West Seattle, Washington
One month into fall, a hint of winter is on the way. The forecast for this weekend brings the first low-30s lows, and even a mention of frost Sunday morning.
The big cooldown starts tomorrow – highs might not get out of the 40s again until next Tuesday. Last October, we didn’t get to freezing, but we got close – a 33-degree low on October 30th.
4 PM: Thanks for all the tips – power’s out over what seems to be a wide area of West Seattle – so far reports include Alki, Admiral, Avalon/Genesee – updates to come. And remember that a dark traffic signal (we’ve heard California/Admiral and 35th/Avalon and Delridge/Genesee are out, among others) is a 4-way stop!
4:05 PM: Also via scanner, trees are reported down in the 1500 block of Ferry and 7100 block of 31st SW (photo added above – came down right between two cars) . … City Light map has just updated, 6,700+ customers out.
4:16 PM: Ferry Avenue is blocked because of the tree trouble. Screengrab of City Light map added above. … Police radio indicates there are also lines down at California Way/Harbor.
4:28 PM: Multiple reports of an explosion-type sound in the Fairmount Playfield area after the initial outage started – looks like that area now has a pocket outage of its own, 91 customers:
4:46 PM: The National Weather Service still has the Wind Advisory alert set to expire at 6 pm. Peak gusts so far today have included 48 mph at Sea-Tac. Meantime, the City Light map shows several small pocket outages in addition to the 6,700+ and 91 out in the ones we’ve mentioned.
5:12 PM: Thanks to Susan Elderkin for the photo of tree branch vs. fire that led to the Fairmount outage:
That is in the 5400 block of 40th SW. … Thanks to Jamie Kinney for sending video of wind-fueled waves along West Seattle’s west-facing shores – first, Lowman Beach:
Next, Constellation Park:
5:36 PM: Note that some businesses are affected, particularly in the Admiral Junction. In comments, Shelby says Admiral Safeway is open though out of power – refrigerated/frozen items aren’t being sold right now, so the cases can remain closed.
6:48 PM: Just drove through much of the outsge zone – Admiral Junction businesses and traffic signals dark, though the power picks up again at California/Lander. The wind has calmed.
7:01 PM: Re-checking the SCL map, we noticed there’s also a pocket of 454 out at the east end of the SW Roxbury corridor, so we’ve updated the total out in West Seattle to 7,200+.
8:01 PM: No updates yet. While we always warn that SCL’s “estimated restoration time” is a useless guesstimate, even that hasn’t been updated, nor has the cause, though the crews seem to be focused on Ferry Avenue. We couldn’t get close to the scene but have received these photos – first, from Treehugger:
There’s also a pole down in the area:
Here’s where the road is closed:
(Thanks to Susanna Moore from longtime WSB sponsor Niederberger Contracting for that photo.) SCL says it’s handling 60 different outages throughout its service zone. Meantime, though the wind has lessened, it was still enough for some sunset surf at Alki:
Thanks to Samantha Lazar – a teenage volleyball player who was practicing at the beach at sunset, despite the wind – for the photo.
8:44 PM: Getting word in comments and via texts that many if not all have just come back online. The map may lag ~15 minutes in accurately reflecting who’s still out, so thanks for the updates!
9:01 PM: The map is updated. Still 1,000+ out scattered around West Seattle – primarily the tip of the peninsula plus that pocket at the east end of the Roxbury corridor.
10:04 PM: No change in the past hour. Below is the map of who’s still out, for the record – most of the markers in West Seattle are single-digit outages, except for the two in the north, and the pockets in Fairmount and Myers/Olson.
11:20 PM: One of the north-end pockets is back, so we’re now at about 800 out around West Seattle after 7 1/2 hours.
12:46 AM: Checked the map and almost everyone’s back on, in West Seattle.
6:49 PM: The National Weather Service has a “Wind Advisory” alert in effect for our area noon-6 pm Tuesday. What it’s currently forecasting:
* WHAT…Southwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts 45 to 50 mph expected. …
* IMPACTS…Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.
See the full text of the advisory here.
ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: The wind advisory moved ahead a few hours overnight – it’s now in effect 8 am-6 pm Tuesday.
If you bought a ticket, you’ve probably already received word, but just FYI, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has postponed tonight’s park-and-watch movie to next Friday (October 16th), since we could see rain before dark tonight. The CofC also has a few tickets left for the screening of “Secret Life of Pets” in the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) north lot – go here.
6:16 PM: That was the view from Alki Avenue late this afternoon, as smoke from the south arrived. But the National Weather Service says it will not be anything like what we experienced earlier this month:
Smoke from California fires is making its way into Western Washington. This smoke will mainly be aloft and the air quality index is expected to remain in the good category. The skies are expected to become hazy starting this evening.
One of the newer large fires in Northern California is ravaging wine country north of San Francisco.
ADDED: Two views of the slightly smoky sunset – from Dan Ciske:
And from Vanessa Carr:
Yes, that’s fog this morning, not smoke. Even once the fog clears, it’ll be cloudy, the forecast says, but we might see some sun tomorrow. Along with three weather photos from this morning and last night, a few notes:
TASTE OF WEST SEATTLE: This is the second of five days for this year’s Taste of West Seattle, with partner food/drink establishments donating.part of the proceeds from certain menu items to the West Seattle Food Bank, to help prevent hunger and homelessness. See the list of participants (and the menu items) here.
(added) DRIVE-UP FLU SHOTS: All Seattle Public Schools students, families, and staff are welcome at today’s 10 am-5 pm drive-up flu-shot clinic at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle). You need an appointment – the link is here (as well as the list of other schools hosting these in days ahead, including others in West Seattle).
PEACE DAY: From Admiral UCC Church: Today “is International Peace Day. Come together for Peace. Draw, paint or photograph the symbol of peace, a dove, and post it online and in your window. We will be having a display of art at the Admiral Church grounds (today) for people to post their images of Peace there for all to enjoy. Won’t you join us! Admiral church is at the corner of California Ave SW at SW Hill St. We hope there will be many illustrations of peace displayed there. There will be twine strung between the trees for you to tape your pictures or cutouts onto. This is a great way for families to participate.”
Dare we hope that this will be the final extension? The National Weather Service, in consultation with other regional agencies, has extended the Air Quality Alert, this time until 10 am Saturday. Some cancellations/closures continue – city parks are still closed today, Seattle Public Library curbside service is canceled today, and the twice-weekly BLM sign-waving at 16th/Holden is canceled again today too, per organizer Scott.
6:33 PM: For the first time in days, we saw a hint of the downtown skyline from Seacrest while out on late-afternoon errands. Looking to the west, the sun was pink through the smoke/fog – we didn’t photograph that, but Marc Milrod did:
Dare we hope the worst is past? The latest “forecast discussion” says cautiously, “A front moving through the area late Thursday into Friday is expected to help clean out some of the smoke.”
ADDED 8:56 PM: Thomas just sent this photo of what the smoke looks like from above – that’s Mount Rainier barely poking through in the distance:
You might have given up trusting forecasts by now, since we’re still socked in by smoke. But if not – here’s what forecasters are saying: “Relief from smoke will come in the form of an upper-level trough moving onshore late Thursday into Friday, bringing widespread rain that should help clear out the smoke.” So don’t expect relief tomorrow. Couple of interesting side notes from the Washington Smoke Information website: First, if it’s any consolation, this isn’t the longest smoky stretch we’ve lived through in recent years, though it does top one disturbing category. Also: If you’re wondering about which fires this smoke is from – look south, not east.
P.S. If you’re watching the numbers, readers shared their favorite sites in this thread earlier today.
Rain isn’t always big news, but when it happens after days of sky-shrouding smoke, it is. So in case you can’t believe your ears, we’re verifying – that’s rain. We’re hearing it here over Lincoln Park; Gill in White Center reports it there too. Might not be enough to clear things up – warns the Weather Service – but it’s certainly welcome.
10:12 AM: Monday morning and still smoky. Two notes for starters, and we’ll add anything else of note related to the smoke in the hours ahead:
SEATTLE PARKS: As first reported here last night, parks, playfields, boat ramps, golf courses remain closed today because of the unhealthy air. (Added: The closures have now been extended through Wednesday.)
SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY: Curbside service is suspended again today.
(added) CITY-RUN COVID-19 TESTING SITES: Closed today, including the one at Southwest Athletic Complex.
(added) MADISON MS TEXTBOOK/MATERIALS PICKUP: Canceled for today.
Other closures/cancellations? email@example.com or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!
ADDED 11:36 AM: Though the air-quality alert has expired for now, an update from AlertSeattle notes, “Wildfire smoke making air quality ‘very unhealthy’ to ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ is expected to remain in the area through the middle of this week.”
1:50 PM: The expiration didn’t last long. There’s a new air-quality alert in effect through noon Thursday.
Two notes as this smoky weekend concludes:
CITY PARK CLOSURES: Seattle Parks announced via Twitter tonight:
Due to ongoing poor air quality, we’re extending closure of beaches, boat ramps, parks, & playfields through end of Mon., 9/14. The City is not issuing citations, but all residents are strongly encouraged to avoid outdoor activities & remain inside if able until quality improves.
SO WHEN WILL IT IMPROVE? Maybe not as soon as originally forecast. From the National Weather Service‘s “forecast discussion” tonight:
Stubborn smoke continues to hang on around most of Western Washington with unhealthy air quality expected to linger into Monday. Surface gradients remain light and this will do little to disperse anything across the lowlands. A broad upper trough offshore will send a weakening frontal system into the region Monday night into Tuesday, but models are backing off considerably with precip chances.
Any other changes/closures for Monday? Let us know so we can include in our updates – thank you!
Last night, as we reported, the National Weather Service said the wildfire-smoke-fueled Air Quality Alert would probably be extended – and now that’s just happened. It’s in effect until 11 am Monday. The alert notes, “Expect conditions to be worse during the overnight hours through this period as calmer winds will allow smoke to settle.” And @WestSeaWX adds:
It's going to get bad this weekend, see attached smoke model.
Onshore flow will push all of the smoke to our south and west into our area over the weekend, esp on Saturday pic.twitter.com/aaMKpV0eEi
— WestSeattleWx (@WestSeaWx) September 10, 2020
Wondering when the smoke will finally go away? The air-quality alert that’s in effect because of wildfire smoke is currently set to expire at 11 am tomorrow, but the National Weather Service’s latest “forecast discussion” suggests it might be extended:
Currently, air quality is considered moderate for much of the forecast area, with the exception of the Greater Seattle area, as well as near Olympia, where it is Unhealthy for sensitive groups. These levels are expected to stay in place, and possibly to get worsen if fires continue to spread. Because of all this, an Air Quality Alert will remain in place until tomorrow and will likely be extended into Friday. Additionally, we will also be monitoring the smoke from the CA and OR fires that is off the coast, and will eventually be pushed back eastward.
Also of note – tomorrow is expected to be the warmest day of the week, with the high likely reaching the upper 80s.
If you’re weary of the dry weather – we might get some rain Monday.
The wildfire smoke is expected to hang around at least into Wednesday morning – that’s when the current Air Quality Alert expires. Right now, as this map shows, local readings are all in the “unhealthy” range. This is all from wildfires that, in our state, burned 330,000 acres yesterday alone. For our area, there’s some good news, though – the forecast has pulled back a bit on the feared mini-heat wave … now it looks like three days ahead in the 80s, no more talk of 90s.
8:18 PM: After a few night of smoke mostly to the west, from California wildfires, a new arrival tonight before sunset – smoke from fires in Eastern Washington. If you have a view to the east, it was visible over the Cascades late in the day:
So much smoke has moved in so quickly that the King County Sheriff’s Office says it’s been swamped with 911 calls from people thinking there’s something on fire nearby (keep in mind, KCSO serves eastern rural King County too). Meantime, Gov. Inslee has declared a state of emergency. You can see wildfire locations in our state, and elsewhere, on this map.
9:57 PM: As commenters note, there are fires in the South Sound too.
SR-167 @ SR-410 currently closed in both directions. Fire at 167 and power lines down at 410. Crews on scene and more on the way. Sumner PD is handling evacuations where necessary. @wsdot_tacoma
Avoid the area please!! pic.twitter.com/4fpROGLEAG
— Trooper Ryan Burke (@wspd1pio) September 8, 2020
And it’s still breezy enough here that we have fire danger too – there’s a “brush fire” call right now on Delridge south of Thistle. (Update: That call closed quickly.)
11:29 PM: Here’s a visualization showing what’s in the air:
Thanks to Jim Edwards for the flashlight-beam view.
Good morning and welcome to the holiday weekend! Thanks to everyone who sent photos from last night’s sunset, seen through the wildfire smoke that arrived from California.
Nothing like what we’ve seen in some recent years, though. And as for the temperatures, the first two days of the weekend are forecast to be seasonable – in the 70s.
Monday is when the temperature kicks it up a notch – into the 80s.
Then at midweek, we could be close to 90.
The smoke is supposed to clear out over the weekend, so the deja-vu sunset might have been one of a kind.
The sun, moon, and sky continue their late-summer showing off, so we’re featuring more reader photos along with this holiday-weekend weather update.
Still no hint of rain any time soon – the sky will be clear (aside from that wildfire smoke that appears to have arrived) at least into next week.
After the holiday, the newest “forecast discussion” observes, we might even see record highs.
Weather notes – and some cool photos from this morning that came in too late for our daily preview:
Something else you might see tomorrow and beyond: Smoke. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency warns that a plume of smoke from California wildfires is headed this way,. Tomorrow it will be overhead and likely to have minimal impact, but if it lingers through the weekend, we could have air-quality challenges. On the bright side, the weather is expected to be warm through Labor Day!
Temperatures may get into the 80s tomorrow and Tuesday, and highs are forecast as “near 80” for the days inbetween.
Tomorrow morning’s moonset is 7:48 am.
The sun has set on a record-tying hot day – 98 degrees at Sea-Tac – though the Jefferson Square temp/time sign counted a few bonus degrees:
The cooldown is bringing a few surprises – raindrops, for example – and a texter says there’s lightning on the radar, headed this way.
The National Weather Service just posted this update minutes ago:
…high based thunderstorms have sprung up in and around the Seattle metro area. The concern with this type of convection is that due to their high based nature, not a lot of precipitation is expected out of them, but they are producing a fair amount of lightning, which can be fire starters. The prolonged period of hot and dry weather has dried the fuels out, therefore it would not take much to ignite some of these fuels that have had ample time to dry out and become much more combustible. The main message for the next few hours is to play it safe with lightning and stay indoors.
Tomorrow’s high is still predicted to be 80ish.
The heat alert for Sunday has expanded by a few hours. The National Weather Service now has a “Heat Advisory” for 7 am Sunday through 2 am Monday. Same outlook, though: “Very hot conditions with afternoon temperatures in the 90s expected.” Today, meantime, we could get into the mid-80s – same for Monday and Tuesday.
You’ve probably heard another mini-heat wave is on the way. The National Weather Service has confirmed it by issuing an “Excessive Heat Watch” alert for Sunday. The alert warns, “Very hot conditions with afternoon temperatures in the 90s.” Just one extra-hot day, though – the forecast projects a drop into the 80s on Monday.