West Seattle, Washington
Here’s what the local meteorologists at the National Weather Service posted late this afternoon. Seems like the crux of this is the fact that cold air is moving in, and it’s going to collide with what the NWS calls a “weak system” – so we’re not necessarily looking at Snow Panic ’07.
Didn’t happen the other day. Maybe it won’t happen this time. But you never know, so we are duty-bound to pass along the city’s “we’re getting ready just in case” press release, as well as the latest forecast, which says there might be a little snow tomorrow afternoon/evening; a few flakes might be extra-festive for tomorrow night’s West Seattle Christmas Tree Lighting (Farmers’ Market parking lot, with Dickens Carolers @ 5:30 pm and tree-lighting ceremony beginning @ 6, more details to come in the West Seattle Weekend Lineup, posting here by 2 pm) during Hometown Holidays in The Junction. Bundle up (and bring Warm Clothes Drive donations to help others do the same).
… Sunday may be another story. Here’s the updated “forecast discussion.”
You may have heard the first stirrings of Snow Suspicions ’07. Here’s a link to the National Weather Service‘s updated forecast (posted at 3:30 pm) – the outlook for the metro area says “local accumulations of an inch or so (are) possible, mainly on hilltops away from the water.” The “forecast discussion” further refines the metro outlook to “Seatac southward” — but you just never know until it hits (or doesn’t). By the way, we had a “snow day” exactly one year ago today; go to our November ’06 archive page and scroll down a bit to read the 11/28/06 posts. (No photos, sorry, we weren’t camera-equipped way back then!)
We feel quite lucky to be able to share excellent photographs with you from this photogenically stormy day. Our newest three are from longtime West Seattle photojournalist Matt Durham (his new collaboration with WSB is noted here) — two more from the spray-riffic Constellation Park zone, and then a third reminding us why today was a “holiday” in the first place — Matt’s captions are beneath each photo:
Cold spray from white-capped waves greeted adventure-goers at Constellation Park just south of Alki Point. Waves slammed into the sea wall during an afternoon middle tide.
This motorcyclist has a cold ride home after soaking his clothes in the spray of today’s wind-driven waves along Constellation Park.
Two flags were set for our veterans at Forest Lawn Cemetery (map) today. In years past, volunteers used to line every veteran’s headstone with an American Flag in a gesture of thanks and appreciation.
(Prints of Matt’s WSB photos and his other work are available through his site, MattDurhamPhotography.com.)
When you think about the Seattle Fire Department fireboats – the first image that comes to mind may be those beautiful pastoral summertime shots of the boats spraying lovely arcs of water at the Maritime Festival or similar occasions. And then, there’s this:
Yes, that’s the fireboat Leschi, photographed by Eric Bell off Constellation Park today — here’s another of Eric’s shots, from a moment when it wasn’t quite so swamped:
Just in from Adam on Alki – taken at the popular wave-viewing spot along Beach Drive south of Alki Point (north end of Constellation Park):
Thanks to Adam for sending us photos; we’d love to see yours, any time! 3:05 PM UPDATE: The National Weather Service just canceled the High Wind Warning for our area – looks like the worst of the storm hit everywhere BUT the Seattle urban area – we got lucky this time.
A camera-wielding WSB’er headed out to look for signs of storm trouble — and returned with the photo you see above. If there’s anything more dramatic happening around WS, we haven’t seen or heard about it yet. We went down to Beach Drive south of Alki Point, where the tv reporters have been trying their hardest this midday to look windblown, but it wasn’t much different from the conditions we captured on video yesterday afternoon. Nonetheless, we won’t get complacent yet, as the National Weather Service’s High Wind Warning remains up till 4 pm. Here are a couple links we mentioned earlier, repeated by popular demand: City update on power outages here; current Alki Point windspeed here. 2:15 PM ADDENDUM: Traffic notes – there’s a Seahawks Monday Night Football game tonight, so beware if you have to drive through downtown/Sodo (at least the traffic is reduced with many people being off work/school today); also, traffic at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal might be heavier today because the Bremerton-Seattle run is down to one boat.
Thanks to Lou for pointing out the upgrade in the Weather Service alert: Our area is now under a High Wind Warning till 4 pm today. For anyone interested in the hyper-geeky detailed meteorological information, here’s the link for the Weather Service’s latest Forecast Discussion, usually updated four times daily (mid-morning, mid-afternoon, mid-evening, early morning).
Hope you are able to stay home and stay safe on this Veterans’ Day just in case the wind does indeed kick up as the forecast suggests: High Wind Watch up from 10 am-4 pm in the metro area (latest forecast here), right now projecting south wind 30-40 miles per hour during that time with possible gusts to 60. There’s been a power outage already, according to the city’s updated list (link here): described as fewer than 100 customers, North-South boundaries are Edmunds to Brandon, East-West is Beach Drive to 49th, start time 5 am. Let us know what’s happening where you are as the day goes on – photos welcome too. 8:45 AM ADDENDUM: Greg sends this link for current wind speed at Alki Point (usually the gustiest in WS). 10:10 AM UPDATE: The power outage link above no longer lists any West Seattle outages; an extensive Burien outage from earlier is described as “100% restored.” Timely reminder — this Thursday night, the city has a SNAP (Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare) class at Alki Community Center, 7 pm, with lots more info to help you get ready for power outages, earthquakes, you name it (read more here).
Think the wind’s been a little wild the last 12 hours or so? Forecast says tomorrow will be even windier — with a high-wind watch now up, and talk of possible gusts to 60 mph in late morning — though here’s hoping the sustained winds will not be October 18-like. (By the way, while the mental image of a blown-into-the-street garbage-can lid is flying by, it’s a good time to note that recycling/trash/yard waste picks up as usual tomorrow even though it’s a government/bank/parking holiday tomorrow.) 5:55 PM ADDENDUM: For those who didn’t make it down to the water today, here’s a little video from the waterfront stairs on the north end of Schmitz Viewpoint along Beach Drive — nothing spectacular but you can hear the wind and see some spray:
More detailed declarations are out today from various local/regional government agencies saying they are all set to handle whatever winter throws at them (oh, say, something icy like the weather that led to the scene below in Upper Fauntleroy last January). Here’s what the state says; here’s what the county says; and here’s how the city puts it. There are some specifics of interest, including, from the county press release: “Through an effort spearheaded by the King County Department of Transportation, cities all across the county have teamed up with Metro Transit and the county’s Roads Services Division to more closely link priority snow removal routes with bus routes.” And from WSDOT’s press release: “This year WSDOT has: installed new, more reliable wind sensors on the SR 520 and I-90 bridges; added new supply stockpiles at locations closer to the roads they serve; added more deicer capacity to dozens of trucks; provided hand-held road temperature sensors to dozens of drivers; incorporated transit routes into snow removal plans; sent more staff to snow college to become better trained in snow fighting; cross-trained additional staff to work in the emergency operations center and serve as plow truck operators Incident Response Team members.” The various agencies also are teaming up on the Take Winter by Storm website. No early November storm in sight at this point, knock wood; the forecast for Friday and beyond looks promising.
Before the next round of bad weather smacks us again, two things: First — Two reader recommendation requests, related to roofs. Second — some nice pix from today. We start with the RRRs:
Trevor writes: “The recent wind storm has jiggled a skylight on our roof and now it’s leaking” and is looking “for a reliable West Seattle handyman who isn’t afraid of heights.”
Michell is dealing with roof leaks and writes, “I am looking for a roofing company in West Seattle. Good work and good prices.”
All recommendations in the comments, please. And now – to balance those gray memories of last week’s stormy weather — three photos taken during the glorious afternoon sunshine:
All photos by WSB contributing photographer Christopher Boffoli; the last one, if you were wondering, features the Seattle Fire Department’s Ladder 11 team, training this afternoon near Jack Block Park.
West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician just promised (as detailed in a city press release here) that if anything like last December’s storm happens again this year, we won’t all be left in the dark for so long, literally OR figuratively. Meantime, the storm-related repairs that have been 10 months in the making are finally under way at the Thistle/Northrop sinkhole (full details here) — the heavy equipment arrived a couple hours ago:
Not mega-bad but still formidable wind, plus sideways rain, right now. Weather Service’s forecast warns of showers, isolated thunderstorms, and maybe even (more) “small hail.” (Hope the Lafayette Walk-a-Thon kids have moved into the gym or put things on hold by now?) 12:11 PM UPDATE: Just heard thunder.
Now that power and cable are back for people in the south Morgan Junction/west Gatewood area that was without power till about 5:30 this morning, we seem to have learned about the culprit. Area resident Vlad Oustimovitch sent the photo above (thank you!), explaining it was “a large Big Leaf Maple tree that came down on the 4000 block of SW Orchard Street at 4:15 pm yesterday. It tore out the power and cable lines and blacked out the whole street, and I suspect other streets as well. Nobody was hurt, but there are skid marks 10 feet away from the downed tree where a car driving on the street was almost crushed. I came down soon after, and the driver was shaking as he looked at what just missed him. Crews were out early in the morning and had the street cleared and power on by 5:35 am. Impressive job, they did it all in the dark. Cable was restored a few hours after that.” 5:25 PM ADDITION: One more case of “When Trees Attack!” from yesterday’s storm. Hotwire Coffee proprietor Lora Vickrey e-mailed this photo of the tree that came down outside the Junction post office. Nobody hurt, Lora reports, but some folks passing by at the time were shaken up!
Took one more spin through Fauntleroy/California a short time ago – still out – no City Light crews in sight (but Comcast had a couple trucks a few blocks south). The City Light site says 10,000 people citywide were still in the dark as of 10:30. 11:22 PM UPDATE: One more outage that seems not to be on the city website:Read More
Just got this uploaded; we shot it at the height of the wind craziness:
Just drove through Fauntleroy/California – intersection’s out, most businesses at that spot dark (Thriftway appears to still be on generator power), the businesses along California south of Fauntleroy are out too (Caffe Ladro, Subway, Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc.) though there’s spotty power on some parts of the left side of the street (like the Watermarke condo conversion). Full power picks up right after Seattle International Baptist Church. Going out in a bit to survey the waterfront areas. No wind left, at least. P.S. The City Light outage page doesn’t mention the entirety of this outage – it mentions Myrtle to Othello/38th to 40th (west slope of Gatewood) and Spokane to Charlestown/53rd to 55th.
Some areas of West Seattle are now into a phase of off-and-on-again outages. We will be in transit for a while and checking things out so leaving this post for an “open thread” on what’s happening where you are.
Newest information first: 5:55 PM: The number of people affected by outages in Seattle is starting to drop, so while there’s no definite estimate for when everyone in WS will be back, that’s promising. Watching the barometer suggests the worst is over. 5:30 PM: In addition to the Fauntleroy/California intersection, we saw power out to at least the Seattle International Church vicinity a few blocks south, at last drive-past. 5:26 PM: Comcast cable internet service is out in at least one Upper Fauntleroy neighborhood. 5:18 PM: West Seattle outages on the city list total more than 10,000 homes/businesses. Also — great wave pix up at Beach Drive Blog. 5:00 PM: Power is back on at High Point Community Center. 4:40 PM: Qwest DSL service is reported down in at least one neighborhood near The Junction, though the land-line phones are still working. 4:32 PM: Power is out at the Fauntleroy/California intersection in Morgan Junction. 4:19 PM: Thanks to reader Margelyn for providing the City Light link to the latest outage list. Also, here’s the latest Weather Service “forecast discussion” – analysis to come. 4:14 PM: Update from the City Light hotline, more than 3,300 households/businesses are reported out in various areas of south and east WS; SCL doesn’t know when the power will be restored. 3:59 PM: Adding photo below this post showing tipping power pole that caused the wire trouble on Thistle. Also, report of power out in the High Point Community Center vicinity – activities are still happening but if the power’s not back by dark evening activities might be in jeopardy. 3:50 PM: From reader M, “Stoplights are out starting at Barton & 35th to at least Trenton & 35th (probably further but that is my turn). Arbor Hts Elementary 35th & 104th lost power about 3:15.” 3:25 PM: Reports of tree trouble in The Junction, including one near the Post Office and one in front of Seattle Fish. EARLIER: Washington State Ferries says power is restored at the Fauntleroy dock … City Light has reported various outages on the south side of West Seattle … City 911 reports “wires down” at 4615 SW Thistle, which is just east of Lincoln Park. NOTE: If you have photos of fallen trees or anything else weather-related, please send them in. We will be out and about getting some too, but yours are the best WSB eyes, ears, and cameras!
At least one Weather Service update predicted 2 pm, and indeed, that’s when things kicked up. You can monitor windspeeds here (includes a link explaining the station names; KBFI is Boeing Field and K91S is Alki Point). One comment on our previous post says there’s power out somewhere near Lincoln Park. Also, we have a storm-related bulletin from elsewhere in south WS: The goats coming to Gatewood Elementary to munch invasive ivy are delaying their arrival till tomorrow because of the weather, but everything should be great for the big highlight event on Saturday.