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 →
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 →
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
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.
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.
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.
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 →
This just in from Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and King County/Seattle Public Health — we’re about to get a smoke break:
We forecast air pollution levels that are UNHEALTHY for everyone to continue through much of today in the Puget Sound Region. There has been some improvement in the South Puget Sound, but the levels still remain UNHEALTHY for everyone. Lingering smoke over the Pacific may still impact us through early tomorrow morning, but we expect much less smoke by tomorrow afternoon. Until air quality gets better, stay indoors with windows closed, if you can find somewhere cool. Check the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website for updated forecasts as conditions change.
The area has been under air health alerts since last week with grey, smoky skies forcing many to spend their August days indoors and others to brave the conditions behind face masks.
Looking though Seattle’s haze, wildfires are only part of the problem, according to a report from Environment Washington:
With the Trump administration proposing to weaken federal air quality and global warming emissions standards, air pollution remains a threat to public health. According to a new report by Environment Washington Research & Policy Center 3.8 million people in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area experienced 26 days of degraded air quality in 2016, 250,000 people in Yakima experienced 84 days of degraded air quality, and 554,000 people in Spokane-Spokane Valley experienced 51 days of degraded air quality, increasing the risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.
Celebrate while you can still breathe. Volunteer Park hosts GreenStage this weekend including a performance of The Three Musketeers Thursday night, Henry IV Friday night, and a presentation of Backyard Bard Saturday afternoon.
Take your time getting around Capitol Hill this morning. Most major streets are clear but sidewalks, stairs, and pretty much everything else is cold and icy after a gentle blanket of snowfall Wednesday night. Some areas of Capitol Hill report up to one inch fell and froze through the night.
As of early Thursday morning, there were no reports of major street or transit issues across Capitol Hill or the Central District but we will update this post as issues arise. SDOT handled one issue already this morning with signal issues at Broadway and Pine repaired to start the morning commute. Traveling off the Hill is a slightly different story as traffic is slowed by the icy conditions. Washington State Patrol reports more than 20 collisions so far due to the slippery roads. Lower traffic volumes thanks to the Seattle Public Schools mid-winter break will help.
UPDATE 8:30 AM: A large Seattle Fire response was dispatched after a car crashed into a utility pole at 12th and Republican. There was one reported injury but most SFD units were turned loose from the scene. The crash was blocking traffic in the area and a few cars backed up on side roads were having trouble with the ice.
UPDATE 8:50 AM: A stuck Metro bus was reported blocking traffic on E Cherry at 19th.
An under construction Capitol Hill microhousing development became one of the city’s centers of attention Sunday as a cold winter storm blew into Seattle and tore loose scaffolding while sending a wall of plastic sheeting into a flapping fit at 12th and John.
Traffic in the area was detoured for hours and the sidewalk closed after the scaffolding came loose and could be seen rocking and swaying in the wind. Continue reading →