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West Seattle snow and ice: Tuesday morning/afternoon updates

(THIS POST NOW CLOSED – CLICK HERE TO JOIN EVENING COVERAGE; WSB Traffic cams page HERE; links/open-closed list HERE)

(Monday photo from Alki by David Hutchinson)
Good morning! Thank you again in advance for using the comment section (and/or e-mail, or phone 206-293-6302 when you’re away from computer or handheld) to share road conditions, bus observations, and anything else to help your fellow West Seattleites get around more safely and successfully this morning – regional weather star Cliff Mass warns “(this) morning may be a real problem with perhaps more troublesome conditions than (yesterday) morning in some locations.” As usual, we’ll be sharing info, official advisories, observations, photos, etc. Reminder that our list of infolinks (Metro status list etc.) and open/closed notes can be found here.

5:50 AM UPDATE: From Jim McCabe, at Sea-Tac, in comments: “The airport looks like a gigantic homeless shelter, with people sleeping in every corner.” Metro status list is being updated.

6:05 AM UPDATE: Radio report says there are still some flight cancellations at Sea-Tac; some flights are leaving, but the crowd is still there because there’s not much standby room to get passengers onto flights that have long been fully booked. Meantime, if you missed it at the end of last night’s coverage, here’s the Times story about why the city doesn’t salt roads.

6:36 AM UPDATE: Road report via Facebook from Talani at Stor-More Self-Storage (Avalon/Yancy; WSB sponsor):

Looking Down Avalon…cars are trying it and making it…many going very slow…many still driving with chains…on the bridge in the distance we see both cars and busses going over Avalon

Still awaiting many of the morning’s “official” updates, such as Seattle Public Utilities‘ official call on whether they’re even going to try pickup today (including potentially some of the Monday homes that were missed yesterday for the 2nd straight Monday; see our story from last night).

6:56 AM UPDATE: Summarizing what people are sharing in the comments section so far – sounds like Metro bus service through/from West Seattle is more reliable this morning, in general. The city has recirculated the overview news release we published yesterday afternoon; one highlight worth mentioning again in case it affects you or someone you know, “Seattle City Light has suspended disconnection notices through January 9, 2009. Any customer needing assistance in making payments on their City Light bill should contact the Call Center as soon as possible to make arrangements. Customers can call (206) 684-3000 Monday – Friday to talk with a representative.” Also – We’re monitoring citywide traffic reports via radio, scanner, and Web, no major problems so far.

7:07 AM UPDATE: JayDee just texted from his bus – “56 at seven (am) running, whew.” More evidence the bus service is doing better. The arterials mentioned so far in comments sound better too; the corner nearest us (California/Thistle) also has the sound of faster driving this morning – going out in a bit for a photo.

7:35 AM UPDATE: Another text from JayDee – 56 still going well but “of course (standing room only) since California.” Another public-service reminder: If you haven’t cleared your storm drains and checked your downspouts – more melting is likely today – it’s an important thing to do. Especially given the likelihood of more stormy weather on the way, one way or another – just noticed that Cliff Mass actually filed a significant update fairly late last night, not only with his thoughts about more snow on the way, but also his opinions on the snow-removal issue. He concludes:

I am no economist…but image if the city had 3x more snowplows and could keep the roads in far better shape. What is that worth? Tomorrow the UW is closing for a second day. Image the cost of that in lost productivity…certainly tens or hundreds of thousands of productivity lost. What about the loss of business to retail? Any reasonable analysis should reveal that better snow removal capabilities would be a extraordinary investment.

8:21 AM UPDATE: Seeing some snow-related items popping up in the West Seattle CL items that you can find on our “More” page any time (first half of the page is regional news coverage mentioning West Seattle or The Viaduct; second half is the latest 50 CL posts tagged West Seattle; both are automated feeds so they’re continuously updated (see ’em here). More reading suggestions – we published a few non-snow stories last night and added to the “amazing snow creations” post, so scroll further down the home page if you get bored!

8:50 AM UPDATE: Radio reports about downtown hills say some are still shut down, like Cherry (very steep near City Hall). Otherwise, traffic volumes are down regionally. Photo traffic’s slow this morning so we have a few more to share from Monday – Creighton sent this one:

And Paul sent this one, an example of bright color amid the white snow and gray sky:

9 AM UPDATE: Report from outside – “it’s trying to snow” and “on the sidewalk, where it’s been cleared, it’s icy, where it hasn’t, it’s packed snow.” The snow that’s trying to fall is VERY light, though. The forecast has a “winter storm watch” in effect starting late tonight. Meantime, word via radio, Greyhound has suspended service for the third straight day.

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