Capitol Hill, you’re getting a Winter Weather Advisory for Christmas — UPDATE

UPDATE 12/25/2017 10:52 AM: A nice blanket of fluffy white snow is slowly turning to a more worn and torn covering as temperatures tick up and the snowfall has passed. It’s a white Christmas on Capitol Hill. We’ve selected some of our favorite images from the crowd to share. If you have more, let us know in comments. The National Weather Service says while the snow has passed, expect freezing temperatures and ice overnight. With Capitol Hill’s sidewalks already turned mostly from charming to sopping messy slush, watch your step.

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‘High Wind Warning’ — Forecast says gusty Monday in store for Seattle — UPDATE: Power out to more than 11K around Capitol Hill

Lights out for QFC

UPDATE 11/13/2017: Above, scenes from a darkened Broadway. More on the night’s power outages, below.
UPDATEx2 11/14/2017: More than 3,000 were still without power Tuesday morning around the Hill — many of them around the Summit Ave area of the Hill. More updates below.

Original Report 11/13/2017 8:57 AM: Batten down the hatches. And charge your mobile devices. The National Weather Service says wild winds will whip western Washington Monday afternoon:

A “High Wind Warning” has been issued for the Puget Sound and Seattle through 9 PM:

* WIND…South 25 to 40 mph with gusts TO 60 or 65 mph.

* SOME AFFECTED LOCATIONS…The I-5 metro corridor from Lewis
county north to Snohomish county. Includes the greater Seattle
area, Bellevue, Tacoma, Bremerton, and Olympia.

* TIMING…Late this morning through early this evening.

* IMPACTS…Falling trees and limbs, power outages, and minor
damage to structures.

While the grid serving Capitol Hill is about as stout as they come thanks to work to move wires underground, big infrastructure investments for Capitol Hill Station, the ongoing development in the area, and First Hill’s medical services core, the leafier edges of the neighborhood and surrounding areas like the Central District have plenty of water-soaked trees and branches.

We’ll be on the watch for any power issues. The Seattle City Light Status page is here. Let us know what you’re seeing. You can check out area streets on the CHS traffic cameras page and see current conditions including recent wind speed readings on the CHS weather page.

UPDATE 4:50 PM: With winds peaking just before 5 PM, Seattle Fire was responding to reported wires down on Belmont Ave at E Olive Way after a tree or branch fell in the area. There were reports of a transformer explosion and wires down across a few parked vehicles in the area. Meanwhile, a tree took down utility lines at 22nd and Prospect around the same time. Continue reading

Novemberrrr 3rd? Morning snow on Capitol Hill

Snow fell on Capitol Hill this year before the leaves did. Here is what it looked like just before 6 AM Friday morning:

With surface temperatures mostly too warm for sticking, any morning accumulation was mostly limited to grass and Halloween decorations. Just for example, here is what happened the last time Seattle experienced early snowfall in October of 1971:

The National Weather Service expects this current cold snap to last the weekend with the snow level occasionally dropping to 500 feet or lower around the Puget Sound. You can check out hyperlocal conditions on the CHS weather page and get a look at the streets around Capitol Hill on the CHS Traffic Cams page.

CHS Pics | March showers bring Capitol Hill rain gardens

It has been an abnormally rainy start to spring for Seattle with rainfall more than double your typical wet and dreary Pacific Northwest March. You can learn how to put that extra rainfall to work for flowers and plants at a Meet-a-RainWise Contractor Fair coming up in April at Madison Valley’s City People’s:

Meet-a-RainWise Contractor Fair

We found this “RainWise” garden in motion along 19th Ave E. The joint city and county program helps take some of the burden off its taxed sewer system by providing rebates that cover “most or all” of the cost of installing cisterns and rain gardens. “To receive a rebate, you must live in an eligible combined sewer overflow basin,” reads the fine print. You can learn more here.

New owners have got the garden store looking good again (Image: City People's)

New owners have got the garden store looking good again (Image: City People’s)

Meanwhile, we reported here on the interim rebirth of City People’s following delays of the mixed-use grocery and apartments project being planned to replace the garden store. Meet the new owners Alison Greene and Jose Gonzales:

Longtime employees Alison and Jose are the new owners of City People’s Garden Store. Jose has been working at the Garden Store since 1998 as the Annuals Buyer, and Alison started in 2003 becoming a Manager and the Tree & Shrub Buyer. The two worked closely with former owners Steve Magley and Dianne Casper to move the business forward.

With small slide below Interlaken, soggy March brings landslide concerns

An unbelievably soggy March has neighbors in the sloping areas on the north of Capitol Hill worried about landslides.

A small slide closed 14th Ave E between Boyer and Lynn to through traffic Saturday morning. With continuing rains, you can expect to see more mud.

March has already reached its average rainfall totals following weeks of even wetter than usual weather around Seattle.

CHS has reported on small slides over the years and concerns about the slopes of northern Capitol Hill and around Interlaken Park. Our nature writer documented the landslide risk of the area in 2014 including the Hill’s geologic past of glacial till and water-pooling clay:

Then we come in. The grade is altered, creating new faults. Hills are denuded of trees, which hold slopes and mitigate flooding. Barriers to natural water flow diverts it toward unforeseen consequences. People understandably want views and build on cliffs, changing the loads on hills. Generally things more even more unstable. West Capitol Hill, Interlaken, North Capitol Hill. Slides every decade going back in our modern record. I won’t tally the slides in Hill history — that would take too long.

For the most part, recent slides have been mostly limited in damage. In 2011, cracks from the sliding hillside forced an indefinite closure of Interlaken Drive. It reopened after repairs five months later.

Post mid-winter break snow open thread — UPDATE: #THUNDERSNOW

Forecasters were convinced any accumulations would be minor but snow was falling and sticking Monday morning across Capitol Hill and parts of Seattle. There were no immediate reports of bus changes or school closures.

The National Weather Service says the snow should change to rain later this morning but we should be ready for pockets of snowfall over the coming night and morning:

Snow levels will remain rather low (below 500 feet across
most areas from Seattle northward Monday morning and again late  tonight and Tuesday morning – and around 1000 feet during the  afternoon and evening hours). But to complicate things, heavier  showers will locally lower the snow level and showers may contain  small hail, if not snow. Snow in the lowlands, if it occurs, is  not expected to accumulate as near-surface temperatures during  the precipitation remains above freezing. But, heavier showers can have a way of giving a local accumulation that is impossible to pinpoint beyond an hour or two.

There has been no update yet from Seattle Public Schools. Parents are probably keeping a close watch for any delays or closures as kids are slated to return to school after the district’s mid-winter break.

UPDATE 3:50 PM: #THUNDERSNOW. One of those unpredictable pockets produced a few bolts of lightning, hail, and fluffy snowflakes in miserable, cold, wet mix that is expected to continue through the already mangled evening commute. Meanwhile, we’re getting reports of vehicles stuck on some of Capitol Hill’s slopes including Pine at 14th, and Madison at 19th.

Spinning wheels on Capitol Hill ❄️#ithinkican

A post shared by Kris Knowles (@kris92086) on

Capitol Hill Super Snow LI open thread

UPDATE 2/6/17 1:20 PM: The wet snow has been taking a toll on utility wires through the day but the pace has picked up a bit with reports coming in of wires down in various areas around Capitol Hill but, so far, no interruption in electricity services. Many of the wires have been for cable service keeping Comcast technicians busy. Cracking branches are also a problem so watch your head. One group of helpful citizens was captured on video, above, helping to keep 15th Ave E clear. Thanks to Julie for sharing the video with us. SDOT’s crews, meanwhile, along with City Light and Seattle Public Utilities have kept the city from coming to a standstill.

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CHS Pics | Capitol Hill — and its living building — soak up chilly January sun

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

With highs in the 30s, Seattle’s La Nina January has started the year off with a chill. But the sharpest cold has also coincided with sunny, clear days. That’s good news for Capitol Hill living building the Bullitt Center where the solar arrays have been collecting about 43% of the office building’s energy needs from the sky.

The solar powered start to 2017 continues a trend. In 2016, the building generated more power than it used:

The Bullitt Center opened at 15th and Madison in 2013 and is still considered one of the greenest office buildings in the world. In October, CHS reported on efforts to kickstart the city’s Living Building incentive program to encourage more projects like the Bullitt. Capitol Hill is also home to 10th Ave E’s Bertschi School and its Living Science Building. Meanwhile, the next big green project on the horizon on Capitol Hill is slated to rise at 13th and Pike where plans are moving forward for Seattle’s first Passive House-certified mixed-use project.

Return of #seasnow open thread: Capitol Hill pictures, video, etc.

Enjoy it while it lasts. Snow fell on Capitol Hill Thursday night in what looks likely to be the heaviest snowfall the area has seen since 2013 — like we reported earlier this week, the low bar is 7/10ths of an inch. The moment the heavy flakes first fell just before 8 PM likely put a few smiles on the face of local meteorologists. The weather folks took a decent social media beating in the wake of predictions of an October windstorm that fell far short of the headlines and continued criticism this week as forecasted snow totals for the Seattle area fell from 4 to 5 inches to 1 inch or even none. Tonight’s snow is predicted to give way to rain overnight and a sloppy but snow-free morning commute — but we’ll see.

A dozen or so things to know when it snows — even an inch — on Capitol Hill

In the meantime, we’ll collect a few pictures and notes here on the novel night. With La Nina around, this might be the first of many snow nights this winter but, for now, we’ll give the return of more serious #seasnow a little extra attention.
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