West Seattle, Washington
3:15 PM: The quality of the light outside is a bit reminiscent of late summer. That’s in part because of wildfire smoke that has drifted this way from Alberta. The National Weather Service tweeted a satellite image of the “high-level” smoke this morning, as well as photos of a redder-than-usual rising sun. Air-quality maps don’t show much trouble down here at ground level, though (here’s Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, here’s PurpleAir). The NWS’s latest forecast discussion notes, “Smoke should remain aloft with no major impacts expected at the surface but, could lead to a picturesque sunrise/sunset. For tonight, generally benign conditions are expected. … There’s a possibility we’ll continue to see more smoke/haze into Thursday but winds are showing signs of shifting.” As for the fires themselves, the CBC says almost 100 fires are burning in Alberta.
9:36 PM: It was definitely a summer-smoke type of sunset, as shown in David Hutchinson‘s photo, added above.
Thanks to Kevin Freitas for that photo of lightning seen to the east from his home near The Mount; he published more photos here. We’ve heard some thunder this past half-hour, and you might have notice thunderheads like this late in the day:
Jim Edwards photographed that formation looking east from Shorewood. Rosalie Miller caught pink clouds, looking south from Lincoln Park:
And to the west, the sunset was a spectacle. Thanks to everyone who sent photos – this one is by David Hutchinson:
All this followed another hot day – but the Heat Advisory alert expired as scheduled at 8 pm, and now we’re on to simply “warm” weather, though it’ll still be about 10 degrees above the normal mid-May highs in the upper 60s.
Warm weather is returning and this weekend is currently expected to have summer-like weather – sunny, 80ish! That includes Saturday, which is this year’s West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day. On the second Saturday every May since 2005 – except for the pandemic years (2020 and 2021) – West Seattle becomes Western Washington’s garage/yard/etc. sale capital for a day. WSCGSD was launched in 2005; we at WSB have coordinated it since 2008. This year, more than 400 sales are registered for the first time, and you can preview the locations via the map/list, which we published this past Saturday – the online version here (be sure to use the plus/minus zooming to see all the sales in specific areas) and the printable list here. Official sale hours on Saturday (May 13) are 9 am-3 pm, but as you’ll see on the list, some sellers have chosen to add hours/days. Starting tonight, as we do each year, we’ll publish some lists – such as benefit sales, block sales, plant sales, art sales – as the countdown continues. (You can also search the map for keywords in sale descriptions – see those hints at the bottom of the map page.)
8:10 PM: It would have been hard to believe when we heard it minutes ago, except that we had just been warned by @WestSeaWx on Twitter, that “scattered thunderstorms” are drifting this way, south/southeast to north/northwest.
8:17 PM: Lightning too! This is a few hours ahead of the National Weather Service‘s note about “slight chance of thunderstorms after midnight.”
10:13 PM: Thanks for the lightning photos! The one above was sent by Satori Noël. The one below is from Scott Collins:
11:27 PM: More photos! John Skerratt sent these from Fauntleroy:
And this one’s from Aaron Brethorst:
ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: Kevin Freitas sent his skycam video:
That photo was texted by a reader a short time ago, reporting a “crazy windstorm” at 3:05 am, noting, “I’ve never had our cans blown over in addition to all of the recycling blown all over the yard.” We were off watch by then so we missed it, but the National Weather Service notes “strong, gusty winds … with passing showers” around that time and the Sea-Tac wind gauge showing a gust up to 43 mph.
That was the scene on Alki, looking east from just past the Bathhouse, not long before sunset. First almost-summer night of the year; the restaurants were hopping, too. Tomorrow will likely be the same, with the temp due back in the 70s, before a cloudy cooldown on Sunday.
Postcard placement of that rainbow about an hour ago, as seen from the Harbor Avenue waterfront. The photo above is from Stewart L.; below, an uncredited texted view featuring the West Seattle Water Taxi:
Sun’s out right now but the forecast suggests a shower or even thunderstorm could return this evening.
11:02 AM: The photo and report are just in via text:
This massive tree just fell across 48th Ave SW between Beach Dr and and Holly. Totally blocking street. It fell on a car that was driving up 48th but they survived because the top of the tree hit their car. They were lucky to have survived!
To report a road hazard/blockage on weekends/evenings, SDOT’s 24-hour line is 206-386-1218 (or call 911).
12:15 PM: As of 10 minutes ago, when we went by the west end of 48th, the street was still closed and work crews were in view.
4:50 PM: We finally got a chance to go back over to look; the street is open.
Tonight’s sunset colors haven’t even fully faded yet, and already we have some photos in from the sky show – thank you! This one started golden, as shown in Michael Burke‘s photo above and James Bratsanos‘s photo below:
From there, the colors morphed to pink. (Photo below added 10:59 PM – by Theresa Arbow O’Connor:)
This followed a day when the high hit 61 amid a generous serving of sunshine – but by this time tomorrow, we might be seeing some rain. We’re only at two-thirds of what we should have by this time of year, so that’s not necessarily bad.
Thanks for the photos from tonight’s pretty-in-pink sunset! Above, from Brooke Gosztola; below, from James Bratsanos:
The forecast suggests a few more days of weather like today – partly sunny tomorrow, mostly sunny Wednesday, high near 60 both days.
As we edge closer to spring – 2:24 pm Monday, March 20th – an appreciation for a phenomenon of wintry weather: Feathery frost. We received these photos this week from readers who were both independently impressed by the beautiful patterns of frost on glass. KD said a discussion with a friend yielded the name “hoarfrost,” and this description would seem to verify that’s what this was.
“I’m still amazed by the beauty of this type of frost,” she added. We might not see it again any time soon – at least for the next week ago, temperatures are expected to stay closer to seasonal norms.
That photo was tweeted by @missmisti as snow showers moved through West Seattle this morning – big fluffy flakes for a while. More are on the way, according to the National Weather Service‘s newest regional alert – another Winter Weather Advisory, for 10 pm tonight through 10 pm Tuesday night. The heart of it:
Snow showers expected. Total snow accumulations of a trace to 2 inches for most locations. Isolated areas may receive 2 to 3 inches where heavier or more persistent snow showers develop. … The heaviest snowfall may occur between 6 to 10 AM Tuesday, which could affect the Tuesday morning commute.
Though the snow we got early this morning – covered here – wasn’t deep, it was wet, so you might find post-snow problems today such as that fallen tree branch near 50th/Dakota. (Thanks to Nancy for the photo.) While the snow has stopped for now, and the “winter weather” alert has expired, the National Weather Service warns that snow showers are possible at times during much of the week ahead. For now, though, the sun is emerging, and the streets that got an overnight coat of snow are now just wet/slushy. The meltoff should continue with a high forecast in the 40s. Meantime, we’ve had one calendar-event cancellation so far today – the vaccination pop-up at OLG – and we’ll continue updating the daily preview with any other changes we find out about.
(Newest images from ‘live’ SDOT cameras, above and below)
1:04 AM: After rain and wind, we’re noting that the weather has transitioned to snow. Definitely the wet snow the National Weather Service had predicted (in its Winter Weather Advisory), though, because it’s audible. The temperature has dropped steeply, too – 39 two hours ago at Boeing Field, 32 now.
1:22 AM: City crews are out – we’ve heard one of the trucks rattling past the nearest two-arterial corner.
–Here’s the map you can check to see what’s been plowed/treated.
–Here’s the map with citywide traffic cams.
–Here’s the page with our breakout of West Seattle (and vicinity) cameras.
1:51 AM: Crash reported on the westbound West Seattle Bridge near the Delridge offramp.
2:53 AM: David just texted this photo of his snowy yard at 44th and Charlestown:
3:25 AM: Though city crews are out, cameras still show snow on arterials – and we have this pic of 47th/Admiral from CW:
The forecast still calls for this all to end later this morning, so crews will eventually catch up with the main roads/highways. It’s dangerous right now, though – on southbound I-5 at Holgate, responders are at the scene of a crash in which SFD says two people have been killed.
3:53 AM: SFD just ordered all units to chain up.
7:15 AM: The snow has stopped in the past few hours and the melt-off is audible.
After another day with The Olympics and other snow-covered mountains on full display, will we see snow down here? As of 6 pm, we’re under a Winter Weather Advisory alert that’s in effect until 10 am tomorrow. It’s brief: “Wet snow expected. Total snow accumulations of up to two inches.” If you notice the snow starting, please let us know – text our hotline, 206-293-6302 – thanks!
Chilly but beautiful today – snow-coated mountains in view in all directions. Now that the afternoon forecast updates are in, we’re checking on the latest prospects for weekend snow down here.
The National Weather Service‘s “forecast discussion” says Saturday night brings the first possibility, but it’s not a sure thing – “the most likely scenario for most of the area is an inch or less of new snow.” That includes us here in the city. Then on Sunday night, the NWS says, “Snow levels look to fall to close to sea level again Sunday night as a surface low associated with the upper low switches low level flow back to northerly. It does not look to be a widespread lowland snow event but local accumulations cannot be ruled out.” With an unsettled week ahead, that might not be the last chance, so while it’s too soon to get excited/worried, be ready.
ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: The late-night version of the “forecast discussion” still predicts some snow Saturday night/early Sunday: “Lowland snow is now expected during this time, but there is a lot of uncertainty with respect to how much.” Watch here for alerts.
That’s an example of what our colder-than-usual weather is doing to outdoors water sources – not just drinking fountains, but also bird baths, so West Seattle naturalist Ann Anderson sent this reminder about something helpful you might be able to do before the sun goes down and the mercury heads for the 20s again (and to repeat tomorrow morning):
If you are able, please provide water for wild birds and other wildlife after an overnight freeze. This is especially important if you normally offer up a bird bath or water source that they are used to frequenting. They are depending on your consistency during these uncommon cold snaps!
Birds are particularly in need of hydration first thing in the morning when their water supply is most likely to be frozen. Few birds can peck through even a thin layer of ice, and going out to search for new, unknown resources saps valuable energy acutely needed to keep warm, When humidity takes a dive in cold weather, wildlife (like us) become somewhat parched, and once dehydrated, they are very vulnerable to cold, illness, and disease.
TO HELP: Simply pour hot water into your frozen bird bath. This quickly loosens the ice, making it easy to pop right out. Then refill it with warm water. It’s that easy, and will make a huge difference to cold, thirsty wildlife.
The forecast suggests we have at least two more below-freezing nights ahead.
(Added 5:30 pm: Photo by Jerry Simmons)
2:13 PM: You’ve probably noticed it’s windy, as forecast. But now the National Weather Service says it’s likely to continue at “Wind Advisory” alert level until early Tuesday. Just updated a few minutes ago, the alert is in effect until 6 am tomorrow and says “southwest winds 20 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph expected.” (If you have power, tree, etc. trouble, once you’ve alerted the authorities – 206-684-3000 for power, 206-386-1800 for road hazards like fallen trees – please let us know, 206-293-6302 text or voice – thank you!)
ADDED 6:41 PM: The southwest winds made for big waves at Constellation Park – Dene Miles tweeted some video viewable here. Also note that one more weather alert is in effect, a “Coastal Flood Advisory” for 4 am-10 am Tuesday, with a baseline-predicted 12.7-foot high tide just after 6 am, and the weather possibly still unsettled then.
(Tonight at sunset – photo by David Hutchinson)
7:02 PM: Will those clouds bring snow? Or maybe these?
(Tonight at sunset – photo by James Bratsanos)
Here’s the latest on tonight’s possibility, from the National Weather Service:
Rain showers, snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the evening, then a slight chance of rain and snow showers after midnight. Snow level near 500 feet, decreasing to 100 feet after midnight. Snow accumulation up to 1 inch. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s
Please let us know if you see snow – texting our hotline, 206-293-6302, is always fastest!
7:07 PM: Literally two minutes after we published this, thunder began. Hearing it again now as we type. And people are reporting ice/hail/graupel too.
(Added: Photo from Lacey in North Admiral)
7:22 PM: Thanks for the texts from all around the peninsula! Lightning too (which we also noted here in Upper Fauntleroy).
7:46 PM: If you didn’t get to see the graupel/hail/ice – Christopher Boffoli sent this video:
9:57 PM: And thanks to Michael Heavey for sending dashcam video of a lightning bolt lighting up the sky:
Thanks to Lynn Hall for tonight’s sunset photo! We’re continuing to watch the forecast for the week ahead – and a bit of snow is still mentioned as a possibility tomorrow night and overnight Wednesday into Thursday. Nothing major, but worth keeping on your radar. (Last year, we saw a little snow well into spring, in April!) Also noted in the current forecast – possible thunderstorms Monday afternoon/evening.
Thanks to Troy Sterk for the photo of tonight’s pastel sunset, following a day with a generous amount of sunshine. Next week, the forecast suggests, we might see a bit of snow – the ever-popular “wintry mix” is a possibility late Monday night and early Thursday. We’re still running behind normal rainfall, by the way – the four inches we’ve seen since the first of the year is just a little more than half of what’s normal.
2:52 PM: After another burst of wind gusts, the power’s out for some in West Seattle. So far we’re hearing from the Admiral area. (Our lights flickered here in the south but the power’s still on.) Not yet mapped. Updates to come,
2:54 PM: Now it’s mapped. 3,292 customers in northeast West Seattle – part of Delridge, too. … Note that you’ll hear sirens because power outages tend to set off some automatic fire alarms and strand people in elevators, and SFD has to respond to those calls. (Added – Reader photo of Ladder 13 at Salty’s on Alki [WSB sponsor] for an elevator rescue:)
3:03 PM: Note that some businesses are affected as well as signalized intersections (that means the latter are all all-ways stops). … Another standard reminder: The “estimated restoration time” on the SCL map is absolutely meaningless – power could be back in five minutes or five hours. Commenters in North Delridge report hearing the type of noise pre-outage that suggests tree vs. wire but no specific reports yet – if you see City Light crews at work, let us know!
3:34 PM: Outage is down to 1,310 customers, per SCL map:
3:58 PM: The “elevator rescue” calls are all resolved now, but at one point both West Seattle ladder trucks were busy with them, so a third truck – Ladder 1, based at Station 10 in the International District – had to be called over. Here’s a texted reader photo of its response at 1661 Alki SW:
4:09 PM: From SCL: “The current West Seattle outage was caused by a tree coming down onto wires in the vicinity of 26th and Nevada.” … We don’t have specifics on this tree but if you know of a tree that appears to be a threat to power stability, SCL does have a form you can use to report it – find it here.
4:38 PM: Commenters report SCL is working at 28th/Nevada. Here’s a photo from Chris:
4:58 PM: The outage has disappeared from the map, which means everybody should be back on now.
As Marc Milrod‘s photo shows, we had clouds to the east this evening, while the sky was mostly clear to the west. Right now, though, icy showers are moving through (as in graupel/hail/sleet/”chunky rain”). The forecast didn’t call for a wintry mix, but it does suggest tonight’s low might dip below freezing.
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