Feb. 15 Update: City of Seattle Continues Response to Winter Storms


SEATTLE (February 15, 2021) – Response and recovery efforts continue after two winter storms moved through the area over the weekend, bringing cold temperatures and historic snowfall totals. Warmer temperatures and rainfall have moved into the Seattle metro, which could result in urban flooding in some areas as snow melts.

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 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 road conditions, there will be no residential or commercial garbage, recycling or food/yard waste pickup in Seattle today, Monday, February 15, 2021. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) contractors will attempt to serve priority commercial locations this afternoon. Weather and road conditions permitting, garbage, recycling, and food/yard waste service will resume Tuesday on a revised schedule — with customers scheduled for pickup today (Monday) collected Tuesday. All remaining residential services will be delayed one day this week. If garbage, recycling and food/yard waste are not picked up by the end of the following day, customers should put them out on their next regularly scheduled pickup day. Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day. For service updates, please check http://www.seattle.gov/utilities and Twitter: www.twitter.com/SeattleSPU. 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. Seattle City Light - Updated Seattle City Light (SCL) monitors weather conditions to prepare for potential power outages. At this time, there are two outages affecting nine customers. More outages could be expected as the rain weighs down tree branches still covered in snow. SCL has crews 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 opened four severe weather shelters in response to the winter storm that could accommodate 239 guests.

  • Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion (305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109)

  • Garfield Community Center (2323 East Cherry Street)

  • Bitter Lake Community Center (13035 Linden Avenue North)

  • City Hall (600 4th Avenue).

These shelters, operated by Salvation Army, Compass Housing Alliance, and the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). City Hall shelter was opened in partnership with King County. Fisher Pavilion and City Hall shelters have extended their hours of operation and will now close today at 3 p.m. Bitter Lake and Garfield community centers closed this morning as planned at 8 a.m. Seattle City Light provided three buses to transport Bitter Lake and Garfield community center guests to where they wanted to go. Women can be transported from the severe weather shelters to the new women’s shelter at First Presbyterian Church, which will remain open 24 hours until tomorrow when it moves back to an overnight shelter. This morning, the HOPE Team made 13 referrals from these temporary severe weather shelters into permanent shelters. Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle is sending outreach to Fisher Pavilion and City Hall shelters. Last night, a total of 216 people stayed in temporary severe weather shelter spaces. An additional 15 women stayed at First Presbyterian Church, which opened on Friday, February 12. All four severe weather sites were 24-hours and overnight guests could remain in shelters during the day. Three meals a day were provided during the operations of these temporary shelters by OSL (formerly Operation Sack Lunch) City Hall shelter and the community center shelters were able to accommodate pets and service animals. The temporary shelter spaces met 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 Saturday as a new COVID-19 response day center for individuals experiencing homelessness. It was open again yesterday 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. Holiday schedule in effect impacting some food bank and meal service programs. Call 211 for schedule info. No known closures due to inclement weather at this time Outreach for People Experiencing Homelessness - Updated Since Wednesday, the HOPE Team, in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation’s (SPR) Encampment Team, performed welfare checks, provided winter weather and basic needs supplies, and coordinated rides to severe weather shelters. The HOPE Team, with additional support from SPR and Seattle City Light employees, provided transportation for individuals experiencing homelessness to shelter. During the winter storm, the Hope Team and City partners:

  • Conducted 380 welfare checks

  • Shared information with 310 individuals about the temporary severe weather shelters

  • Provided 277 individuals winter supplies (hats, gloves, hand warmers, etc.)

  • Provided basic needs supplies (water, snacks, etc.) to 237 people and,

  • Transported 42 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. 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

  • SPR maintenance staff are focused on removing snow from critical park paths, sidewalks, and curb ramps, as well as around community centers. Crews continue to remove snow and ice from active childcare sites, shelter sites, and high-use areas.

  • The Tree Crew is prepared to work around the clock responding to fallen trees and branches blocking paths, and heavy equipment crews are prepared to respond to landslides at park sites and trails.

  • Lake City Community Center will reopen tomorrow, Tuesday, February 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. as a COVID Response Day Center serving unsheltered adults and couples. More info. here.

  • All SPR golf courses are closed today; courses are open for sledding and winter play. Please enter golf courses through pedestrian gates near the parking lots/pro shops. Interbay and Jackson Park golf ranges will attempt to operate today. Please call the range before heading down to confirm it is open.

  • Athletic fields are closed for athletic activities but open for community play.

  • Amy Yee Tennis Center will operate on reduced hours today from noon to 5 p.m.

  • Please visit our blog for updates on program and facility impacts.

As temperatures warm, SPR continues to encourage park 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. We ask that people using the Burke-Gilman Trail be mindful of conditions along the trail. Saturated ground means potential slides and deep puddles may accumulate as the snow melts. To report slides, downed trees and branches, or other maintenance issues in our parks and open spaces, please call 206-684-7250. Office of Emergency Management - Updated The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to support City departments and partner agencies working to restore services and clean up after this weekend’s winter storms. OEM will monitor conditions, coordinate response efforts, and ensure resource needs are met. OEM encourages residents and businesses in Seattle to prepare for emergencies, including severe winter weather. OEM offers virtual emergency preparedness training, emergency kit checklists, emergency plan templates, and other resources. More information on these programs and resources is available on the OEM website: www.seattle.gov/emergency. Seattle Fire Department - Updated Seattle Fire response units continue to utilize chains as necessary on apparatus for responding to emergencies. Members of the public are reminded to properly park vehicles, to ensure large fire apparatus can pass through on side streets. The City’s four COVID-19 community testing sites are 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. As the snow melts, the risk of snow, ice and debris sliding from roofs increases – residents should avoid walking below roof lines during this time. Additionally, commercial buildings with flat roofs should ensure melting snow can appropriately run-off. Seattle restaurants with the large outdoor dining tents should continue to 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. 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. Finance and Administrative Services Department - Updated Facilities, fleets, and logistics teams continue deicing operations at various facilities across the City. Fleet Management crews are operating 24/7 until midnight in support of SDOT’s efforts. FAS fleets mechanics also assisted with shuttle bus chain-up to support the overnight shelter transfers and prepared SCL trucks to provide mutual aid in Oregon.