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City Encourages Residents to Get Home Before Dark

With ice and snow continuing to cause challenging travel conditions, the City of Seattle is encouraging people to get home before dark if possible. After dark, icy conditions may worsen and ice will become more difficult to see.

Pedestrians should exercise caution – many sidewalks are icy, and there is danger of falling ice from trees, buildings and power lines.

Residents are discouraged from all but essential travel to help keep roads open and safe for emergency vehicles, transit and snow removal. Streets may appear bare and wet but may be covered with ice, which will be difficult to see after dark. Ice accumulation could lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches, a danger for both drivers and pedestrians.

If residents experience a power outage, they should stay warm in their homes by blocking drafts around doors and windows and dressing in layers. Be sure to check on vulnerable neighbors, particularly the elderly and disabled, to make sure they have adequate food, water and blankets to keep warm. Never bring barbecue grills, generators, or any charcoal or gasoline powered appliances inside, as they can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

National Weather Service Issues Ice Storm Warning

With the National Weather Service (NWS) issuing an ice storm warning for the Seattle area, residents are strongly discouraged from travelling until conditions improve. A thin sheen of ice creates danger for vehicles and pedestrians. The Seattle Emergency Operations Center is fully activated and monitoring the situation.

According to the NWS, an ice storm warning means “severe weather conditions are imminent or occurring. Significant amounts of ice accumulation will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly discouraged…Ice accumulations will likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches that add to the danger.”

On traffic cameras, television or from your window, streets may appear bare and wet but they may still be covered with ice. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) continues to treat major arterial roads with salt brine and granular salt. Some secondary or neighborhood streets are very slick and changes in conditions between treated and untreated roadways can be very sudden. Four wheel drive is not a solution – vehicles need chains to have traction. Keeping the roads clear of traffic is extremely helpful for emergency vehicles.

Many sidewalks are icy. Pedestrians should use caution while walking and crossing streets. It is the responsibility of property owners to keep their sidewalks clear of ice to protect pedestrian safety. SDOT is dispatching 22 crews to activate the Pedestrian Safety Element of the Winter Response plan to clear and salt pedestrian landings, crossings, and intersections.

Icy conditions also impact trees and power lines. Seattle City Light (SCL) is monitoring the situation. If you experience a power outage please call SCL’s Outage Hotline at 206-684-7400. If you see a downed power line, call 911 to report it. Do not handle a downed power line or attempt to move it out of the way. Electricity can travel along the ground, so maintain a significant distance. If a broken power line should fall on your vehicle, stay inside the vehicle. Use your cell phone to call for help. If someone makes contact with a downed power line, don’t try to rescue them because you risk becoming a victim yourself. Call 911 for help. SCL’s power outage map is available at: http://seattle.gov/light/sysstat/. You can download the SCL mobile phone app at: http://www.seattle.gov/light/mobile/.

Be careful choosing heating or lighting sources in the event of a power outage. Open flames and unattended candles are dangerous. Do not bring barbecues or gas grills inside. The fumes can be poisonous and deadly. Keep an ample supply of battery-powered flashlights and a battery-operated radio on hand.

All branches of the Seattle Public Library and Parks Community Centers are closed today. For a complete list of city facilities that will be closed, please visit http://www.seattle.gov.

All residential trash collection is cancelled for today. There will be limited commercial trash collection.

Seattle Responds to Winter Snow Storm

January 17, 2012

As the City of Seattle continues its winter storm response and prepares for forecasted significant accumulations of snow Wednesday, Mayor Mike McGinn will activate the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 7 a.m. today. The EOC’s Joint Information Center activated at 5:30 a.m. this morning.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has trucks out to keep major arterial streets clear. Crews are mostly using granular salt. Though major arterial streets are bare and wet, the City continues to urge that road users use caution during their commute. SDOT crews will continue to monitor street conditions and trouble spots throughout the day in anticipation of the coming winter storm. Salt and salt-brine were applied overnight in many areas as a preventative measure in anticipation of forecasted freezing temperatures.

As the City prepares for the coming winter storm, residents are also urged to prepare for record snowfall in Seattle if they have not done so already.

The City of Seattle recommends that residents:

Consider options now for travel, staying off the roads if possible.
Move cars off streets, if possible, to aid with snow removal.
Check on neighbors, especially the vulnerable.
Wrap pipes and outdoor faucets to prevent ruptured pipes and flooding inside homes.
Turn faucets to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
Be careful how they choose to heat or light their homes. Open flames and unattended candles are dangerous. Do not bring open stoves or gas grills inside as the fumes can be poisonous and deadly.
Find and clear street storm drains. Snow followed by rain can clog drains and cause flooding.
Have coats, hats, gloves and blankets at hand to stay warm during possible power outages.
Bring pets indoors.
Only call 911 in a life-threatening emergency.
The following is a directory of non-emergency helplines: http://www.kingcounty.gov/LinksByZip
SDOT’s Winter Weather page at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/winterweather.htm includes maps of the City’s snow routes and real-time information on road conditions.

For information on public transportation options, please visit King County Metro (http://www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow) and Sound Transit (http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/Alerts/Winter-Weather.xml). Riders are encouraged to check bus status online as conditions may change rapidly.

Many sidewalks are icy. Pedestrians should use caution while walking and crossing streets. It is the responsibility of property owners to keep their sidewalks clear of ice to protect pedestrian safety.

January 16,2012:

With temperatures below freezing and more winter weather in the forecast, Mayor Mike McGinn activated Seattle’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this morning. The EOC will remain open as needed to monitor weather conditions and provide support and coordination with city departments.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has 18 trucks out to keep major arterial streets clear. Crews are mostly using granular salt. In spots where there is ice they are using liquid de-icer. Most major arterial streets are bare and wet, including the West Seattle Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, but many side streets are icy. SDOT crews are currently focused on several trouble spots, including on Capitol Hill where Sunday’s snowfall was heavier.

Drivers should use caution if they must travel this morning. SDOT’s Winter Weather page at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/winterweather.htm includes maps of the City’s snow routes and real-time information on road conditions.

Most of the regional transit agencies are currently running on snow routes including King County Metro (http://www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow) and Sound Transit (http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/Alerts/Winter-Weather.xml). Riders are encouraged to check bus status online as conditions change rapidly.

Many sidewalks are icy. Pedestrians should use caution while walking and crossing streets. It is the responsibility of property owners to keep their sidewalks clear of ice to protect pedestrian safety.

While some roads in Seattle may still be icy, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is advising customers to treat Monday as a normal day for garbage, recycling, and food/yard waste collection. Collections to most business and apartments are also scheduled to occur today.

But customers should note that collections will be restricted in hilly locations. Most customers in the Magnolia neighborhood will not be serviced today.

January 15, 2012:

As the first winter storm of 2012 blanketed Seattle with snow on Sunday, the City of Seattle swung into action to protect public safety and respond to weather-related conditions.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews continued to apply rock salt to city streets, and to plow snow and slush off roadways. Despite the intensity of snowfall during some of the snow squalls, the use of salt brine and salt by SDOT has kept most roads in a wet but slushy condition.

To combat plunging temperatures and prepare for the morning commute, SDOT will deploy its full plow fleet throughout the night to remove any remaining melted snow and ice, and keep major transit routes open.

As freezing temperatures may create black ice on formerly wet roadways, motorists are advised to use caution when driving overnight and during the morning commute, especially on Seattle’s many hills and bridges. For up-to-date information on the City’s response and roadway conditions, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/. Motorists can also check on current traffic conditions and roadway images on SDOT’s Traveler’s Map at: http://web5.seattle.gov/travelers/. Transit riders are encouraged to check conditions and bus status at http://www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow and http://www.soundtransit.com.

As a reminder, property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their properties after a snowstorm. SDOT encourages residents and businesses to keep their walkways clear and safe for pedestrians.

Seattle City Light crews responded to a power outage in Capitol Hill that affected about 3,800 homes and businesses Sunday afternoon. Some callers who reported the outage indicated a tree fell into power lines near 22nd Avenue East and East Galer Street. The general boundaries of the outage were East Interlaken Boulevard on the north, East Union Street on the south, 29th Avenue E on the east and Summit Avenue E on the west. City Light estimates power will be restored around 6:00 P.M.

For more specific boundaries and updates, please visit City Light’s online system status map at www.seattle.gov/light/sysstat.

At noon on Sunday, Seattle Fire Deputy Chief of Operations declared Cold Weather Procedures. Cold Weather Procedures are required when the temperature drops below 35 degrees. All non-essential outdoor activities such as drills, training and inspections were canceled in order to protect firefighters from the environmental dangers of extreme cold. At the fire stations, firefighters are removing snow from the ramps and sidewalks, and making sure all exterior pipes are protected from the freezing temperatures.

This morning, crews were ordered to inspect their districts and be aware of potentially icy roadways and hillsides. At noon, the Deputy Chief ordered chains on all fire apparatus throughout the city. The chains will remain on the rigs until further notice.

At 10:27 A.M., Seattle Firefighters were called to the intersection of Westlake Avenue North and Mercer Street for a heavy rescue. A passenger car collided with the South Lake Union Streetcar sending the streetcar off the tracks and across the street. The driver of the car reported chest injuries and was transported to Harborview in serious condition. No one was injured on the trolley but Westlake Avenue North was shut down for several hours while the SPD investigated and the Street Car operators moved the trolley back to the service barn.

Seattle Parks Department reported that youth basketball sessions at community center gymnasiums are canceled for Sunday. The Amy Yee Tennis Center closed at 5:00 P.M. today and will reopen at 8:00 A.M. on Monday, one hour later than normal.

With a winter weather advisory calling for more snow on Monday, Mayor Mike McGinn directed Seattle’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to open at 6:00 A.M. on Monday morning. The EOC will remain open as needed to monitor weather conditions and provide support and coordination with city departments.

Seattle Rex has posted many photos of the Seattle snow on his blog: http://www.seattlerex.com/the-january-2012-seattle-snow-thread/