Topic: Puget Sound
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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.
June 19, 2013 at 11:02 AM
A gray whale that generated concern of onlookers on shore has successfully made its way out of the shallow waters of Burley Lagoon, near Purdy.
Although a whale expert says the animal was probably never trapped in the lagoon, as some observers feared, the juvenile whale, perhaps about 25 feet long, does appear to be emaciated and may be injured.
John Calambokidis of Cascadia Research said it’s not unusual to see gray whales in Puget Sound and off Whidbey Island in the spring and summer, but seldom would they make it to Burley Lagoon, one of he farthest reaches of Puget Sound.
Calambokidis said the whale would probably have to swim about 200 miles to get back to the open ocean, but would not have to go nearly that far to get back to typical gray-whale feeding territory.
The whale is probably about a year old, appears thinner than normal and has a large patch of whale lice, which could have formed on an injury, he said.
Although the whales make an impressive sight when they come close to shore, Calambokidis said it’s not unusual for them to work shallow waters in search of food.
He said there are about 20,000 gray whales in the Northeastern Pacific, and the great majority head to Alaskan waters in the summer, but several hundred spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest, including areas around Puget Sound.
November 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM
The Associated Press
The federal government is reviewing whether Puget Sound orcas should keep its endangered status.
NOAA Fisheries said Monday the review was prompted by a petition from the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation seeking to delist the killer whales. The petition asserts that orcas aren’t in danger of becoming extinct because they’re part of a larger population of thriving whales.
NOAA listed southern resident killer whales as endangered in 2005. The orcas frequent Washington’s Puget Sound. They also spend time in the open ocean. There are currently 86.
The agency has a year to decide whether it should delist the orcas. It says accepting the petition does not suggest a proposal to delist will follow.
The petition was filed in August on behalf of two California farms and the Center for Environmental Science Accuracy and Reliability.
July 31, 2012 at 6:44 PM
Recreational beaches in a large area of Western Washington have been closed to shellfish harvesting because of dangerous levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP), the Washington State Department of Health announced on Tuesday.
The area affected by the sometimes-fatal poison includes beaches in parts of King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Island and Jefferson counties, the department said in a release.
The health department said affected beaches have signs warning not to collect shellfish including clams, oysters, mussels, scallops and geoducks. Crabs are OK to harvest, but only the meat not the “crab butter” is safe to eat. The poison cannot be cooked out.
PSP symptoms can appear within minutes or hours of eating contaminated fish and usually begins with tingling lips and tongue that moves to the hands and feet, according to the state health department. Difficulty breathing and potential death can follow. Medical help should be called immediately for anyone affected.
The department also warns that people cannot know if PSP is present by looking at the water or shellfish and that the “red tide” some associate with PSP is not inaccurate indicator. Presence of the poison can only be determined through lab testing.
Shellfish collected from commercial beaches in the area should be safe to eat because of regular testing showing their waters are safe, the health department said.
PSP is produced by algae that is more common during warm parts of the year, according to the department.
February 13, 2012 at 4:33 PM
LONG BEACH, Pacific County – Biologists say a dead killer whale that washed up near Long Beach over the weekend was a juvenile endangered Puget Sound orca.
The National Marine Fisheries Service and Center for Whale Research identified the whale as L112, a female orca born in 2009. She was part of the L pod, one of three pods of southern resident killer whales that frequent Puget Sound.
Jessie Huggins with Cascadia Research says the orca had significant trauma around the head, chest and side, but the cause of these injuries is still unknown. She says the trauma didn’t look like a typical ship strike but additional tests could provide insight on how the animal died.
She adds that biologists are aware of recent sonar activity in the area and that sonar activity may be one of many factors.
Scientists with Cascadia Research, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Portland State University and others conducted the necropsy Sunday. Results were released Monday.
A newborn offshore killer whale found in November died of a congenital defect.
January 30, 2012 at 8:13 PM
Speaking by phone Monday from the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin in Antarctica waters, Capt. Paul Watson said his group is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who killed sea lions in Puget Sound.
Washington wildlife officials say eight sea lions have been found dead in the Puget Sound region in recent weeks — some of them apparently shot.
Anyone with information on the Puget Sound sea-lion deaths can call the NOAA National Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964, which is manned 24 hours a day.
Watson, 61, a Canadian, founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977, to “serve the whales, dolphins, seals — and all the other creatures on this Earth.”
He has had numerous confrontations with whaling ships, and said that on Monday, the Steve Irwin, named after the late “Crocodile Hunter,” was in the Ross Sea in below zero temperatures, in a storm, “surrounded by icebergs,” in a chase of a Japanese whaling ship.
Watson said that in 2011, his group offered a reward of $11,500 New Zealand dollars (about $9,500 U. S. dollars) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the clubbing deaths of 23 fur seals in that country.
He said the money was paid when a man was convicted. Watson said the reward money comes from donors.
January 27, 2012 at 9:51 PM
Washington wildlife officials say eight sea lions have been found dead in the Puget Sound region in recent weeks — all apparently shot.
KING-TV reports that both the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are investigating the deaths.
The bodies of seven sea lions with bullet wounds were recently found on the Nisqually River.
On Monday, a sea lion was found dead on West Seattle’s Lincoln Park beach. The animal protection group Seal Sitters says a necropsy showed that the sea lion had suffered a shark bite and had twisted intestines in addition to a bullet wound.
Investigators say they do not know who is responsible.
KING says one of the Nisqually casualties was a Steller sea lion, protected under the Endangered Species Act. The one found in West Seattle was a California sea lion, protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
January 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Snow may be headed our way. Exactly when, how much and how long it will last – that remains to be seen.
Beginning Saturday evening, “the conditions will be ripe for snow, but accumulations are difficult to pin down,” said Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Michalski.
He said the Puget Sound area is not likely to see a big dump of snow, but instead will see “isolated scattered showers, and some of those could produce snow.”
By Sunday, a 50 percent chance of snow is in the forecast. “These showers will be the hit-or-miss type,” he said. “Some place could see an inch or two and some places might not get any.”
The good news for commuters is that the snow may be polite enough to stick around only during the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
A warming trend is expected to arrive Tuesday, with snow showers giving way to rain.
It’s possible that it still might be cold enough to snow on the Tuesday afternoon commute, but that’s too far away for a detailed snow forecast, Michalski said.
December 28, 2011 at 9:31 PM
Gusts of 40 mph to 50 mph are forecast tonight until 6 a.m. Thursday, says a wind advisory by the National Weather Service in Seattle.
An update for the Puget Sound lowlands calls for sustained winds of 30 mph, along with warm temperatures. The overnight low will be 46 degrees, the high Thursday 51 degrees.
On Sunday a Whidbey Island girl, 9-year-old Tobiah “Zippy” Leonard, was killed by a windblown tree.
Seattle City Light hadn’t reported any power outages as of 9 p.m.
December 21, 2011 at 1:08 PM
The Associated Press
A new baby orca was photographed Saturday in a pod that lives in Puget Sound.
The Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the Center for Whale Research confirmed the mother is 39-year-old Slick, also known as J-16. Her new calf brings the total number of killer whales in the Southern Resident population to 89.
The federal government listed Southern Resident orcas as an endangered species in 2005.
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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