Updates from Sunday and Monday related to the winter storm moving through the Puget Sound region.
January 18, 2012 at 7:20 PM
Due to high server load, we are blogging about this week’s winter weather system over here. Go to this link for latest updates on the snow forecast, school closures, road conditions and other things weather related.
January 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM
If you’re looking for proof that icy roads lead to fender benders, consider this: Washington State Patrol troopers responded to about 10 times more car collisions than usual this weekend.
In all, troopers filed reports on 553 crashes in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Skagit, Whatcom and Island Counties counties on Saturday and Sunday, according to the agency.
Last weekend, they responded to 58.
Weather is doubtlessly to blame, officials said.
Trooper Guy Gill first tweeted about the higher rate of collisions early Monday morning.
“Over the last 2 days troopers in Thurston and Pierce Co’s have handled 157 collisions. Remember my simple equation…Snow+Ice+Speed=Crash,” he wrote.
The tweet prompted us to compare that number to the number that division usually handles (14 last weekend, Gill said) and to request numbers for other Western Washington counties as well.
The spike is normal for the first snowfall of the season, officials said.
“The lesson for folks is to pack their patience and get their vehicles ready,” Trooper Keith Leary said. “And if they’re planning to venture out, take it slow. That’s slow in capital letters with an explanation mark.”
January 16, 2012 at 11:07 AM
A new weather system is moving through Western Washington, dumping snow on most of the region.
Ted Buehner, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said the snowfall was expected to continue throughout the day, with 3 to 7 inches of snow possible on the coast and in the far north, and 1 to 3 inches expected in areas like Everett and Olympia.
The new snow began falling first in areas to the north, south, east and west of Seattle. Seattle should receive less snow than other areas, because it is protected by the Olympic Mountains, Buehner said at mid-morning.
Residents in Seattle and surrounding areas have since begun reporting on Twitter light snowfall, and forecasters are eyeing a front of cold air from the north that could bring 3 to 7 more inches of snow to the immediate Seattle area late Monday night into Tuesday morning.
The front could trigger a “pretty significant widespread snow event . . . that’s why we want people to prepare now, not then,” he said. “Actually hopefully they prepared late last week.”
January 16, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Dionne Sihombing of Indonesia, an international student studying media and communications at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College in Lakewood, emailed us Sunday to describe her first experience with snow in America. She wrote:
“My experience with snow is so special because it is the moment I have been longing since years ago. Being under the snow is one of my childhood dreams. that’s why . . .
I was so prepared after knowing that it might be snowing this Sunday. But I almost missed it. I woke up in the morning, in the lazy weekend. I was totally not aware until a friend told me to see outside from my windows room. It’s all covered white! I and other international students rushed outside to play on the snow, take pictures, record video, and even let the snow come into our mouth!!
We did enjoy our first snow. It was an unforgettable story to bring back to our countries.”
January 16, 2012 at 9:06 AM
While most major Puget Sound roadways were wet and bare during the early commute Monday morning, officials cautioned that there are some slick areas — especially on side streets and highway ramps, and on major roads through Everett and Marysville.
A bigger concern for drivers may be the afternoon commute and conditions over the next few days, as much more snow is expected, said Marybeth Turner, a spokeswomanfor the city’s department of transportation. Turner said officials will meet to come up with a plan later this morning.
For now, officials recommended drivers go slowly and be mindful of conditions, which could change quickly.
“We really encourage people to drive for the conditions and reduce their speed,” Washington Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kris Olsen said.
In Seattle, just six roads were partially closed at 8:30 a.m., said Turner: First Avenue; 23rd Avenue South and South McClellan Street; South Spokane Street and South Columbia Way; South Holgate Street and Beacon Avenue South; South Holgate Street and 14th Avenue South; and East Denny Way and Melrose Avenue).
Eighteen city crews worked throughout the night, when many more roads had been closed, Turner said. The crews are still out using granular salt and liquid de-icer to make the roads safer.
Turner directed residents to the city’s new snow response route map, which shows which roads that crews have worked on most recently.
January 16, 2012 at 7:54 AM
While public school students get a built-in day off thanks to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, some private schools around Puget Sound have altered schedules today.
At least one school, The Goddard School in Issaquah, is closed due to weather. Several others, including Charter College in Bellingham, are starting late or operating without some programs.
For a full list of school closures/delays, go here.
Even if your child is not in private school, you may want to bookmark that site. It covers essentially all schools in the region, so it may be helpful to all residents throughout this week, as many school schedules could be affected by weather.
January 16, 2012 at 7:14 AM
Some unattended candles sparked a fire that caused about $130,000 in damage and more than 40 people to be evacuated from a Queen Anne apartment building Monday morning, officials said.
The fire started at a building near the intersection of Queen Anne Avenue North and West Galer Street just before 4 a.m., Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said.
Firefighters responding to the scene used a ladder to quickly rescue a trapped woman from her second floor unit, he said. It took them about half an hour to knock down the fire, he added.
The evacuated residents waited in a Metro bus as the firefighters fought the blaze. By about 6 a.m., all but two of them were able to return to their homes. Those two residents, a man and a woman, are being helped by Red Cross.
The fire caused about $100,000 in damage to the building and about $30,000 in damage to its contents, Moore said. Fire investigators determined it was started by unattended candles.
Moore said the fire should serve as a lesson about the danger of candles on a day when many may be using them to stay warm.
“These are things that can happen unfortunately,” he said.
Firefighters were not significantly affected by the slick road conditions on the day after the first significant lowland snow storm of the year, Moore said. All fire trucks will operate with chains for the next couple days, and all trucks are carrying de-icing solution.
January 16, 2012 at 6:54 AM
Weather: Though not much snow fell on the Seattle area overnight, that’s expected to change — and soon. Meteorologists are predicting snow on and off throughout the day and night, with up to a couple new inches possible, depending on the specific location. The forecast calls for a daytime high of 36, with some morning fog and light wind throughout the day. Snow should continue overnight and into Tuesday… and Wednesday. In short, we’ve got a long way to go. The current details.
Traffic: The concern this morning is road conditions, not traffic. While the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will give some commuters the day off, others will have to navigate potentially slick roads. The state Department of Transportation says most major roads are wet and bare this morning, which is way better than icy. The spots to watch out for include the roads around Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, the Marysville area and the Bothell-Everett highway near Bothell. Take it slow. The map and the cams.
Metro buses: Not only are the buses running on a snow schedule again this morning, but on a holiday schedule as well. Here is a link to what that means for your bus.
Garbage service: The weather is altering pickups in some service areas.
Apartment fire: Residents were evacuated after fire broke out early this morning in the ground-floor unit of a four-story apartment building on Queen Anne Hill, KING TV reported. The fire, which reportedly started after a resident fell asleep with candles burning, was knocked down within half an hour. The station said a Metro bus was brought in so the dozen or so residents would have a place to stay warm until they could return to their units.
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January 15, 2012 at 4:44 PM
Most power is back on in Capitol Hill after 3,900 Seattle City Light customers spent much of Sunday afternoon without it. City Light spokeswoman Suzanne Hartman said it was unlikely that the outages were directly caused by the snow, but that fallen tree limbs or other snow-related incidences could have caused them.
Some told the company a tree fell into power lines near 22nd Avenue East and East Galer Street. About 120 City Light customers are still without power in the Seattle area Sunday night.
Roger Thompson, a spokesman for Puget Sound Energy, said the utility had experienced two power outages related to snowy branches: one in Thurston County affecting 2,400 people, and another in Medina that left 700 without power. Both were cleared up Sunday afternoon after a couple of hours, he said.
January 15, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Snow falls on the Space Needle and across Seattle on Sunday (Video by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times).
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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