded to a water main break near the 3000 BLK of SW ANDOVER ST. Water was shutoff to 43 service lines to make the emergency repair. The break was fixed and water was back on around 2 am for some customers. A section of about 25 customers remained out of water due to a broken valve. Around 8 am today, a second SPU crew began work to repair the broken valve. This required a second emergency water shutdown impacting the same group of 43 customers, including the approximately 25 customers whose water was already off. The second repair was complete and water was back on for all customers by 12:30 pm today.
As promised, we asked Seattle City Light today for details on what caused Sunday’s outages affecting more than 3,200 homes and businesses in West Seattle, from North Delridge to Harbor Avenue. First, to recap, as reported here yesterday afternoon/evening – 107 customers went out at 11:30 am, another 3,100 at 2 pm. Most of the second group had power back about an hour later, while for the rest, it took later. Here’s how SCL spokesperson Julie Moore explains it:
We saw a few pole fires yesterday, including the two that caused the outages in West Seattle. After a dry period, when there is a mist as opposed to a sustained rain, it is not uncommon for insulators to track (leak electrical current), which can cause a fire. The first one was a pole at 2833 SW Yancy St. This was on a lateral line that only impacted those customers fed from that line. The second one was a pole at 3022 SW Bradford St. For this one, we needed to shut down the feeder that feeds the lateral, which is why it initially impacted a greater number of customers. We were able to restore the bulk of the customers (all but 455 of the 3,000+) pretty quickly through switching. The rest were restored once we completed repairs.
The two pole-fire locations are just a few blocks apart.
12:05 PM: Thanks to Patricia for the tip. That’s the Seattle City Light map for an outage affecting more than 100 customers east of the Luna Park area since about 11:30 am. SCL attributes it to “equipment failure.”
12:22 PM: The West Seattle Health Club is without power (we couldn’t reach them by phone so we just went over to check).
2:05 PM: We don’t know if this is related to the first outage but now 3,100 more customers north of the original outage zone have just lost power too.
The SFD log shows at least two business fire alarms have been triggered by the outage – not uncommon – so if you’re noticing emergency responses, that’s likely what it is.
2:15 PM: Commenters are noting that the new outage area includes Admiral Safeway and Metropolitan Market – a large stretch of the Admiral business district.
2:36 PM: The Admiral Theater is also among the businesses affected.
2:47 PM: The second outage too is attributed to “equipment failure.”
2:56 PM: Some customers now have their power back. The second outage zone is down to 455, and the original 107 are still out, per SCL. Meantime, there’s a crash at one of the intersections where the signals have been out – this was reported just after 2:30 at Admiral/41st, where eastbound lanes of Admiral are blocked:
3:13 PM: SCL says via Twitter that “The primary cause is under investigation.” If we don’t get specifics on the cause today, we will have a followup tomorrow, as always. The outage map shows the 455 still out after losing power at 2 pm are in an area immediately west of the still-out 107 whose power went out at 11:30 am:
5:10 PM: The original outage – 107 customers east of the Luna Park area – is over, after five-plus hours
7:25 PM: Though the Luna Park businesses were still dark when we drove by about 20 minutes ago, SCL says everyone’s back on now.
The alert is from Seattle Public Utilities: Starting next week (probably on Wednesday) and continuing for up to two weeks, a section of 44th SW will be closed north of SW College while crews fix a broken sewer mainline. The notice explains that the problem “was discovered by a private side-sewer contractor who notified the City of Seattle.” Crews will work Tuesdays through Fridays, 7:30 am-4 pm; sewer services is not expected to be disrupted during the work. Here’s the full notice.
MIDNIGHT: The outage map shows a few have their power back – the customer count is now 148. The cause, meantime, is labeled as “equipment failure.”
2:37 AM: Not fixed yet.
10:15 AM: Down to 54 customers now. City Light is working in the 1400 block:
We’re waiting to hear back from SCL’s media team about the outage’s cause.
1:42 PM: SCL spokesperson Jenny Levesque says the cause was “a failed underground cable.” She also says everyone’s back on, though the map shows those last 54 customers – but also says its last update was 4+ hours ago.]
1:54 PM: After we asked a followup question, she clarified those 54 are indeed still out.
3 PM: SCL says everybody’s back on.
Early Wednesday, more than 8,000 Seattle City Light customers from Highland Park to Burien lost power. The image above, from SCL’s outage map, shows the outage zone at its peak; half the affected homes/businesses got power back after about three hours, and less than an hour after that, the outage was down to 585 customers. But the problem affected thousands more people because it happened along a highway, closed all lanes, and jammed traffic through much of the morning commute. So what exactly happened? We asked SCL’s Julie Moore, who responded today, explaining the cause resembled what took out ~2,000 customers last Friday/Saturday:
The outage cause was similar to the one last Friday. While doing a planned maintenance project, a piece of equipment failed and the overhead pulling rope dropped down on to our primary voltage electrical system, causing the lines to fault. We again needed a clearance – when we intentionally cut power to a particular area –for the electrical workers to safely remove the pulling rope from the primary lines and then we were able to restore the system to its normal configuration.
It is unusual for this piece of equipment to fail and we are looking into why it failed. The work being done is designed to replace and upgrade older static wire and replace with a new wire that has an optic cable capability. This work is still ongoing and the targeted completion date is the end of August.
3:13 AM: Thanks for the tips. Power is out for more than 8,000 customers in south West Seattle, White Center, and beyond. Updates to come.
3:40 AM: City Light says the cause is “under investigation.” Some of the affected customers lost power in outages just last Friday/Saturday (here’s our Monday followup on those causes).
4:54 AM: Via Twitter, SCL says, “They know the cause and are working to get power restored safely and quickly.” (Please let us know when you’re back on, since the map lags – thanks!)
6:10 AM: Thanks to everyone who just texted that their power’s back. SCL says the cause was “Transformer wire fell on a distribution wire.”
6:23 AM: SCL map has updated and shows about half the customers are back, half still out.
6:50 AM: Now the outage is down to 585 customers, mostly south of South Park, though the Myers Way pockets are still shown as out.
That’s an image from the peak of the power problems we covered here Friday/Saturday. Today as promised we followed up with Seattle City Light; spokesperson Julie Moore just responded with this explanation:
On Friday, Aug. 13, we actually experienced two separate events that impacted customers in the same area of West Seattle. The first one was an equipment failure in the underground system that initially impacted ~200 customers. We restored power to some Friday evening, but the final 59 were still out until mid-day on Saturday. As you know, underground outages can sometimes take longer to identify the location of the failure and also to make the necessary repairs.
The second, larger outage impacting ~2,000 customers, occurred in an overhead system. During a regularly scheduled maintenance job, a piece of electrical equipment failed and resulted in an overhead pulling rope dropping down on to our primary voltage electrical system, causing the lines to fault. The crew first made the area safe for the general public. A clearance – when we intentionally cut power to a particular area – was needed for the electrical workers to safely remove the pulling rope from the primary lines and then we were able to restore the system to its normal configuration.
Internet-service outages are generally not as simple to quantify as oh, say, power and water, but we’ll mention them here when there are reports from multiple areas. Molly said CenturyLink is out atop Genesee Hill and that it appeared to be a wider outage; she’s had trouble getting through to CL by phone. The crowdsourced site DownDetector shows trouble, and we checked around on Twitter; others who say it’s out for them are in areas from Admiral to Lincoln Park. (We’re just east of LP and ours is fine.) Anyone else?
5:25 PM: Thanks for the tips. A “bang” was heard and then the power went out – we’re getting reports so far from the South Delridge area.
5:29 PM: A caller says there’s a wire down in trees by Delridge and Kenyon. The City Light map says more than 200 customers are out.
6:05 PM: The signal at 17th/Roxbury is out. Remember that a nonworking signal means an all-ways stop.
7 PM: Thanks for the tips. The outage hss just expanded to more than 2,000 customers.
8:49 PM: The map attributes the outage to unspecified “equipment failure.” We have a call out to their on-call media rep seeking further elaboration.
9:55 PM: Power’s back for almost everyone, though one of the original pockets – 50 customers – is still shown as out.If we don’t hear sooner, we’ll follow up f9r a more detailed explanation of the cause on Monday.
ADDED SATURDAY AFTERNOON: As of 3:30 pm Saturday, the map shows 59 customers still out, mostly in pockets along SW Roxbury. Here’s the screengrab for the record:
5:13 PM SATURDAY: Since then, everybody’s been reconnected.