Keeping track of news about weather in Seattle and the Northwest.
November 10, 2013 at 9:02 AM
Honoring veterans: Monday is Veterans Day, but some started honoring those who have served in the nation’s armed forces earlier this weekend. Auburn held a parade on Saturday, and the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, 19300 108th Avenue SE, Renton, is celebrating its member veterans Sunday at both services.
What’s closed: Veterans Day is an official United States holiday, which means that on Monday post offices and government offices will be closed. Most banks and credit unions will also be closed, but garbage, food and yard waste collection are on regular schedules in Seattle and Bellevue. Metro bus service will be on a reduced schedule.
What’s free: There’s no charge for street parking Monday in Seattle, and the National Parks have been free to everyone all weekend, as they will be on Monday. That’s to honor veterans, but the free entry is for everyone. Just more more small reason to thank a vet.
If you go: If you decide to take advantage of the free National Parks today, you can expect morning rain and perhaps snow in the mountains. Temperatures in the passes will be in the mid-30s to low 40s. If you stay around Puget Sound, expect morning rain with cloudy skies, highs in the low 50s.
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November 7, 2013 at 9:34 AM
WALLA WALLA — A wind turbine snapped its spine and fell to the ground last weekend at the Stateline Wind Farm near Touchet in Walla Walla County.
The East Oregonian reports the toppled wind machine was found Sunday.
A spokesman for NextEra Energy Resources, Steve Stengel, said the company is investigating what happened.
The turbines are built to withstand the 60 mph gusts that swept through the region. The machines shut down when winds reach 55 mph.
It was the first of 454 turbines at the wind farm to fall since they started spinning in 2001.
November 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM
Updated | 10:20 p.m.
Seattle City Light said it expects to restore power to 13,000 customers currently without power by 10 a.m. Sunday.
Gusty winds rattled the region Saturday, leaving at least three people injured, cutting power to some 200,000 and even forcing officials to close the Highway 520 bridge for about two hours.
The State Patrol closed the bridge about 11 a.m. after some 50 people driving westbound on the bridge “panicked” and decided to abandon their vehicles amid splashing water and low visibility, Trooper Chris Webb said. The bridge was reportedly swaying as much as five feet.
“I’ve been on (the State Patrol) 22 years. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this,” said Webb, who said drivers should not abandon vehicles in the middle of the road.
The drivers were escorted to safety, and the bridge reopened just after 1 p.m.
The closure, which backed up traffic on the Interstate 90 bridge, was just one way in which the fall storm affected life in the Puget Sound.
None of the injuries were expected to be life-threatening.
A construction worker was hurt on Capitol Hill in the morning when a piece of metal awning he was installing blew off and hit him. A 2-year-old boy in the University District was seriously injured by a falling branch around 9:30 a.m. And a 48-year-old Granite Falls man was seriously injured south of Monroe when a tree fell across Highway 203 and onto his Mustang, according to the State Patrol.
Roughly 200,000 homes and businesses lost power at some point Saturday, according to reports from three local utilities.
Puget Sound Energy tweeted at 3 p.m. that 105,000 customers were without power “due to nearly 1,000 outages across a wide area.” The hardest hit areas were Northern King County, Kitsap County and Whidbey Island, according to another tweet. At 8 p.m., the utility was reporting 55,000 without power, most of them in King County.
Outages among Seattle City Light customers were slowly falling in the afternoon. By 10 p.m., the utility reported that just over 13,000 customers, most in North Seattle, were without power. That was down from a high of 46,000.
The hardest-hit areas were in Northeast Seattle between Wedgwood and Lake City; just north of Carkeek Park; on both sides of Aurora Avenue North between 165th and 195th streets; and along Lake Washington in Lake Forest Park. Laurelhurst and Madrona were also affected.
In Snohomish County, outages peaked at 40,000 in the morning before dwindling to about 10,000 by 3:30 p.m. Those outages were concentrated in the southern part of the county, between Bothell and Monroe, spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.
Neroutsos said the outages should be fixed by early evening. But he cautioned that “if we get another set of winds coming through, it could create some more problems.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Johnny Burg said the worst of the high winds were passing through the Seattle area around noon, and that high-wind advisories were in place for Seattle until 8 p.m.
Breezy weather and scattered showers are forecast to continue throughout the day, with gusts of up to 50 mph. There was no chance of flooding, but Burg said up to 6 inches of snow is expected in the passes this afternoon, as the snow level drops to around 2,500 feet. On Sunday, there is a chance of showers, but the forecast also says it will be partly sunny.
Webb, the state trooper, said officials are on high alert.
“It’s been a crazy day,” he said.
November 2, 2013 at 9:03 AM
A storm is bringing high winds and mountain snows to the Pacific Northwest this weekend. If you have weather pictures or videos, please share them here.
November 1, 2013 at 11:07 AM
The Associated Press
Forecasters say a storm will blow into the state Saturday with strong winds on the coast and Puget Sound region and snow in the mountains down to the highway passes.
The National Weather Service says a passing cold front could bring 50 mph wind gusts on the north coast, Strait of Juan de Fuca and northwest interior while parts of the southwest interior and Puget Sound area could be hit by wind gusts in the 40s.
Forecasters say Snoqualmie and Stevens passes could have 6 inches of snow accumulating by mid-day Sunday. A foot of new snow is possible on Mount Rainier.
Eastern Washington also will have mountain snow and winds Saturday, with gusts up to 40 mph possible over the Columbia Basin.
Also, starting today, studded tires are legal on Washington roadways.
They’ll have to come off cars at the end of March, when the threat of snow-and-ice covered highways has passed.
October 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM
A Washington State Ferries captain used a loudspeaker this morning to tell his passengers on the Clinton-Mukilteo run to “brace for impact” when an object popped up on the radar of his ferry, the Cathlamet.
It was foggy, of course, when the ferry left the Clinton dock at the south end of Whidbey Island about 9:30 a.m. Shortly after the ferry got under way, the captain saw the blip on the radar screen while crew on the car deck and in the pilot house had additional eyes on the water, said Capt. Pete Williams, director of the system’s operations center.
The smaller vessel appeared to be a fishing boat on the move, Williams said. Luckily, the ferry captain was able to stop the ferry in time before there was a collision.
Another incident attributed to the fog happened Wednesday when the ferry Wenatchee had to stop mid-course on its 2:05 p.m. run Seattle to Bainbridge, officials said. In that case, the captain went off course. He reversed direction to find the proper travel lane and resumed the run, Williams said.
Ferries have been traveling at low speed all week. Captains are expected to be able to stop within half the visible distance, he said.
On the Clinton-Mukilteo route, a ferry would go 13 nautical miles per hour in good conditions, but the Cathlamet was moving much slower, allowing it to stop in time. “Contact was averted because of the efforts of the captain,” Williams said.
Capt. George Capacci, WSF’s deputy chief for operations, said he rode another ferry this week where the captain was “picking his way through” gillnetters between Seattle and Bainbridge Island.
There are about 450 ferry trips daily in the state, and so far these are the only two fog-related incidents significant enough to be noticed by passengers, he said.
Williams said this stretch of foggy days has occurred about 10 times in his 31-year career with the ferry system.
October 24, 2013 at 11:02 AM
A bit of moisture in the air never hurt anybody, right, Seattle? Still, the recent fog has been fun. Seattleites on social media have dubbed the weather phenomenon, “Fogtober” or “Fogmageddon” (Do we really need another -mageddon)?
The fog has also been photogenic — check out this gallery of pictures from our staff photographers.
October 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM
EVERETT (AP) — Snow geese have begun arriving in Western Washington for their winter stay.
The Daily Herald reports birds have been landing this week in fields near Stanwood.
The state Fish and Wildlife Department says about 80,000 snow geese winter in Western Washington each year, most in the Skagit Valley.
Birdwatchers can see them at the Fir Island Farm Reserve Unit of the Skagit Wildlife area.
October 4, 2013 at 9:14 PM
The Associated Press
An air search for a young Oregon woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Southwest Washington has expanded into a new county, while a separate air search farther south found no signs of a missing Portland man.
Alejandra Wilson’s father reported the 23-year-old Portland woman overdue for a check-in Monday. A search of the trail in Skamania County found no trace of her, so the search moved Friday to Yakima County.
Yakima County sheriff’s Sgt. George Town says hopes were raised when tracks were spotted in the snow in the Goat Rocks Wilderness about 15 miles south of White Pass. A Coast Guard helicopter crew landed Friday and talked to a male hiker, who said he’d encountered four other hikers in the area — none of them Wilson.
Town says more than 20 “experienced mountaineering folks” plan a ground search Saturday in the Goat Rocks area.
Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox says a helicopter searched crevasses and tree wells Friday in the Big Lava Beds area of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, where 31-year-old Kristopher Zitzewitz was last seen Sept. 28.
Cox said another ground search was planned Saturday in “very rugged” areas of the lava beds.
October 4, 2013 at 6:48 PM
YAKIMA— The Washington state Transportation Department says it has reopened a single lane of Highway 12 across White Pass after a 45-mile stretch of highway was closed by a washout.
The department says flaggers and a traffic signal will direct drivers through the single-lane paved detour that opened Friday afternoon.
A contractor hopes to restore two lanes of travel before winter. A permanent repair will have to wait until spring.
After heavy rain last weekend, a 500-foot section along the highway gave way Tuesday three miles east of the White Pass summit. The closure affected the highway between Packwood and Naches.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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