Category Archives: Weather

Ice storm warning: stay home if you can

This tree in British Columbia was encased in ice in a 2005 ice storm. Photo by Shazron via Creative Commons/Flickr.
The National Weather Service has issued a very rare ice storm warning for our area. Here it is:

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued an ice storm warning… which is in effect until noon PST today. the winter weather advisory is no longer in effect.

* Some affected locations… Hoquiam… Olympia… Seattle.

* Timing… during the morning hours.

* Ice accumulations… two to four tenths of an
inch this morning.

* Main impact… travel will be severely impacted. Power outages are

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

An ice storm warning means severe winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring. Significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly discouraged. Commerce will likely be severely impacted. If you must travel… keep an extra flashlight… food… and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Ice accumulations will likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches that add to the danger.

Please be careful out there, everyone. Schools are closed, all library branches are closed today, and many other offices and services are closed because of the weather, so it’s a good idea to stay home if at all possible.

(Editor’s note: NWS warning was changed from all-caps to make it easier to read.)

It’s back! Snow again.

It’s been snowing steadily for a while this morning on North Beacon Hill, and the streets and yards have a nice coating of snow. As on Monday, Metro is on snow routes, and Route 38, which runs up and down McClellan, is cancelled (see for information about other routes). Seattle Schools and most other area schools and universities are closed for the day. There are some exceptions at the moment, so check for the latest school closure info.

The city now has a winter weather map that shows the latest information about streets that have been plowed or de-iced.

How is the snow where you live? Please post comments here. Have pictures? Post them to the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr, or email us.

School cancelled, garbage pickup still on schedule (for now)

Seattle Public Schools are playing it safe in advance of tomorrow’s predicted snowstorm. School is closed tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18. Evening activities are also cancelled. For other schools and universities in the area, please check

If your garbage pickup is tomorrow, Seattle Public Utilities is currently advising that you treat Wednesday as a normal day for garbage, recycling, and food/yard waste collection. Of course, weather could still change all of that.

Weather forecasters, including those at BHB news partners, say the next round of snow won’t skip Seattle, and will spread from south to north early Wednesday morning, probably arriving between 2 and 4 a.m. On top of the potential snowfall, we may get winds gusting to 35-40 mph. The “Slushmageddon” mentioned by folks like Cliff Mass in the last few days probably won’t happen after all; the storm will be snow all the way through. Current expectations are that we will get 4-6 inches of snow in Seattle, but as those of us who have been here a while know — you never know what might actually happen.

Two-hour delay for Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools have announced a two-hour delay for tomorrow, Tuesday, January 17. All schools will open two hours late, and pre-school activities such as preschool and Head Start are cancelled.

If your children ride school buses, be aware that buses will be running on snow routes, which means that yellow buses only run on roads that have snow removal maintained by the City. You should have received notices about snow routes in the mail during November.

For updated delay/closure information for Seattle Schools and other local schools and districts (including colleges and private schools), keep your eyes on Snow is expected both today and tomorrow, and conditions are definitely subject to change.

Open thread: Snow!

We have 3-4″ of snow on our North Beacon Hill fence right now. How’s it going where you are? How are the streets on your part of the Hill? Beacon Avenue South appears to be slush on pavement right now. But I’d be a little concerned about the hilly side streets.

If you want to get around without using your car, Metro Transit’s Adverse Weather page is helpful. According to Metro, the 36 bus “does not have pre-planned snow routing. It is operating via its regular route and stops, but with possible significant delays due to weather, road or traffic conditions.” The 38 bus (which goes down steep South McClellan) is cancelled. The 60 doesn’t have changes on Beacon Hill itself, but it is not operating on East Yesler Way, 9th Avenue between Spruce Street and Jefferson Street, and on Olsen Place Southwest between 4th Avenue Southwest and 1st Avenue Southwest in the eastbound direction.

If you have photos of the snow, please send them along! You can add them to the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr, or email us.

And please do tell us how the snow is going in your part of Beacon Hill. This is an open thread for snow chat.

Adorable photo by Melissa Jonas in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool. Thanks, Melissa!

Burn ban in effect

The burn ban is intended to prevent Seattle skies from looking like this. Photo by Flickr user by and by via Creative Commons.
Brrrr, it’s cold—but there should be no fires burning in Beacon Hill fireplaces for a while. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties are under a Stage 1 burn ban, in which the use of fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves is prohibited until further notice. Violators are subject to a $1,000 fine.

The current high pressure over the area makes our skies clear and cold, but this is also causing our air to be more stagnant. Wood smoke adds to the problem, turning our clear winter air to a dull smog.

Information about the burn ban, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency:

No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled. The only exception is if a wood stove is a home’s only adequate source of heat.

No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.

Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

It is OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children, and older adults (over age 65).

For more information, see the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website.

Are you ready for snow?

Snow in a Beacon Hill yard during the big December snow of 2008. Photo by Wendi.

Cliff Mass says, “The new forecast models are increasingly threatening for colder temperatures and lowland snow from Sunday through Wednesday of next week,” though he does qualify this prediction, stating that the forecasts aren’t “ideal for a truly major event.” Define “truly,” Cliff.

Anyway, we all live on a hill, like many Seattle residents, and know that snow can provide some unique challenges to mobility. Unlike many neighborhoods, however, we have access to Link light rail, which should make it easy to get around—as long as you are going where the train does.

If it really does snow, and South McClellan is closed to cars, I recommend using Link as a ski lift. Ski down McClellan to Mount Baker Station. Take the train back up to Beacon Hill Station. Get a hot cocoa at The Station. Ski down again. Repeat. Your ticket is good for two hours. (If you actually try this, I’d love to see photos and video.)

Be prepared, stay warm, and cross your fingers for next week, whether you’re a snow-lover or a snow-hater.