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.
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 Servicesays 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.
Tonight in Seattle: overturned butane tanker followed by whiteout sleet conditions. Yep, I don't like Mondays. pic.twitter.com/pVqknp4VTk
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.
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.
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:
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.
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. Continue reading →
There is a good chance we’ll get one entire inch of snow on Capitol Hill Thursday night. It’s been a while. The last time the Hill got that snowy was December 2013 when a whopping 7/10ths of an inch blanketed Central Seattle on a Friday morning. Here are a few things you need to know if, indeed, the forecasts hold true. If not, you’re ready for a La Nina winter of snowy predictions around the Pacific Northwest.
UPDATE: The National Weather Service now predicts the snow will begin “late” Thursday in Seattle and has lowered its predicted snowfall totals. “The most probable scenario at this time is that precipitation will being as snow this evening, then gradually transition back to rain some time late tonight.”
Driving: If you’re going to drive, check out the SDOT Winter Weather map. It shows which routes have been recently been de-iced or salted. There are also a few notorious streets to avoid including John between Broadway and 15th and E Aloha. Commenters will probably know more. You can also check the CHS Street Cams page before you head out. And the CHS Weather page has the latest reports from local observations. Continue reading →
A snow morning on E Pike circa February 2011 (Image: CHS)
It’s time to admit it. The final pilot of the Pike People Street program is cursed. Though if the last weather-related cancelation is any indication, you won’t actually have 2 to 5 inches of Seattle snow to worry about Thursday afternoon.
Forecast models for Thursday are going a little nuts but there is the possibility for three to five inches of snow up and down the I-5 corridor — including Seattle. The storm could also bring high winds and freezing rain. UPDATE 8:50 PM: The situation has now been escalated to a National Weather Service “Winter Storm Watch” —
A WEATHER SYSTEM WILL MOVE FROM SOUTH TO NORTH OVER WESTERN WASHINGTON ON THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT. COLD AIR WILL BE IN PLACE AT THE SURFACE WHEN PRECIPITATION BEGINS. THE PRECIPITATION IS LIKELY TO BEGIN AS SNOW…THEN CHANGE TO RAIN. AROUND 12 HOURS OF SNOWFALL IS POSSIBLE AT MOST LOCATIONS IN THE INTERIOR LOWLANDS. FOUR INCHES OR MORE OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE. THE HOOD CANAL AREA…WHERE STRONG EAST WINDS WILL ADD AN UPSLOPE COMPONENT TO THE SNOW…COULD GET SEVEN INCHES OR MORE. THE NSET OF SNOW…AND THE CHANGE TO RAIN…WILL BE EARLIER IN THE SOUTH AND LATER IN THE NORTH. BY FRIDAY MORNING IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT SNOW WILL HAVE CHANGED TO RAIN EVERYWHERE.
While SDOT’s coordinator for the pedestrian pilot program Seth Geiser is hoping for a “little winter wonderland” to accompany Thursday’s Capitol Hill Art Walk-coordinated street closure in the heart of Pike/Pine, the Spokane native is ready for a cancellation if his department needs to swing into action for a serious storm. Continue reading →
A video posted by Kait Lawler (@thefoxconfesses) on
UPDATE 8:20 AM: Snow started falling on Capitol Hill and across the Seattle area just after 8 AM with temperatures hovering around 33 F. For now, sticking mostly to parked cars, grass, and trees, the snow hasn’t yet completely snarled the morning commute. Metro reports “normal” operations at this time. Have pictures? Let us see.
Here are a couple CHS pages you might find useful this week:
We can’t say exactly how much rain fell on Capitol Hill last month but we would speculate that it’s a pretty good bet the neighborhood kept solid pace with the record setting totals recorded at Sea-Tac.
Our October 2016 tallied 10.05 inches of rain for the month. The old record was 8.96 inches set in 2003. October featured a sopping 25 days of recorded rain, also reportedly a record.
If you’re wondering if you are living through the End Times, it’s hard to say. But “climate models driven with increased greenhouse gases show a dramatically increased amount of early fall precipitation, particularly during October.”