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City of Seattle Update on Winter Weather Response – Wednesday, January 13

Seattle (January 13, 2021) – Following heavy rains and strong winds overnight the City of Seattle is closely monitoring impacts to City services.  

The storm that moved through overnight brought strong winds and peak gusts of up to 50 mph, with over 70,000 power outages at the height of the wind event. After days of above-average rainfall, strong winds were able to knock down trees and powerlines, resulting in significant impacts to services and roadways. City departments coordinated and monitored the storm impacts overnight and began work to restore services and remove debris as soon as it was safe to do so.   

The following are updates from City departments: 

Seattle City Light – Seattle City Light crews continue to respond to several outages throughout our service territory from last night’s windstorm. High winds and saturated soil triggered heavy trees and branches to land on power lines, resulting in more than 120 individual outages and 74,000 customers without power. Impacts were greater south of the Ship Canal, with 15 feeders damaged in the south end vs. five feeders in the north end. 

As of 3:25 p.m., crews had restored power to over 64,000 customers and approximately 9,600 remain without service. They’ll continue to work until power is restored to all customers. 

During large, widespread outage events, City Light focuses first on addressing life safety incidents and restoring power for emergency services, such as hospitals. Crews then focus on repairs that will bring the largest number of customers back online. Restoration times will vary based on the outage incident and severity (e.g., if crews need to wait for a tree to be removed in order to safely make repairs). 

Customers can track the status of their outage by visiting our online outage map and follow @SEACityLight.   

Seattle Department of Transportation – Since midnight, SDOT has received over 260 calls about storm related incidents, and SDOT crews worked throughout the night and day in back-to-back 12-hour shifts to respond to the storm damage and restore public safety. SDOT Response Teams were deployed throughout Seattle to clear debris and remove blockages from roads, bike trails, and sidewalks. SDOT is also working with our contractors to make sure areas around construction sites are safe and clear.  

Some roads remain closed until SCL can safely respond to trees in power lines. Most notably, E Marginal Way SW remains closed between 14th Ave S and Corson Ave S until Seattle City Light crews clear power lines and determine the road is safe to reopen. Road conditions can change quickly, for the most up-to-date information visit the SDOT Storm Response Map and follow @SDOT_traffic

Seattle Public Utilities –Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) prepared for this week’s storms and continues to respond to resulting drainage and wastewater issues. SPU crews visited critical drainage sites in advance of the storms and Operations Response Center staff worked with crews to respond to 100 priority calls Monday through early Wednesday. Crews continue to respond to pump station issues and customer calls.   

Know what to do during inclement weather: 

  • Report a broken pipe, sewer backups or flooding issues to SPU’s Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800 
  • Avoid frozen water pipes when the temperature dips below freezing 
  • During snow and ice events, set out your garbage, recycling and food waste carts on their normal collection day. If they aren’t picked up, leave them out for one following day before bringing them in. 

Seattle Fire Department – Firefighters responded to over 20 calls to 9-1-1 for downed wires throughout the evening hours in response to the storm, but fortunately, no significant injuries or incidents were reported. The department reminds residents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by only using a generator outdoors and far away from open windows and vents (never indoors), and to never cook inside on charcoal or gas grills. Avoid driving or walking outside during a windstorm if you can, to prevent injuries from occurring. 

Seattle Parks and Recreation – Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) crews have been busy clearing downed trees from multiple park sites this morning, as well as removing tree branches and limbs from parks and trails across the city. Crews responded today to a slide on the Burke-Gilman Trail and to flooding at Matthew’s Beach Park. Currently, the Green Lake Play Area is closed while staff address a drainage issue at this location following the windstorm.  

There have been no impacts to the limited in-person programs SPR is currently offering, and childcare and Teen Hubs have remained open today. Please visit our website for up-to-date information on closures; for information on any potential impacts to Child Care Programs during inclement weather events, please refer to the Child Care Hotline: 206-684-4203. 

Following last night’s windstorm, SPR encourages all visitors to use caution in our outdoor spaces and to please stay out from under trees and avoid forested park areas. To report a downed tree or maintenance issue in a park, contact 206-684-7250. 

Human Services Department – For individuals in need of shelter or services, please call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-9274. The Human Service Department’s (HSD) hygiene services map shows City-funded hygiene services, provided by multiple City departments, that are open to people in need. Details of HSD’s winter weather emergency response plans can be found on the Homelessness Response Blog. HSD encourages anyone in need of food or meal services to consult the food access map to ensure their local food program is operational. When in doubt, call your food provider to see if their hours have been impacted by severe weather.  

Sign Up for Emergency Alerts – The City of Seattle encourages everyone to sign up for AlertSeattle to receive free emergency alerts via text, email, and voice message. City departments use AlertSeattle to share critical safety information during emergencies like earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as impacts to utilities and transportation systems. To sign up, text the word SEATTLE to 67283, or go to to create an alert profile online.