Category Archives: Weather

A stormy Christmas

We hope all Beacon Hill Blog readers had a lovely Christmas and are having a lovely Boxing Day today. However, that lovely Christmas morning was also a stormy one, and we knowthat a few of you have had to deal with damage from the storm.

Neighbor Brook on North Beacon Hill reported that a huge gust of wind from the east took the walls of his backyard shed right off the floor, and later gusts took the roof right into the neighbors’ yard. Brook took the destruction well, however: “Really, I should be thankful. The hardest part of moving the shed has been taken care of by a windstorm. Best Christmas present ever.”

Did you have any damage from the Christmas morning winds? Please tell us in the comments.

Christmas morning winds took this shed right off its base. Photo by Brook Ellingwood.

Snow day?

There’s only a tiny bit of snow on the Hill right now, left over from last night. Like everyone else in Seattle, we are waiting to see if today’s promised snow day arrives. (KIRO’s Sam Argier just tweeted “Latest computer model coming in much more aggressive with Wednesday’s snow” and showed a 1″-4″ predicted snowfall for the city.) A winter storm warning is in effect until 10 a.m. Thursday morning. Keep your eyes on School Report for any potential closures, and be aware that the snow may hit us during the evening commute as it did during the November storm—consider leaving your car home, if possible.

We probably won't get this much snow today -- we hope. Photo from the December 2008 snowstorm, by Wendi.

Today is another icy day; commute carefully

A new record low overnight temperature was set this morning: 14F at Sea-Tac Airport. The bitter cold means that many streets are still quite slick today, and driving may still be hazardous. Take transit if you can. King County Metro says that buses are still on snow routes, but fewer routes will be cancelled. (Route 38 on McClellan, however, is one of them.) See the Transit Alerts Center for the latest information. Sound Transit’s alert page is here.

SDOT tweeted that “Snow routes in good condition due to overnight work. No significant problems in that network of streets.”

Seattle Public Schools and the University of Washington remain closed, as do many county offices. A list of closed county offices is here, and as usual, school closure information is here.

The Seattle Times (BHB news partner) has an interesting article on why Seattle can’t handle snow. It explains, among other things, why the anti-ice chemicals sprayed on major arterials in advance of the storm actually made things worse: the brine was diluted by the melting snow, making it ineffective against further snow, and then refroze into a slick sheet of ice.

Speaking of ice, there’s a lot of ice still on sidewalks, steps, and walkways. Please clear the ones you’re responsible for—falling on the ice can be really dangerous.

Snow has stopped, but baby, it’s cold

About 4:00 pm. Photo by Wendi.
It was a long, strange trip for a lot of folks yesterday—from work to home. The Monday evening commute took hours for many, as snowy, icy conditions turned local streets into curling rinks, parking lots, and probably a few other things that no thoroughfare should be. It reminded some of us of December 18, 1990, when a similar storm wreaked havoc on the afternoon commute. (That one, with 8 to 14 inches, was worse.) This animated gif gives you an idea how bad it was last night. (We found it in a tweet from @KIRO7Seattle, but we aren’t sure who originally created it.)

We got about 4 inches of snow on North Beacon Hill, but the wind and blowing, drifting snow makes the actual measurement difficult to determine. The conditions here as of 3:00 am are very cold and windy, with dry, granular snow that is, in some places, drifting on top of earlier ice. Walking is treacherous and driving is worse. The snow isn’t melting any time soon—as of now, the National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 25 and a low tonight of 13 for Beacon Hill.

As far as today goes, here’s what we know:

The University of Washington Seattle campus and Seattle Public Schools are closed today. See for the status of other schools, colleges, and universities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine released a statement urging County government employees who are not first responders or mission-critical to telecommute or take a day of vacation instead of going to work today.

Metro is once again on snow routing. Your buses may not follow their usual routes or keep to their usual schedule. Some routes may be cancelled. (Route 38 along McClellan is one of these.) See the Transit Alerts Center for the latest information. Sound Transit’s alert page is here.

Link Light Rail performed like a champ on Monday, and should do so again today. Sound Transit ran the trains all night long to keep tracks/wires clear of ice. Expect large crowds on Link today, as people who may not always ride Link decide to try the train to avoid another hellish commute. If you do need to leave the Hill, and live at all near a station, Link is your best option.

Here’s the Seattle city snow and ice emergency page, with tons of links to useful information.

There was a series of power outages on Beacon Hill last night, mostly in an area immediately around Jefferson Park. Service is back on to most now, but there are still small outages near 24th and Hanford and 33rd and Holly. You can see all current outages here.

Please dress warmly and take good care of yourself today, neighbors. Don’t drive unless you absolutely have to! We encourage you to visit one of our local coffee shops for a warm drink or three, and keep an eye on our Twitter feed throughout the day for additional info.

Here are some images from yesterday:

Jefferson Park. Photo by Joel Lee in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
This snow-laden tree looks rather like a giant spider. Photo by K. Shuler in the BHB photo pool.
Beacon Hill Station in the snow and wind. Photo by Wendi.

Snow my goodness!


It’s sticking on the street in the middle of the crosswalk (where the cars don’t drive) in front of the library at 6:30 this morning. So far, just little flakes, but coming down steadily. How are things in your part of the hill?

The return of Snowpocalypse? Probably not.

A Beacon Hill deck on December 22, 2008. Will it happen this year? Photo by K. Shuyler in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
The National Weather Service has issued a warning that “there is some risk of lowland snow… or mixed rain and snow showers over portions of Western Washington this weekend.” We all know that predicting snow in the Seattle area can be difficult, and for every Snowpocalypse there has also been a time when snow was predicted and it just never showed up. Still, the NWS made a good suggestion: “Now would be a good time to think about how you could prepare for the first possibility of winter weather conditions in the lowlands. Are your tires ready for snow covered roadways? Are your outdoor pipes and faucets winterized?”

(Headline edited 11/16.)

Be careful in the cold

Frost coated vegetables in a North Beacon vegetable garden a few days ago. Photo by Jason.
Frost coated vegetables in a North Beacon vegetable garden a few days ago. Photo by Jason.
There is not too much frost on the streets at the moment. According to local weather guru Cliff Mass, the dew point for the last couple of days has been so low that frost cannot form. If that changes, however, frost on the roads can lead to very dangerous black ice. Mass says, “Never forget, roadway icing is the number one weather killer in our area. More than floods, more than windstorms.” On Friday, black ice contributed to a vehicle collision in Mid-Beacon Hill that caused the death of an elderly woman.

There are a few places on Beacon Hill that can be slick even in frostless conditions such as we have today: for example, on South Massachusetts Street just east of 17th Avenue South, where there is what seems to be a permanent water leak wetting the road. Later this week, the precipitation will return, and there could be ice—or even snow—to contend with. Please be careful when navigating the streets and sidewalks of our hilly neighborhood.

360 days ago, the snow began to fall. Beacon Avenue looked like this the next morning. Photo by Ali R.
360 days ago, the snow began to fall. Beacon Avenue looked like this the next morning. Photo by Ali R.

Thanks to JvA for the reminder.

Parts of Beacon Hill among nearly 5,000 without power

From the Seattle Post-Globe:

About 4,657 customers lost power at about 6:20 p.m. The cause is unknown and the estimated time of power restoral is undetermined. Affected areas include parts of Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill and Seward Park. The general boundaries of the outage are S. Alaska St. on the North, S. Norfolk St. on the South, Lake Washington on the East and Airport Way S. on the West.

Read the full story.

Winter Weather Open House tonight at Jefferson CC

Remember this? Photo by Bridget Christian, last December.
Remember this? Photo by Bridget Christian, last December.
The city is hosting a Winter Weather Open House tonight at 7:00 pm at the Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Avenue South. At the event, you’ll be able to find out information about the new winter weather plan, and ways to deal with potential wintery weather in the coming months. The new city snow response map is here, showing which streets are prioritized for snow plowing.

See more in the Rainier Valley Post.