The streetcar folks at SDOT remind that the weekend detour at Madison and Broadway is, again, in effect. Meanwhile, government officials would like to remind you of just how dangerous life will be now that the rain has returned. Slow down. Drive carefully. Be ready for power outages.
- The Madison/Broadway detour we posted about last week is back again this weekend. A closure of east-west Pike at Broadway joins it.
- · Madison intersection – Water main work
- · The intersection of Broadway/ Madison will be closed on weekends until November 4th (7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)
- · Broadway will be closed weeknights between Madison and Marion until October 15th with a signed detour (8:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.)
· On the weekend of October 12th - 15th Pike Street will be closed to through traffic at Broadway (Friday 7:00 p.m. –Monday 5:00 a.m.)
- Roads will be slippery:
Drivers should dust off their how-to book for wet, fall-weather driving. The Friday commute may see the first significant rainfall in the Puget Sound region in more than 80 days. “We know the first big rain can bring slick driving conditions,” said Dave McCormick, Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance and operations manager. “This year may be more challenging because it has been so long since we’ve had any measurable rain.” The heaviest rain is forecast for the weekend, but drivers could see wet roads sometime Friday.
- Power could be flicker-y:
Seattle City Light has crews ready for possible outages with forecasts calling for an end to the 80-day dry spell that has been in place in the Puget Sound area. No significant rain has fallen since July 20 and that can have an impact on both the overhead and underground electrical systems.
“What we are seeing is the possibility of outages due to a couple of issues,” says City Light Systems Control Director Pawel Krupa. “For overhead power lines, summer can bring a buildup of dust. When it rains after a long dry spell, that dust gets wet and can cause electricity leakage or short circuits. You might hear a buzzing sound when this starts to happen. That sound is the coating of the insulators burning off. When the coating is gone, a short circuit happens, creating an outage. A heavier rain will wash away the dirt and dust better.
“The same is true in our underground system. Underground power lines are insulated and designed to float in water that fills the concrete vaults, but over time the insulation becomes brittle. As temperatures begin to drop and with shorter daylight hours, demand for power increases. The increased flow of electricity puts more stress on the cable, increasing the risk of failure. If the insulation on an underground cable cracks, any water in the vault will cause a short,” adds Krupa.
Another problem with the coming rains – leaves are still on the trees. Many of the leaves and branches are very dry and the ground has been very dry. A significant amount of wind and rain will bring leaves and branches down – and possibly could affect the shallow-root evergreen trees that are prevalent in the northwest. This could mean trees and branches falling into the power lines.
Be safe. You’ll remember how to deal with it again shortly, we’re sure of it.