Snowbruary 2021: Capitol Hill pictures and videos of snowiest day since 1969

Many on Capitol Hill made a day of frolic and adventure while others did what they could to get by — and get around — in a snow-socked city Saturday as predictions for a major winter event played out. CHS has pictures and videos — plus images and videos you shared — from the day, below.

Light snow continued Sunday morning as eyes now turn toward a watch for a change in the weather from snow to, yes, Seattle, rain.  How that transition plays out will determine a lot about the week ahead with the city’s streets and sidewalks covered with icy snow. The city’s plowing efforts — check the Storm Response Map —  have scraped most main arteries and routes clear but sidewalks left to a patchwork effort of property owners and vigorous neighbors. Many businesses are open while some activities like the weekly Sunday Capitol Hill Farmers Market have been canceled.

Seattle’s official snowfall totals from Snowbruary 2021 have marked historic highs. At around 9 inches measured at Sea-Tac, the snowfall ranks as a top-12 event and the snowiest day in Seattle since 1969. Atop Capitol Hill, things got deeper with measurements near Volunteer Park showing 12 inches of powdery snow. Continue reading

Snowbruary 2021: A Capitol Hill snow Saturday open thread

9 inches near Miller Park (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill got its predicted blanket of snow with overnight accumulations of up to nine inches in the neighborhood’s highest elevations.

Travel is possible with SDOT plows busy through the night on priority routes and Metro switching to snow routes while light rail keeps right on chugging — but why go anywhere, if you don’t have to, but for a walk?

Collisions and spinouts were reported overnight at 13th and Republican, multiple incidents at 19th and Madison, a problem spot at 7th and James, Summit and Belmont, and Pike and Boren — and probably lots of other places CHS hasn’t heard about yet.

Sidewalks are covered and powdery. Be careful as things get packed down and icy through the day. If you can, help clear a sidewalk. Continue reading

Snowbruary 2021: Capitol Hill gets expected dusting, a few more inches likely to come — Plus: power outage, Broadway crash

Thursday night’s predicted dusting of Seattle came with Capitol Hill receiving about a half inch of dry, tiny snowflakes overnight as the city’s snow expectations for the weekend are being scaled back. The appearance of even a thin layer of snow and ice brought along some havoc with a power outage leaving a few thousand customers in the dark and a flipped car in a crash on Broadway.

Need tips on how to get around and more? Here are a few things to know when it snows on Capitol Hill.

Now, let’s talk snow. The National Weather Service says the city will get its blanket but it won’t be especially thick with predictions of around four to six inches of snow starting Friday night into Saturday:

  • Friday — Snow, mainly after 11pm. Low around 26. Wind chill values between 17 and 22. East wind 8 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible. Continue reading

A few things to know when it snows — ‘~5 to 15 inches’ — on Capitol Hill

We could see the most snow on Capitol Hill since February 2019. Or things could fizzle like the last big snow warning for the city in January 2020. With the city braced for a rare round of potentially heavy — for Seattle —  snow and some forecasts predicting more than a foot on the ground by the weekend in the sea-level city, here are a few things to know.

While there is still a lot of room for uncertainty, the forecast models are beginning to agree on good odds for lighter snowfall in Seattle starting Thursday but an opportunity for much more significant totals over the weekend starting Friday night:

It is also possible that the snow will hold off entirely until Friday afternoon in the Seattle area if the first low ends up coming in near the southern end of model guidance. When will the heaviest snow hit? Friday afternoon to the south of Seattle and Friday evening in the Seattle area. The moderate to heavy snow will continue into Saturday morning.

Why are the meteorologists so amped up? “Total snowfall in Seattle could be anywhere from ~5 to 15 inches.” Stay tuned.

Unlike 2019’s Snowbruary with weeks of freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, whatever happens this time around will likely be short lived with temperatures predicted to bounce back into the 40s after the weekend for a slow thaw.

Meanwhile, February has become Seattle’s month for snow. “In the last decade in Seattle 58 inches of snow has fallen at the Seattle-Tacoma airport. More than half of it has occurred in February,” according to the National Weather Service.

Continue reading

No Snowbruary but Seattle preparing for a blast of winter cold

UPDATE 2/10/2021 3:20 PM: A few things to know when it snows — ‘~5 to 15 inches’ — on Capitol Hill

It won’t be quite at the same levels as Snowbruary 2019, but the coming week will be cold in Seattle

With a winter freeze settling in — and a chance of snow in the city through the weekend — Seattle will open a severe weather shelter with capacity for “80 individuals experiencing homelessness.”

The announcement comes as the city prepares for winter weather and as many eagerly await the relatively rare prospect of lowland snow but also as thousands here are living outside or in vehicles with encampments formed in many of the city’s parks.

“The temporary shelter spaces will meet COVID-19 safety protocols recommended by Public Health-Seattle & King County and the Centers for Disease Control which call for COVID-19 screening for guests, expanded space to allow physical distancing, hygiene access, and increased sanitation guidelines,” the city’s announcement reads. Continue reading

Power problems from overnight windstorm cancels online school in Seattle

It’s not clear if there will ever be a “snow” day with Seattle Public Schools in online remote learning mode during ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. But Mother Nature managed a “school’s out” day of another type Wednesday as the district canceled online instruction during widespread power outages. Continue reading

Closure after heavy rains wash away portion of Interlaken Park trail

(Image: Seattle Parks)

Monday’s heavy rains have claimed a structural victim on the slopes of Interlaken Park north of Capitol Hill.

Seattle Parks reports that a section of trail in the park has washed away near Boyer Ave E and E Howe above Montlake.

“That part of the trail has been closed and crews are assessing next steps for repair,” the department said Tuesday.

CHS hasn’t made it down to check out the damage yet but the collapse comes in the area where a new $205,000 Interlaken staircase and bike runnel was installed in 2018.

“The steep slopes and geotechnical recommendations required a robust concrete structure with shoring walls and steel pilings to construct the new stair and ramp connection between Interlaken Blvd and Boyer Ave E at E Howe Street,” Seattle Parks announced about the upgrade at the time. “Also included are community requested elements – a bicycle runnel, guard rails and a switchback that connects to the designated crosswalk.” Continue reading

After longest stretch of unhealthy air we’ve seen in recent smoke seasons, Seattle forecast calls for Saturday relief


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The “Donut” sculpture at Volunteer Park last night. Through the thick smoke, you can barely make out the Space Needle!

A post shared by Jeff Green-Compass Washington (@jeffgreenseattle) on

Though the “super massive” smoke plume that covered the Pacific Northwest withstood the last bout of weather and kept Seattle socked in, forecasters say cleaner air is finally on the way after a run of unhealthy skies unlike anything we’ve seen in recent smoke seasons.

The state’s Washington Smoke Blog says the Seattle region should see significant clearing beginning early Saturday:

Encouraging reductions at Olympic Peninsula monitors today and smaller improvements since yesterday in the Puget Sound lowlands. But strong winds off the Pacific are MIA so we have take what the lighter, shifty winds with a little rain (minions!) dish out. These minions are bringing disorganized, mixed results. Some smoke from Oregon fires are now being transported to western WA due to a wind shift, and even though a lot of that smoke is still aloft, it delays the already slow scrubbing process. Expecting Good to Moderate air in much of western WA by Saturday.

In the meantime, Seattle’s air quality measures have improved to “unhealthy” levels Thursday with hoped for start of clearing Friday bringing further improvement. Continue reading

Smoke Season extended: Seattle’s terrible air quality forecast to continue — UPDATE: Rain but no relief… yet

(Image: sea turtle via Flickr)

Conditions Monday Morning

A predicted onshore push of wet weather failed to materialize Monday leaving Seattle with a forecast for dangerous smoke lasting through the week with no clear end to the poor air quality.

A federal air quality alert in place through Monday morning was expected to be extended: “System offshore weakening today,” the National Weather Service tweeted. “Lesser chances for showers and lighter winds = little smoke improvement.” The service said it wouldn’t bother to post its latest smoke predictions as conditions are even more terrible than the calculations and the model is “underestimating current smoke in the region.” Continue reading

‘Super Massive’ smoke plume arrives over Seattle — UPDATE

Seattle’s smoke-filled sunrise (Image: CHS)

The expected push of heavy smoke from West Coast wildfires arrived across the Seattle region late Thursday night as air sensors tipped from “moderate” to “unhealthy” readings across the area.

The city woke up to a grey, fog-like layer and predictions that the smoke will last through the weekend and possibly into Monday. Continue reading