West Seattle, Washington
You’ve seen the snow on the mountains, and if you were up early this morning, you might have seen some down here. Might we see more? The first official National Weather Service alert of the week has been issued this afternoon – a Special Weather Statement:
Cold air over British Columbia is likely to push south into Western Washington this week. … After the colder air arrives, a front might reach the area with a chance of snow Thursday and Friday.
You know how often local forecasts change, so don’t get too excited and/or worried yet. But do be ready. Snow or no snow, overnight lows are expected to dip into the 20s.
Thanks to James Tilley for the photo of tonight’s sunset – just hours after all those wind-fueled waves. Tonight’s low is expected to be in the normal 40-ish vicinity, but then the forecast warns of cold nights on the way – 30s at night until Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, when 30s are expected in the daytime, 20s at night, maybe a chance of a bit of snow … “most likely our coolest temps of the season so far,” says the National Weather Service.
9:58 AM: Thanks to Lucas for that photo of a tree that fell on Murray Avenue SW near Lowman Beach [map], first reported casualty of today’s wind. (Added: City Light has a 4-customer outage there.) The National Weather Service has a Wind Advisory in effect for our area through 10 pm, warning it’ll be more blustery than previously forecast – “southwest wind 20 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph.” If you have tree, power, or other trouble, please let us know – text or call 206-293-6302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
12:10 PM: We went to Constellation Park shortly after high tide, which wasn’t mega-high today (11.6 feet):
Thanks to Eileen for sending this photo from that same area:
Meantime, further south, the Murray Avenue power is back on, according to the SCL map, but 10 homes are out on Beach Drive.
Thanks to everyone who sent photos of the double rainbow that appeared about two hours ago – here are two: Keith‘s view from Marine View Drive is above, and Jessie‘s view from Highland Park is below:
Jessie wrote, “The brighter mornings and evenings have been giving me so much hope, and this rainbow was an extra gift!” If you read closely you know we’ve been tracking that too; tonight’s sunset is at 5:17 pm, which is a full hour later than the earliest sunset of winter, back in December.
Now on to the weekend weather outlook: Did you hear the wind early this morning? Tonight and tomorrow could bring it back, according to the forecast – southwest wind, 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph overnight, 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph Saturday. Off-and-on chances of rain (although we’re enjoying a big sunbreak right now). Then next week – cold nights/mornings with “a slight chance of rain and snow” mentioned for Monday and Thursday. 42 days left in winter!
11:52 PM: After a day and night of almost-nonstop rain, a slide is reported – this time behind at least one building in the 1200 block of Alki Avenue SW. SFD and SPD are checking it out for starters; it’s reported to have taken out some trees.
ADDED 10:31 AM: Thanks to Lynn Hall for the photo:
Lynn explains, “Last night’s Alki slide is next door to the even larger slide that occurred last summer and is being repaired by the City of Seattle (plastic on slope is part of that restoration).”
ADDED 11:06 AM: Thanks also to Stewart L. for checking out the scene:
Note the yellow tape; a notice is posted warning people to stay out of the back yard because of the tree danger:
We will be checking with the city later today.
Thanks to Jerry Simmons for that view of this morning’s sunrise … a colorful start to what ended as a gray day. Still a chance we might see a few snowflakes, but our neighbors across Puget Sound – Bremerton, Hood Canal vicinity – have the highest probability. Nonetheless, the forecast discussion says we have a chance, especially on the highest hills – the Myrtle Reservoir Park vicinity holds the highest elevation in the city. The forecast summaries note a chance of rain and snow tonight and tomorrow morning. (Just in case of snow, SDOT says its crews are ready.)
While the sun was setting with a golden flourish in the southwest, we caught that cloud putting on a show in the northwest. And for all those who, like us, have been observing the passage of time more closely than ever during this pandemic year, we wanted to note a milestone: Tonight was the first 5 pm sunset of the winter. (That’s 42 minutes later than the earliest sunset of winter, 4:17 pm December 7th through 13th.)
P.S. “Slight chance of rain and snow after midnight,” says the forecast.
Sub-freezing temperatures have been scarce this winter – but this morning’s official low (at Sea-Tac) was 29, explaining the ice-skating the Steller’s Jay was attempting in the photo above by Jerry Simmons. If you have a bird bath, you’ll want to keep it defrosted it in the days ahead, because more extra-chilly weather is on the way, including what the National Weather Service calls “a chance of spotty light snow at times in the lowlands.”
As for the near-term, tonight’s NWS “forecast discussion” says: “Clouds will increase tonight and areas of precip should start by daybreak. The hills might pick up a little wet snow tomorrow morning, but accumulations should be mainly in the grass rather than the pavement.”
After that, “Another front or two arrive late in the week–but it is too early to say much about that other than a low snow level is likely, but nothing yet looks like a slam dunk for the lowlands.” Snow or no snow, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights may get down to freezing again.
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).