West Seattle, Washington
That’s a view of tonight’s sunset from Upper Fauntleroy, photographed by 6-year-old Ethan. We’re taking the occasion to check in on the weather chatter about the possibility of a little snow this weekend. The National Weather Service “forecast discussion” says in part:
A stronger, more organized frontal system will … drop SE into the area Saturday night into early Monday. We’re still keeping an eye on the possibility of lowland snow with this system as snow levels drop to near 500 feet and possibly to sea-level in some spots. About half the ensemble members continue to indicate a rain/snow mix or light snow in the Seattle metro but have backed off slightly on potential accumulations …
So don’t get too excited (or worried) yet. Between now and then, cloudy but dry until possible Thursday rain, then two more sunny days are expected.
If you go to local parks this weekend, you might encounter the aftermath of this past week’s storms. Above and below are photos Mike Munson took at Lincoln Park, where, he explains, he found the above sign “at the bottom of the trail from the cliff to back of the pool at Point Williams, on the old road grade.” He also saw this:
That, Mike said, was “a small slide developing along the beach trail north of the pool. Some brush has been pushed a little way into the trail, and fresh gray goo is visible behind, upslope. It’s probably done sliding, but maybe more to come?” Parks crews also have been busy with downed trees. Today, we saw that this one is still on its side in the big field at Roxhill Park:
No notable rain or wind in the forecast – though note that mention of a possible snowflake or two next Friday.
So far today, the clouds are a little more ordinary than the formations Jerry Simmons photographed (above) on Thursday. But the good news, unless you’re a major fan of rain, is that things are drying out, at least for a day or so – the forecast suggests Saturday will be mostly dry, until a chance of rain returns Saturday night and lingers through Sunday until a partly sunny King Day on Monday. As of early this morning, the official rain total (at Sea-Tac) was almost three times normal for this time of year, 7.58 inches (the National Weather Service says the seasonal norm is 2.64). More good news for fans of light:
While there’s no telling yet whether tonight’s sunset will be as photogenic as the Thursday sunset photographed by Dan Ciske (above) and others (thank you, everyone!), the 4:45 pm official sunset time is almost half an hour earlier than the earliest sunset of winter.
The overnight windstorm stole the spotlight from this morning’s “king tide,” but tomorrow’s a rerun – 12.8 feet at 6:40 am. No “coastal flood advisory” alert this time, though, as the weather has calmed down – tomorrow midday is likely to look like this:
A mostly sunny Thursday is predicted, high around 50, maybe some light rain tomorrow night, but tonight is expected to stay dry.
11:18 AM: It’s the near-calm after the storm … but more than 4,500 homes/businesses in West Seattle are still without power after the outages began just before midnight. Here’s a screengrab of the current Seattle City Light map:
South of the big outage in Alki/Admiral/Genesee/North Delridge, most of those markers represent single-digit outages. SCL peaked at 72,000+ customers out and has now halved that, but that still means many hours of work, and as we’ve seen in many other outages, the work can be complicated and take longer, depending on what tree went into what line, affecting what part of the system … etc. Please remember that the estimated restoration times on the SCL map are only guesses – you could get yours back much sooner or much later.
12:54 PM: SCL has provided a detailed update here, including an explanation of how it prioritizes repairs in situations like this. It should also be noted that cable/internet services have been experiencing outages, too – we’ve heard from some customers. Those outages tend to be more hyperlocalized. We did see several Comcast and CenturyLink crews out while we were traveling around the peninsula at midmorning.
1:54 PM: Commenters and texters are telling us the power’s back in most if not all of the large-outage area, after 14 hours. The map should catch up shortly. … Update: About 200 people are still out in scattered outages around WS.
2:24 PM: Still lots of tree-cleanup work to be done, along with the trouble spots we showed earlier. Sarah sent this photo from 39th/Monroe in Gatewood:
And from Aaron, south of Admiral:
Tree trouble led Seattle Parks to tweet this reminder: “Following last night’s windstorm, we encourage all visitors to use caution in our outdoor spaces and please stay out from under trees and avoid forested park areas. To report a downed tree or maintenance issue, contact 206-684-7250.”
6:13 PM: Here’s one of the trees Parks lost – texter just sent this photo of a tree down at Roxhill Park:
6:44 PM: Checking the SCL map again, numerous scattered outages still have almost 500 customers out in West Seattle. Systemwide, nearly 6,000.
8:50 PM: About 300 more people lost power in west Admiral/upper Alki earlier this hour. Though we don’t have any official information beyond the map confirmation, keep in mind that repair work sometimes sparks new outages as crews work on rerouting/reconnection; this is by the scene of the tilting pole and downed wires at 49th/Waite. There’s also a pocket that lost power on the west side of Delridge south of Thistle earlier this evening.
9:20 PM: The Alki/Admiral outage is now at about 500 customers.
8:22 AM: Seattle Public Schools just announced this via Twitter: “Due to a citywide power outage, there won’t be live instruction today, Jan. 13. Please have your student work on independent assignments. Meal sites will remain open.”
11:11 AM: Here’s a district news release addressing what some commenters mentioned – that some educators had already started classes when the “no classes” announcement came out:
– Live remote instruction for Seattle Public Schools students is not occurring today due to storm-related power outages in Seattle.
The outages impacted about 30 percent of SPS staff and families, along with 13 SPS school buildings (where some SPS staff continue to work each day).
Based on the significant impact of the outages, it was determined that district-wide live remote instruction would not be conducted. Some educators had already begun live remote teaching prior to the district’s announcement this morning. Those educators can continue with their live remote teaching. Otherwise, families are asked to direct students to focus on independent assignments.
Meal distribution sites remain open, with the exception of the site at Beacon Hill Elementary School. Meals can be accessed at other SPS meal distribution sites.
6:39 AM: Thousands of people are still without power after the overnight windstorm that hit just before midnight and roared with ~50 mph gusts for hours (here’s our coverage). If you’re headed out this morning, be aware you may encounter streets with downed trees/wires and dark signals. We’ll be tracking those over the next few hours. In West Seattle, most of the 4,400+ without power are in Alki, Admiral, and north of The Junction; even more are out in White Center and points south. The Seattle City Light map shows the areas affected – and also shows that right now, 58,000+ customers throughout its service area are still out, down from 72,000 but still leaving crews with a lot of work ahead. If you encounter a traffic/transit problem, please let us know when you get where you’re going – comment below, or call/text 206-293-6302.
6:56 AM: The East Marginal Way/Ellis problem we reported in overnight coverage continues. Here’s a map; that’s south of the 1st Avenue S. Bridge, but north of the South Park Bridge, so if you were planning to use the latter, heads up. … Most of the trees reported downed overnight were on residential streets, but we do have a report of one this morning on Myers Way just south of West Seattle, near 99th.
7:27 AM: Big Seattle Fire response to the 2200 block of Harbor SW [map] for a reported natural-gas leak. Avoid the area. … Update: Traffic on Harbor is blocked between Florida and Fairmount, while they await Puget Sound Energy.
7:53 AM: Texter reports wires down at 44th/Andover. (Even though some downed lines might be fiber/cable/phone, PLEASE always assume a downed wire is live, and stay away!) Now that it’s light, we’re heading out to check some of the overnight damage locations – we’ll update here but you can also watch the WSB Twitter feed as we go.
8:17 AM: No online classes today for Seattle Public Schools.
8:32 AM: The tree that fell on Marine View Drive at 104th overnight is still blocking the SB lane:
Just passed an SDOT crew doing tree work on southbound 35th SW south of Othello. … Back on Harbor SW, PSE has arrived at the gas leak. Jennifer at West Bay Espresso & Smoothies says it’s their site and the culprit was a mudslide hitting a gas line.
9:08 AM: In Admiral, Waite is blocked east of 49th, near Aegis Living, with a leaning utility pole:
Back in Arbor Heights, Nate reports a tree is blocking 39th at 100th and lines are down on 41st near 100th. And here’s 32nd just south of 106th:
9:45 AM: East of Lincoln Park, two trees are down on 45th SW north of Rose, blocking the NB side.
11:01 AM: Harbor is clear, per a commenter, but the caution tape was left up across the biking/walking path. Meantime, King County Roads says 26th Ave SW between SW 109th St and SW 112th St is closed because of downed trees.
Below, the cameras we usually watch, and a reminder:
LOW-BRIDGE CAMERA ENFORCEMENT: Today is the third day the enforcement cameras on the low bridge are in use, photographing vehicles so that $75 tickets can be sent to owners of unauthorized vehicles crossing between 5 am and 9 pm.
Who’s authorized and who’s not? See our story from Sunday night.
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
The main detour route across the Duwamish River, the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
The other major bridge across the river – the South Park Bridge (map). Here’s the nearest camera:
To check for bridges’ marine-traffic openings, see the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
11:58 PM: The wind started kicking up in a big way a short time ago, and now we’re getting the first power-outage reports. So far we’re hearing from the north part of the peninsula – Alki, north of The Junction, North Delridge, Fairmount …4,391 homes/businesses per the Seattle City Light map.
12:09 AM: Also an outage of more than 4,000 customers just to the south, including White Center. … A tree is reported down across both lanes of Marine View Drive near SW 104th. … Wires are reported down in an alley behind the 3800 block of 45th SW. …. We have not heard wind this ferocious in a long time. City Light says 49,000+ customers are out in its territory so far.
12:34 AM: To the south of us, the map shows two major outages with more than 10,000 customers out [updated map above]. Throughout SCL’s service area, 62,000+ are now affected by what’s mapped as 115 separate outages. The NWS, via Twitter, says, “The worst winds will be over the next few hours & then gradually decrease.”
12:47 AM: This is keeping firefighters busy as well as SCL crews – they’re responding to more reports of downed trees and/or wires. Right now active calls include the 2600 block of 49th SW and 1700 block of SW Austin. Reminder from the NWS, “You might want to venture outside to check for wind damage. But we don’t recommend it as the winds are still gusty and will be for the next hour or two.” It’s not just that this wind is strong enough to take down trees, but that all the recent rain may have destabilized some to start with. … 7900 block of 28th SW, firefighters are at another home where a tree’s toppled …
1:22 AM: At the aforementioned 49th SW block, firefighters are reporting multiple compromised utility poles. The wind is still howling. … Some encouraging news from NWS: “The worst of the winds have passed — but it will still remain gusty for the next few hours on the order of 30-45 mph.” Also via Twitter, KT says the wind blew out their picture window – the glass fell outward, not inward:
Trouble on the east side of the Duwamish River … per radio exchange, pole/wire trouble is closing East Marginal at Ellis, and the 4th Ave. Bridge is closed. … From the aforementioned 49th SW trouble spot, Margo comments below: “We have an entire massive tree that fell down onto our house in the backyard. Plenty of exterior structural damage to house and deck, but luckily didn’t come through into the house itself.”
1:43 AM: Now a report of a tree onto a house, with downed wires, near 32nd and 106th; SFD and SPD are on the way … Also in SW West Seattle – via email, Brandon reports a mudslide blocking Seola Beach Drive. … Here’s a list of highest gusts so far tonight; Seattle’s had multiple ~50 mph reports.
2:23 AM: The wind sounds a bit calmer, after 2 1/2 hours of fury. The new reports of trees/lines down have dwindled, too. But City Light has 70,000+ customers out area-wide, in 168 separate “events,” so if you’re out, it’s likely to be a while before you’re back. (Let us know with a comment or a text – 206-293-6302 – otherwise there’s no online note about restoration time, the outage just vanishes from the map.)
6:06 AM: City Light still has 57,000+ customers out, down from a peak of 72,000. We’re working on a separate trsffic watch but in the meantime, be aware of traffic-light outages and tree blockages – let us know if you encounter any of them (call or text AFTER you get where you’re going) – thank you.
6:42 AM: Our coverage continues here.
9 PM: Thanks to @WestSeaWX for the tip – the National Weather Service decided tonight to issue a Wind Advisory alert, 10 pm tonight through 6 am tomorrow. The alert warns of “southwest winds 20 to 35 mph, with gusts 40 to 50 mph.” Charge everything!
P.S. This will overlap with another alert – a Coastal Flooding Advisory for “minor tidal overflow” as the stormy weather crosses paths with the “king tide” high tide, 12.8 feet just after 6 am tomorrow.
NOTE: The storm arrived just before midnight. We’re covering it here.
As our year gets off to a soggy start – more than twice the normal rainfall as of early today – saturated soil has slid in at least two West Seattle spots:
That slope between the 2000 block of Bonair and the 1700 block of Alki had a slide last Wednesday, witnessed and photographed by Kevin Freitas. He alerted the city, which has since “yellow-tagged” one house on Bonair. Department of Construction and Inspections spokesperson Bryan Stevens told WSB, “The slide was approximately 15 feet wide as it ran down the slope and was contained within the boundaries of this property.”
Stevens continued, “We didn’t observe damage to the home itself (built on concrete piles), but the existing block retaining wall was damaged. Upon inspection, we posted a yellow tag, which allows occupancy of the home but notes the need to repair the wall and hillside. The owner was notified to obtain a Geotechnical Engineer to evaluate and stabilize the hillside.”
We also asked him about another reader report, a slide in the Eddy Street Ravine area northeast of Lowman Beach, north of the 6400 block of dead-end 49th SW: “A surface slide occurred at the top of the slope and deposited debris at the bottom of the unopened street end. We have relayed this to SDOT, and Seattle Public Utilities is taking lead on followup, given the potential impact to their infrastructure.”
If you are on or near a slope, landslide awareness is vital, especially in times like right now when there’s little time for the ground to dry out between storms. City advice on prevention, and what to do if a slide happens, is here.
Before we let go of what seemed like an endless day – three photos we received (thank you!) – above, the sunset’s first splashes of color, photographed by Troy Sterk. Below, the setting sun’s reflection caught one particular pillar shown in Dan Ciske‘s photo:
And then, the pink peaked, as Jen Popp shows us:
Tonight, the sun will set at 4:35 pm – 18 minutes later than the earliest sunset of the season last month.
10:17 AM: Thanks to @i8ipod for tweeting that photo from Alki about an hour ago, as high tide topped the seawall on the promenade. We noted back on Friday that today would bring one of the month’s highest tides, 12.6 feet, but as a texter points out with the screengrab below, atmospheric conditions pushed the actual peak even higher, close to 14 feet:
The highest predicted tides of the month are pre-dawn January 13 and 14, in the 6 am hour, at 12.8 feet.
10:35 AM: Just received Don Armeni Boat Ramp photos from Stewart L.
Note how high the floating dock rose, almost swamping the signage:
With heavy rain in the forecast tonight through tomorrow, Seattle Public Utilities has extra staff on standby and is ready to respond to any drainage-related issues.
If customers need to report sewer backups or flooding, they should call the 24/7 Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800.
Customers can help prevent flooding and ponding in their area by keeping storm drains in their area clear of debris.
For more information on SPU flooding response, please (go here).
Drainage trouble was blamed for a lot of what we saw in the intense downpour 12 days ago.
You might want to get out and check your nearest storm drain while it’s still (semi-)light outside. A lot more rain is on the way, says the National Weather Service, and wind too – up to 3 inches on Saturday night with wind gusting as high as 40 mph out of the south. The ground’s already saturated, leading to an NWS alert about landslide risk, too. (ADDED 4:27 PM: Now there’s a Wind Advisory alert for Saturday, too.)
And if you’re near the shore – add “king tides” to all this …
Morning high tides are 12.5-12.6 for the next five mornings, at 7:56 am Saturday, 8:31 am Sunday, 9:08 am Monday, 9:46 am Tuesday, and 10:25 am Wednesday. (The tide will be even higher January 13-15, but it’s too soon to know what the weather will be like then; those will be the highest tides until next December.)
Thanks to Lori Vonderhorst for the photo – looking north from the Lincoln Park shore on Saturday afternoon – saying in her email, “Something to brighten this dark rainy morning.” The forecast is bright, too, predicting a partly sunny afternoon and more sunshine tomorrow. Looking ahead toward the change of years at the end of the week, New Year’s Eve is expected to be cloudy with a chance of rain. (No fireworks – again – this year, though, so no need to venture outside that night anyway.) Data point: So far, the calendar year has seen three inches more rain than the average year (last year was three inches below average).
Thanks for the sunrise photos! (Above, from Chris Frankovich; below, from Susan Romanenghi.) Though the days are getting longer now that the solstice is past, all the time is gained on the other end of the day, until January 6th, when the sun starts rising earlier.
The forecast is for sunshine later, and tomorrow too, with rain likely to return Friday night.
(CONTINUING COVERAGE from afternoon downpour to evening snowfall)
3:24 PM: The heavy rain predicted in today’s forecast has arrived, and some streets are swamped. Above, Frank sent the photo of bike-lane posts acting as breakwaters along Avalon Way; not far from there, Lehualani tweeted this video:
— Lehualani Shiroma (@Lehualanis) December 21, 2020
From Conner, the ground-level view of that same stretch of 35th SW:
— Conner House (@CHouse2011) December 21, 2020
3:40 PM: As mentioned in comments, Harbor Avenue is swamped too. Just received this video via Twitter:
— Northwest Urbanist (@NWUrbanist) December 21, 2020
Meantime, more Avalon:
— Joe Zagrodnik (@joejoezz) December 21, 2020
And here’s 35th/Barton, from Kersti:
We are also getting texts that California/Raymond, northeast of Morgan Junction – a perennial drainage trouble spot – is also flooded. (video added, from Patrick Wirth)
One texter says it’s so bad that some drivers are turning around, while neighbors are out trying to clear the drain(s). Just heard a dispatcher tell an SFD crew that “SDOT is swamped” – as are streets.
4:03 PM: This is keeping SFD busy too – note all the “water job” calls on the real-time log. … Also of note, the temperature has dropped in a big way. At 3 pm, Boeing Field (KBFI here) was 55 degrees … at 4 pm, 40 degrees. (added) Another look at Harbor Avenue, from Alaina:
4:26 PM: Judy emailed about that same stretch of Harbor, “Completely impassable east side between Anchor Park (estimate) & 7-11. Low carriage vehicle submerged over wheel wells so car quit running. This occurs without any warning on a curve where center planting is so no way to turn around. Cars keep stacking up and they are trapped – water still rising. I just barely got to place to turn around with my Forester.” … Also hearing about deep water on Fauntleroy Way west of California, and Murray SW (near Lowman Beach). … Also West Marginal Way.
5:03 PM: A request from the aforementioned neighbors who’ve tried to unclog drains on Fauntleroy north of Morgan Junction – SLOW DOWN! (photo added, from Frank G)
Creeks are running high too after the deluge. Laura sent this photo from the daylighted Alki end of Schmitz Creek:
5:19 PM: Almost every arterial has had flooding – Debora emails to say that includes Delridge, “a deep river with cars stalled and flooded and traffic backed up both directions given buses’ refusal to navigate the deep water.” (added) Brandon sent this photo showing why the north end of Delridge was closed:
Trouble for waterborne transportation too: The West Seattle and Vashon water taxis have both been canceled for the rest of the evening. … With the temperature dropping as noted above – now it’s into the upper 30s – that chance of slushy snow later doesn’t seem as unlikely as it did when temps were in the 50s earlier.
5:40 PM: Some paths have been swamped too – like the bike/ped path along the north end of Delridge, north of Andover. This photo is just in from Joseph:
To the west, Shauna recorded what Spokane Street was like under the bridge earlier:
— Shauna Causey (@ShaunaCausey) December 22, 2020
5:52 PM: Commenters are seeing some snow. … And a few minutes later, here in Upper Fauntleroy, so are we! (added) Slushy accumulation on a car:
The National Weather Service says that “precipitation has ended on the coast,” so as hard as it might be to believe after all this, that “mostly sunny” forecast for tomorrow does seem in reach.
6:57 PM: Still snowing here. And video from @WestSeaWX:
Quarter sized flakes with a stiff N/NE wind. pic.twitter.com/DkPR1mH5EG
— WestSeattleWx (@WestSeaWx) December 22, 2020
7:33 PM: Snow hasn’t stopped yet.
Forecast hasn’t changed yet, either. Top-of-the-hour temperature was down to 34 degrees – 21-degree drop from 3 pm.
— Annelies S (@annelies896) December 22, 2020
8:37 PM: Crews have been dispatched to check out a report of a tree down on 35th SW, south of Morgan.
9:39 PM: The evening edition of the forecast is out – still projecting sunshine for tomorrow.
11:40 PM: Still some snow on the ground (and the shrubbery).
Two notes for winter’s official arrival Monday:
WEATHER ALERT: The National Weather Service says we’re in for heavy rain – up to two inches – tonight through tomorrow night, so it’s out with a Special Weather Statement alert, warning of increased landslide risk.
SOLSTICE SUNSET WATCH WITH ALICE: This is the fourth change of seasons since the pandemic began, and West Seattle skywatching expert/educator Alice Enevoldsen has continued to lead solstice/equinox sunset watches online, whatever the weather. Join her via Zoom 3:45 pm-4:15 pm Monday; go here now to preregister to get the link. Sunset is officially 4:20 pm but Alice notes that its actual disappearance behind our mountains/islands is earlier, likely around 4:05 pm tomorrow. The solstice moment is 2:02 am. P.S. Alice plans to talk about the big planetary conjunction, too.
4:48 PM: First, two scenes from West Seattle’s shore:
Thanks to Andrew Murray for that scene from just before sunset. Below, a texter sent this photo from the “king tide” this morning as water slopped over the Alki Beach seawall:
High tide was charted for 12.9 feet just before sunrise; tomorrow morning, it’ll be a little lower, 12.7 feet at 8:22 am.
Meantime, though there’s no official alert, be aware that Friday has more wind in the forecast – similar to last night – with gusts up to 35 mph day time, up to 40 mph Friday night.
ADDED 6:21 PM: More photos of those amazing sunset-reflection colors in the east – first, from David Hutchinson, through the Luna Girls on Alki sculpture:
And from Robert Peckyno:
Though there was no storm advisory, the wind kicked up in a big way overnight, and that led to the damage you see above – Rosemary sent the photo, explaining:
Arthur’s in the Admiral District has been working since the pandemic restrictions began, to continue to operate and serve customers. It has been an extremely difficult year. A few weeks ago, tents were erected [photo] to make it possible to eat outside in relative comfort and heaters were also installed. Last night, the tents blew down despite anchoring concrete blocks. Rebecca Rice and her staff have worked so hard to maintain the business and this is yet another devastating blow to their work.
We contacted Rebecca by email to ask if there’s anything the community can do to help; she says she’s “trying to sort it out.” We’ll update when we hear more.
A two-sided sky show at the end of this long holiday weekend – a deep pink sunset to the west, as the full moon rose in the east.
And to the south – Mount Rainier was sporting a.cap:
(AKA, a lenticular cloud.) Looking to the northeast, a sunset reflection and the returning fog:
And one more look at the full sunset colors:
Thanks to everyone for the photos!
5:40 PM: After a beautiful sunset, we’re expecting the sun to return tomorrow – and much of next week, according to the newest forecast.
Right now, Monday is the only day in the week ahead when rain is predicted.
Unless it rains an inch on Monday, we’ll be finishing this month with below-average rainfall, according to the National Weather Service stats.
6:56 PM: As the sun was setting, the near-full moon was rising, and Jerry Simmons photographed it with an Alaska Airlines fly-by:
The official full-moon moment is 1:29 am Monday (after a 4:10 pm Sunday moonrise); this time, it’s the “Beaver Moon.”
5:28 PM: Thanks to Stewart L. for the photo of this afternoon’s rainbow. The National Weather Service‘s wind alert has now officially expired – no trouble reported during the blustery day – but the weather hasn’t settled down yet – if you were out just before dusk, you might have noticed the massive squall line to the west – here’s a view tweeted by @WestSeaWx:
Tonight’s outlook – breezy and showery, with “a slight chance of thunderstorms until early morning.”
6:04 PM: Daniel reports deep water on Harbor Avenue by Seacrest – beware! Also, the NWS says today’s high temperature was a record – 63 degrees at Sea-Tac.
ADDED 7:19 PM: Crews responded to handle the flooding. Meantime, Jon McAllister sent another view of the afternoon rainbow: