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City of Seattle Continues Response to Winter Storms

SEATTLE (February 14, 2021) – Snow continues to fall across the Seattle metro as a second winter storm moves through the area, which could bring an additional 1-2" of snow on top of the 8-11" of snow that fell Friday and Saturday. This storm will transition to rain over the course of the day as temperatures rise and remain above freezing. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated this morning to coordinate citywide operations in response to the storms, with a focus on clearing roadways of snow and fallen trees.

Individuals who live, work, or spend time in Seattle are encouraged to sign up for free emergency alerts from AlertSeattle to receive winter weather and other emergency information via text, phone call, and email. Visit alert.seattle.gov or text the word SEATTLE to 67283 to sign up.

Seattle Department of Transportation – Updated

At 8 a.m. Sunday morning the overall network was estimated to be over 80% bare and wet on snow routes, with some slush and a light dusting in places. Salt supplies continue to be replenished and crews continue to monitor routes and address new accumulations.

Crews are working 24/7 to ensure the city’s most critical streets for buses and emergency services are clear, prioritizing 1,200 miles of Seattle’s most critical routes to hospitals, schools, emergency services, shelters, and major employers. Snowplow routes were updated based on the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure, and so people can get to COVID-19 testing sites. Crews are also deployed to clear dozens of pedestrian overpasses, stairwells, and curb ramps that are not near homes or businesses.

Street closure signs have been placed around the City and we will continue to inspect, set, and reset street closure signs as needed to keep drivers off the steepest side streets.

SDOT continues to work closely with our partner agencies to ensure that transit snow routes are clear of snow and ice as soon as possible.

There are over 2,400 miles of sidewalks in Seattle. When it snows, everyone has a responsibility to shovel the sidewalks around their homes and businesses. Clearing these sidewalks isn’t just the law, it’s also the right thing to do so that everyone can travel safely during a snowstorm, especially people who are disabled or have a harder time getting around.

  • Visit www.seattle.gov/winterweather for information on how residents can stay safe, provides quick links for maps of power outages, snowplow routes as well as links to report down power lines and trees.
  • Visit the SDOT Winter Weather Response webpage for more information, including a map of planned snow routes for live updates on which roads have been plowed during a storm.
  • Visit WSDOT.com/winter for a guide on how to stay safe in hazardous driving conditions.
  • Visit MetroWinter.com for updated information on bus transit routes. You can also sign up for Transit Alerts, check out the Trip Planner webpage or app, and use Text for Departure by texting your bus stop number to 62550.

Seattle Public Utilities – Updated

Due to unsafe weather conditions, a small number of commercial customers whose waste is normally picked up on Sundays will not be served today. Those customers will be served as soon as conditions allow. High priority commercial customers like hospitals and Sea-Tac Airport will be served today.

If there is still snow and/or ice on the ground Monday and conditions are determined to be unsafe for SPU contractors, the Utility will operate on a one-day delay for garbage, recycling and food/yard waste pickup this coming week. SPU will be sure to communicate just as soon as decisions are made.

Transfer stations will close at 3 p.m., Sunday, February 14.

When the weather warms, a combination of rain and melting snow can cause urban flooding. The SPU Operations Response Center and operations crews will stay vigilant and be ready to respond to flooding. Customers can help reduce ponding or flooding by removing snow and ice from local storm drains with a snow shovel, garden shovel, rake or another strong tool. Customers can also call SPU Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800 to report flooding or ponding from a blocked storm drain.

SPU has crews on standby to respond on short notice to any water-related issues like emergency water shut off requests or to any impacts affecting SPU infrastructure. If customers need emergency assistance please call (206) 386-1800.

SPU encourages all customers to sign up for Alert Seattle to get the latest information on any Solid Waste service delays. SPU also posts delays on Twitter (@SeattleSPU) and on SPU’s website, as well as information about how to protect pipes or how to thaw pipes if they’re frozen. SPU reminds customers NEVER to use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame devices on a pipe.

Seattle City Light – Updated

Seattle City Light (SCL) monitors weather conditions to prepare for potential power outages. At this time, there is only one outage affecting 10 customers. More outages could be expected as the snow turns to rain, further weighing down tree branches. SCL has crews on standby ready to respond and will work 24/7 until every single customer’s power is back on. Customers can track outages on our online outage map – www.seattle.gov/city-light/outages.

Tips for staying safe in case of an outage:

  • Be prepared for potential power outages with nonperishable food, flashlights, batteries, and blankets for every household member. Pets included.
  • Charge your devices so you can pass the time, call if you need assistance, or keep an eye on the status of outages with our online outage map.
  • If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized. Stay at least 35 feet away and call 911.
  • During an outage, keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
  • Close doors, windows, and curtains to retain heat. If safe, go to an alternate location for heating and cooling.
  • If someone in your home is dependent on life support equipment, sign up for SCL’s Life Support Equipment Program for assistance during planned and unplanned outages.
  • Avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning – never bring generators, camp stoves, or barbeques indoors.
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from potential electrical surges when power is restored.
  • Find more tips at https://powerlines.seattle.gov/outage/.

Human Services Department (HSD) – Updated

Severe Weather Response

The City of Seattle is operating four severe weather shelters which will remain open through the morning of Monday, February 15.

These shelters, operated by Salvation Army, Compass Housing Alliance, and the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), can accommodate 239 guests.

Last night, the City of Seattle, in partnership with King County opened City Hall as a severe weather shelter. The shelter has capacity for 75 individuals and is operated by the Salvation Army and Compass Housing Alliance. King County’s severe weather shelter at Jefferson Day Center has shifted operations to support City Hall shelter. The Jefferson Day Center will remain open.

A total of 198 people stayed in temporary severe weather shelter spaces. An additional 14 individuals stayed in the new permanent women’s shelter at First Presbyterian that opened on Friday, February 12. All four severe weather sites are 24-hours and overnight guests may remain in shelters during the day. Individuals will be served on a first-come, first-served basis each night. OSL (formerly Operation Sack Lunch) is providing meal service at all severe weather shelters. City Hall and community center locations can accommodate pets and service animals.

The temporary shelter spaces meet COVID-19 safety protocols recommended by Public Health-Seattle & King County and the Centers for Disease Control which calls for COVID-19 screening for guests, expanded space to allow physical distancing, hygiene access, and increased sanitation guidelines.

Lake City Community Center opened yesterday as a COVID-19 response day center and served 20 individuals experiencing homelessness. It will be open again today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This program will run through June to provide hygiene resources for people experiencing homelessness and is operated by Lake City Partners Ending Homelessness.

There are no known impacts to case management programs assisting older adults and adults with disabilities. HSD will continue to monitor these programs and report service disruptions. During winter events, staff compiles lists of most at-risk case management clients and develops plans to provide care for people in the event of service disruption.

The North Help Line Food Bank locations in Lake City and Greenwood are closed. Other food banks are regularly closed on the weekend.

Outreach for People Experiencing Homelessness – Updated

The HOPE Team was out yesterday through the night, doing welfare checks, providing winter weather and basic needs supplies, and coordinating rides to severe weather shelters. SPR and Seattle City Light employees provided transportation for individuals experiencing homelessness to shelter. Last night, these efforts resulted in:

  • 92 welfare checks
  • 82 conversations about temporary shelters
  • 63 individuals provided winter supplies (hats, gloves, hand warmers, etc.)
  • 90 individuals provided basic needs supplies (water, snacks, etc.)
  • 10 individuals transported to temporary shelter

Today, transportation is limited due to COVID-19 precautions and road conditions. Anyone who can self-transport to shelter is encouraged to do so. The HOPE Team will continue to coordinate transportation among City department partners to severe weather shelters.

Since Wednesday, the Hope Team has:

  • Conducted 345 welfare checks
  • Shared information with 310 individuals about the temporary severe weather shelters
  • Provided 262 individuals winter supplies (hats, gloves, hand warmers, etc.)
  • Provided basic needs supplies (water, snacks, etc.) to 237 people and,
  • Transported 33 individuals to temporary shelter

Areas visited by the HOPE Team include, but are not limited to: SODO, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, Ballard, Lake City, Downtown, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, University District, Belltown, and Chinatown-International District.

Seattle Fire’s Health One team operated two units overnight and responded to 21 calls. They are not in operation on Sunday. Seattle Fire will dispatch regular resources to these incidents today.

If you need shelter, call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-9274. For families with minor children, call YWCA’s late night shelter 24-hour intake line at 206-461-4882. For an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Seattle Parks and Recreation – Updated

  • During snow events, SPR maintenance staff focus on removing snow from critical park paths, sidewalks, and curb ramps, as well as around community centers. Crews have been out this week re-treating active childcare sites, shelter sites, and high-use areas.
  • Our Tree Crew is prepared to work around the clock to respond to fallen trees and branches blocking paths, and our heavy equipment crews are prepared to respond to landslides at park sites and trails.
  • When needed, SPR crews support citywide snow response efforts, including hauling salt and supporting SDOT in snow and ice control.
  • The Human Services Department (HSD), in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), has opened Bitter Lake and Garfield Community Centers as 24-hour coed severe weather shelters. More info. here. Lake City Community Center has been opened as a COVID Response Day Center serving unsheltered adults and couples. More info. here.
  • During inclement weather, some of the limited in-person programs we are currently offering, including childcare, may be impacted. Please visit our website for up-to-date information on program closures; for information on impacts to Child Care Programs, please refer to the Child Care Hotline: 206-684-4203.
  • All SPR golf courses and ranges are closed today; courses are open for sledding and winter play. Please enter golf courses through pedestrian gates near the parking lots/pro shops. Athletic fields are closed for athletic activities but open for community play. Amy Yee Tennis Center is closed. Hygiene Shower Program: the showers at Rainier and Meadowbrook centers are closed today. Please visit our blog for updates.

During snow events, our nearly 500 parks remain open, unless otherwise indicated. Please follow COVID-19 safety precautions when visiting parks or play areas, including using a face covering, maintaining social distancing, and washing hands frequently. We encourage all visitors to use caution in our outdoor spaces. Snow and ice can cause tree branches to snap; please stay out from under trees and avoid forested parks during a snow event.

Office of Emergency Management

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is monitoring weather conditions and impacts to City services while coordinating with departments and partnering agencies to ensure their operational needs are met. OEM activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Saturday, February 13 and will continue to coordinate citywide operations through the EOC in response to the storm as long as necessary.

Seattle Fire Department – Updated

Seattle Fire response units are chained up and traveling alternate routes where normal travel routes are not passable. They are also making sure sidewalks in front of their stations remain clear of ice and snow.

The City’s COVID-19 community testing sites are normally closed on Sundays and will be open regular hours on Presidents Day. The SFD Mobile Vaccination teams are continuing their work today to deliver second doses to residents and staff at adult family homes visits.

Seattle Fire’s Health One team operated two units overnight and responded to 21 calls. They are not in operation on Sunday. Seattle Fire will dispatch regular resources to these incidents today.

To minimize risk of fire, residents should regularly check for and move any combustible materials near space heaters and other home heating sources. Make sure any heaters are plugged directly into a wall outlet. Be sure to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never use a generator indoors, in a garage, or in a carport, and never cook inside on a charcoal or gas grill. Seattle Fire has historically responded to a lot of aid responses for slips and falls during snowstorms – wear sturdy shoes with good tread.

Seattle restaurants with the large outdoor dining tents should monitor and keep clear any canopy tops of snow and ice to prevent collapse. Smaller tents should be taken down to prevent injury and damage to the tent itself.

Finance and Administrative Services Department – Updated

Facilities, fleets, and logistics teams in the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) are actively engaged in deicing operations at various facilities across the City. FAS teams have emergency generators on standby and ready to access should power disruptions occur. Fleet Management crews are operating 24/7 in support of SDOT’s efforts and FAS teams also assisted the City’s Human Services Department in its activation of an emergency severe weather shelter in Seattle City Hall Saturday evening. FAS provided cots and blankets as well as custodial and security staff. FAS fleets mechanics also assisted with shuttle bus chain up to support the overnight shelter transfers.

The Seattle Public Library – Updated

Due to continued winter weather expected through the weekend, all service locations of The Seattle Public Library (SPL) will be closed on Sunday, February 14. The curbside service locations that will be closed are Greenwood Branch, High Point Branch, Magnolia Branch, Northeast Branch, and Rainier Beach Branch. The restroom service locations that will be closed are Central Library, Ballard Branch, and Capitol Hill Branch. The parking garage at the Central Library will also be closed to the public on Sunday. Virtual Library services will remain available and patrons can access these by visiting https://www.spl.org. All SPL locations will be closed on Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday.