Officials: Call 2-1-1 to help people find shelter from cold and ice

Outreach teams from King County and the City of Seattle are on patrol around downtown and parts of Capitol Hill to help people on the streets get out of the cold. You can help by dialing 2-1-1.

The King County Emergency Services Patrol, funded by the county and the city, is “operating 24/7 during the weekend to help people who are living on the streets in downtown Seattle” and “out meeting with people who are experiencing homelessness to encourage them to come inside during the winter storm.”

But you can also help out by calling 2-1-1 to let the outreach teams know about somebody who may need help.

You can also call 9-1-1 but reports from some callers say that the emergency dispatchers haven’t treated the shelter shuttle calls as priorities.

The county and the city have increased available shelters and warming facilities through the recent storms and into next week. A roster of severe weather shelters is here.


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Pikes/Pines | Fat, sleep, and death — How the Hill’s rabbits, rats, and squirrels are dealing with Snowbruary 2019

As I write this, we’re getting ready for another round of snow, and while I don’t know how much will fall, I do know that it’s hard to be outside in cold weather. The warm-blooded wild creatures that live on the hill have to continue to find food, or at least not waste energy, despite the conditions. Unlike some species, which can shut their entire bodies down, even to the point of freezing solid, most birds and mammals need to maintain bodily functions through the coldest months. Birds don’t exactly have it easy, they can’t layer on fat with high metabolisms and the need to be light enough to fly, but they do have the benefit of being able to migrate away.

What do squirrels, raccoons, or even rats do in a cold spell?
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Capitol Hill SNOWBRUARY 2019 Open Thread — UPDATE: Videos and pictures from the snowy night

UPDATE 2/9/19 7 AM: More than a half foot of snow fell on Capitol Hill overnight in a two stage snowstorm that at first seemed to be falling short of expectations.

But with snow steadily dumping, CHS found the Hill in full snow motion by 11 PM Friday with snowball fights and sledding everywhere you turned.

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‘Heavy snow possible’: National Weather Service details next cold blast for Seattle — UPDATE

(Image: Girl Jo via Flickr)

UPDATE 2/8/19 9:45 AM: The predictions are playing out. Seattle is set to be walloped by heavy snow with the biggest push coming sometime after 3 PM and lasting into the night. Forecasts for the Seattle area remain in the 6 inches and up zone with a cold and blustery weekend to follow. A winter storm warning has been issued through Saturday afternoon. Chances of snow continue through next week with highs topping out just above freezing.

Seattle Police say they are adding additional emergency services during the storm with dedicated transport vans to take people to shelters. Services will be available citywide through Wednesday. SPD says to call 911 if you believe someone is cold and in need. The Seattle Times is reporting that a 59-year-old died of exposure at the SoDo light rail station Thursday morning during the freezing temperatures.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: The National Weather Service is predicting five to eight inches of snow starting Friday and another week of freezing temperatures across Seattle.

Heavy snow possible. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 8 inches possible. There remains some uncertainty in the details as a few areas could see a foot of snow while a few other locations may only see 2-4 inches. Windy conditions will develop late Friday night into Saturday with north winds 20 to 35 mph. Temperatures late Friday night through Saturday will fall through the 20s.

The forecast calls for the more serious snow in Seattle to begin falling Friday afternoon and some models show we could get more than a foot in the area. The storm will also be accompanied by heavy winds so get your flashlights ready. Continue reading

With a couple days to prepare for more snow and ice, Capitol Hill slowly thaws out

Residents around Capitol Hill began another day of icy — but partially thawed — conditions Wednesday as Seattle awaited another inbound winter storm and promises — and threats — of more snow through the weekend.

The Hill’s side streets and many sidewalks remained an icy mess so it was best to take it slow. The city’s designated snow and ice routes — marked green and gold in the map below —  were mostly clear sailing for busses, cars and bikes. Areas of shade on side streets and sidewalks were especially treacherous, however. Be safe, stay warm was the mantra for the day. Continue reading

Ice days: Slippery sidewalks and roads across Capitol Hill — UPDATE

A worker sets about trying to clear the sidewalk near Capitol Hill Station after Monday’s snow

First came a rare Seattle snow day. Now come the ice days. Overnight temperatures in the teens further solidified Capitol Hill’s encasement of ice Tuesday morning leaving roads a mix of slushy and slick and sidewalks dangerously slippery as the Seattle area hopes to thaw from Monday’s layer of crusty snow.

The conditions have left officials little choice but to keep the city partially shut down. Seattle Public Schools announced its campuses would be completely closed on Tuesday with many other schools following suit. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Snow day on Capitol Hill — 58 images from an icy, slushy Monday

It’s been a while since Seattle saw a full-blown snow day. Monday’s snowy, slushy, icy roads and sidewalks put a twist in getting around. With schools canceled and a general downshift in schedules across the city, many had no particular place to go, anyhow. But many others stayed on the move, while others tried to deal with the blast of cold weather that added an even bigger challenge to life on the streets. The cold, for some, withered hope. CHS encountered a man in Cal Anderson sitting in the cold snow and told him there was a shelter open nearby. His response: “I don’t care.” In addition to the city’s existing overnight shelters, officials have made extra beds available at the King County Administration Building through Wednesday while a City of Seattle “severe weather shelter” is open at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall from 7 PM to 7 AM through Tuesday.

Many businesses were closed or closed early because of the snow and ice but there were also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops with workers who braved the cold to come in and open up. A warm cafe with a good cup of coffee was a testament to the neighborhood’s walkability and public transit — and also, of course, next month’s rent.

Things will be getting back toward normal Tuesday but maybe a little slowly. Seattle Public Schools announced it will be back open for business Tuesday but on a two-hour delay. UPDATE: Seattle Public Schools has announced its campuses will remain closed Tuesday due to “adverse weather conditions” thanks to the icy roads and sidewalks. More Tuesday updates here — Ice days: Slippery sidewalks and roads across Capitol Hill

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‘Showery nature’: Snow forecast for Seattle area — UPDATE: SNOW DAY

E Pike (Images: CHS)

UPDATE 2/4/19 4:45 PM: Things will be getting back toward normal Tuesday but maybe a little slowly. Seattle Public Schools announced it will be back open for business but on a two-hour delay. UPDATE: Seattle Public Schools has announced its campuses will remain closed Tuesday due to “adverse weather conditions” thanks to the icy roads and sidewalks.

UPDATE 2/4/19 9:00 AM: Capitol Hill is beginning to dig out from an icy crust of snow and is mostly faring well if not a little more slowly and quiet than usual. Street closures have limited spinouts on some of the more notorious sloping streets and people are getting around on foot, by bus, streetcar, and light rail with only a little extra effort to watch for slippery patches on the sidewalks. Bus service has been limited to snow routes.

Buses were reported stacking up in some steeper areas like route 10 as it heads up E Pine to 15th.

One area of trouble was also found along 15th Ave E near Volunteer Park where a utility pole was reported leaning across wires including Metro’s lines in the area.

SDOT has been able to keep arterials drivable though not clear. Broadway was rutted with dirty, icy snow and growing slush-filled puddles.

The National Weather Service says the snow should be wrapping up for the day but to expect at or below freezing temperatures this week with the possibility of snow returning around Thursday Friday or Saturday.

More images and updates from the snow day on Capitol Hill, below. Continue reading

‘High Wind Event’ — National Weather Service issues Thursday wind warning for Seattle — UPDATE: 9k without power

The E Prospect “treasure tree” was a sad loss on the morning (Image: CHS)

Officials say there could be gusts up to 60 miles per hour during a windstorm as it cross the Seattle area Thursday.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for Seattle and the interior lowland through Thursday night:

TIMING…Winds will increase rapidly Thursday morning with the strongest gusts expected for a few hours Thursday afternoon. * IMPACTS…Snapped tree branches and downed trees along with some power outages.

In its latest update, the local NWS forecast says to expect the rain and strongest winds to begin arriving around 10 AM in Seattle.

A windstorm last Friday snapped trees across Capitol Hill but the area was free from major power outages while thousands in the city were without electricity from fallen wires and downed limbs.

Latest updates at

UPDATE 12:25 PM: Some 9,000 customers were reported without power across Capitol Hill and surrounding areas, part of nearly 30,000 reported across the city. Around the Hill, branches and wires were reported down along 33rd Ave and there were multiple reports of sparking wires and transformers including along 23rd Ave north of Madison. Seattle City Light is updating outages here but did not have an estimate for restoration for the areas around Capitol Hill as of this update.

UPDATE 3:42 PM: City Light is telling customers its current estimate for restoration of power for the bulk of Capitol Hill’s outages is 7 PM.

UPDATE 7:55 PM: Crews have restored power to all but around a dozen individual customers around the Hill. Meanwhile, a segment of customers that was among the first in the city to lose power this morning near the shores of Lake Washington south of Madison Park remained without power as of Thursday night. According to City Light, around 1,000 customers in that area won’t see restoration until Friday.

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CHS Pics | A Capitol Hill fall flight

The construction-covered Seattle Asian Art Museum (Images: CHS)

East Coast transplants may have finally felt at home in Seattle this fall. With a drier than usual and mostly storm-free autumn playing out, the area’s trees have sported colorful coats for longer than usual. CHS visited the misty air above Volunteer Park Monday for a more Seattle-hued look at the colors through the prism of a foggy afternoon to say goodbye to the long stretch of mostly beautiful weather. Rain is in the forecast and pretty soon those leaves are going to be mush. Continue reading