City of Seattle Update on Winter Weather Response

Seattle (December 29, 2021) – With snowfall accumulation between 3” and 6” earlier this week and freezing temperatures for the past few day, some city services have been impacted. The National Weather Service expects an additional 1” to 3”of snow accumulation beginning late tonight, and continuing into Thursday morning’s commute. The City of Seattle will face extremely cold temperatures and risk of icy conditions into the new year.

“With both the rise of cases and hazardous road conditions, if you don’t need to travel, don’t travel. If you don’t need to gather, don’t gather. We’ll make it through the latest challenge of 2021 together,” said Mayor Durkan. “Over the past four years, City workers have responded to over 20 extreme weather events. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that our streets are cleared, our power is on, and our unsheltered population have safe and warm places to stay during some of the coldest and snowiest days our City has ever seen. This year is no different – our City workers, essential workers, and service providers have been on the job over the past several days, working through scheduled vacations, holiday days, and a rise in Omicron cases. I can’t thank our City of Seattle workers enough for their dedication and their commitment to ensuring that all Seattle residents stay safe in this extreme weather.”

With significant snow fall accumulation, the City is urging residents and businesses:

  • Avoid and postpone road travel whenever possible.
  • Salt and shovel sidewalks adjacent to their property to ensure they remain safe and accessible. Not only is it the law; it is the right thing to do.

On Friday, December 24, Mayor Durkan signed an emergency order to help increase the number of frontline workers during the surge of Omicron. Under this winter weather emergency, Mayor Durkan’s emergency order provides incentives of at least $150 for frontline workers and human service providers who will be working in person and staffing emergency shelters and warming centers during the holidays and surge of Omicron. The City of Seattle expects to keep open the six overnight shelters into January 2022 and continue to open as many warming centers and city facilities as staffing allows with providers and employees.

The following are updates from City departments and partners:

*UPDATED * Seattle Department of Transportation: SDOT crews have been continuing to work day and night to respond to the snow storm. With most of the city’s most critical routes for transit and emergency services cleared earlier this week, today’s focus has been on clearing safety hazards on other important streets, clearing sidewalks in busy neighborhoods, and continuing to treat major streets to prevent ice from forming.  The online Storm Response Map shares real-time information on which roads have been recently plowed.

Today’s weather conditions allowed SDOT to begin clearing streets on hills that are too steep to safely plow in the midst of a snow storm. This included reopening streets on some of Seattle’s steepest hills in Queen Anne, Beacon Hill, Central District, Rainier Valley, and West Seattle. A full list of reopened streets is listed on this SDOT blog post.

Crews are continuing to work to clear other closed roads. Clearing ice and snow from these steep hills is challenging work which takes time to accomplish safely. Please continue to obey all remaining “road closed” signs, which are there for everyone’s safety. 

SDOT also sent crews to address specific hazards on other roads, especially when there was an opportunity to improve access to important public health sites like hospitals, warming shelters, vaccine clinics, dialysis centers, or specific requests from Seattle Police or Fire Department.

It is everyone’s legal responsibility to clear the sidewalks around their homes and businesses. Yesterday, SDOT street use inspectors visited about 2,500 blocks of sidewalks to talk to businesses and residents near un-shoveled sidewalks to inform them of their legal responsibility and encourage compliance with the law. SDOT also has a dedicated team working to shovel sidewalks that aren’t near privately owned buildings including 30 outdoor stairways, dozens of pedestrian overpasses, and approximately 1,200 curb ramps.

Crews are continuing to treat major streets to prevent ice from forming, but ice is still a hazard on many roads. Do not to drive if they don’t have to. If you must drive, please be careful, take it slow, and watch out for other people walking, biking, and driving. Visit the SDOT Winter Weather webpage or read this blog post for more ideas. Visit MetroWinter.com for King County Metro transit updates.    

*UPDATED* Testing and Vaccinations:  With the rise of Omicron, the City of Seattle is working to keep as many testing and vaccination efforts open. SDOT is plowing these routes and FAS is available to provide fuel for generators. As of Wednesday, December 29, UW-Medicine was available to open UW-Montlake, SODO, and West Seattle. Due to weather conditions, the Rainier Beach vaccination clinic will be closed Thursday, December 30, 2021 and scheduled appointments will be cancelled.

Please refer to https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus/testing for additional information on hours of operation for UW testing and vaccination sites.

Day Centers and Warming Centers: The City of Seattle has designated a series of facilities as warming centers across the city, which are expected to remain open into 2022. 

Open Currently:

  • Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes (Operated by Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle): 600 4th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104. Opened Sunday, December 26 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as needed through January 2, 2022. 5th Avenue Entry and meals provided by Operation Sack Lunch.
  • Seattle Center Armory, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109, Campus Map (seattlecenter.com), Opens daily at 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 206-684-7200
  • Compass Housing Alliance Day Center (adjacent to night shelter, open as staffing capacity allows), 77 S. Washington St., Seattle, WA 98104, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 206-474-1000
  • International District/Chinatown Community Center: 719 8th Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98104. Hours vary daily. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.;Tuesday and Thursday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (5 p.m. is normal closing)
  • Magnuson Park Building #406: 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Printable Park Map. Monday and Tuesday: noon – 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (normally closed).
  • Northgate Community Center: 10510 5th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125. Open Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (normally closed) 206-386-4823.
  • Rainier Beach Community Center: 8825 Rainier Ave S., Seattle, WA 98118. Hours vary daily Monday-Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (normally 6:30 p.m.), Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., 206-386-1925
  • *NEW Lake City Community Center: 12531 28th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125. Hours are Wednesday-Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Additional day centers, which are existing programs that are open year-round to support people experiencing homelessness, including during severe weather response, are on the King County Homelessness Authority guide and City’s Hygiene Map which can be filtered to show locations across the city. Anyone in need of day or evening shelter, including youth and families, can call 2-1-1 for intake and referral help.

*UPDATED* Shelter and Outreach: The City of Seattle, along with providers, has opened six Severe Weather Shelters to serve community members nightly who are experiencing homelessness. These shelters will be open through the new year. Seattle Center Exhibition Hall hosted 147 guests, City Hall hosted 52 guests, and Compass Housing Alliance in Pioneer Square hosted 51 guests overnight. City Hall and Compass Housing Alliance shelters have additional capacity for individuals experiencing homelessness in the downtown area.

Shelters are accessible via Metro, and the City of Seattle and King County Regional Homelessness Authority have partnered on rideshare transportation options. The HOPE Team in addition to first responders (including SPD and SFD) are also transporting individuals to sites.  SPD Community Service Officers and SFD Health One teams are available to provide transportation to shelters and warming centers.

The City of Seattle continues to work with providers and the King County Regional Homelessness Authority to evaluate if additional spaces can be staffed:  

  • West Seattle (Operated by American Legion Post 160 and faith-based network volunteers): 16 beds, adults 18+, now open 24/7, 3618 Southwest Alaska St., Seattle, WA 98126, 206-932-9696
  • Seattle City Hall (Operated by Urban League): 600 4th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104. Open Monday, December 27 at 7 p.m. as 24/7 shelter, meals provided by OSL. 
  • God’s Lil Acre (Operated by Lake City Partners): 12517 33rd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125. Opened today as a day center at 9 a.m. and as an overnight shelter from 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. 
  • Seattle Mennonite Church (Operated by Lake City Partners). 3120 NE 125th St, Seattle, WA 98125, 206-361-4630. Open tonight December 29, 9:00 pm – 7:00 am.  
  • Seattle Center Exhibition Hall (Operated by Salvation Army): 301 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA 98109. Enter though main entrance off Mercer Street and go down the stairs. Serves 150 people, all genders, 18+ years, non-aggressive leashed dogs and cats under owner control allowed.
    • The Armory opens daily at 10 a.m. for day warming.
    • Served directly by Metro Bus routes 3, 4, 5, 8, 16, 28, RapidRide E Line, and nearby routes include: 1, 13, and RapidRide D Line.
  • Compass Housing Alliance Shelter in Pioneer Square: 210 Alaskan Way South, Seattle, WA 98104. Enter at the corner of South Washington and Alaskan Way. Serves 80+ people, all genders, 18+ years, service animals only at this location. Day Center also available at this location.
    • Served by nearby public transit services (1-3 blocks away): Seattle Streetcar, Link Light Rail, routes 21, 29, 55, 56, 57, 101, 102, 111, 113, 114, 120, 121, 115, 150, 162, 177, 190, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, 550, 554, RapidRide C, ST 590, ST 592, ST 594, ST 595, ST 577, ST 578, PT 410, PT, 415, PT 417, PT 422, PT 424, and Washington State Ferries.

King County Regional Homelessness Authority has worked with cities across the county to open additional emergency shelter. This includes St. Dunstan’s Church serving as Shoreline Emergency Shelter (722 N 145th St., Shoreline, off Aurora), for single adults and couples, 8:30 p.m. – 7:30 a.m.

The City’s HOPE Team, working in coordination with a broad network of outreach partners over the coming days, will conduct outreach to community members about shelter options. Outreach coordination includes helping people connect with transportation shelter locations, which accept people throughout the night until they reach capacity. City staff are working with the YWCA and Mary’s Place to coordinate sheltering of families with children, and youth shelters have existing capacity for guests. Additionally, case management services for high-risk Aging and Disability Services clients are ongoing. 

  • People, including youth, in need of shelter should call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-9274 
  • Parents or guardians caring for one or more child 18 years or younger can get emergency shelter help by calling the King County Coordinated Family Intake Line at 206-245-1026, 8 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., 365-days a year.  
  • The YWCA’s women and family shelter intake line can be reached at 206-461-4882

Throughout the year, the City and HSD has been working hard to stand up new 24/7 enhanced shelters and tiny house villages over the fall and winter, opening 350 new non-congregate shelter spaces in the last three months alone. The City anticipates funding approximately 2,800 total shelter spaces by the end of the year, a 700 shelter unit increase over last year’s levels (Q4 2020) and more than 1,000 increase over 2017 levels. Additionally, 92% of City-funded shelter spaces are now 24/7 enhanced with wraparound onsite services – this compares to 75% pre-pandemic (Q4 2019).  

Seattle Center: Seattle Center Armory will maintain regular hours today, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and will serve as a warming center throughout the day. Seattle Center Monorail is in service today until 7 p.m.

Seattle City Light: There has been no major outages, but SCLis prepared with necessary equipment, supplies, chains for trucks, etc., to respond to any outage. Should there be widespread outages, City Light has crews on standby ready to respond and work 24/7 until every single customer is back on. Tips for staying safe in case of an outage: 

  • Be prepared for potential power outages with blankets, flashlights and batteries. And don’t forget to charge your devices so you can call if you need assistance. You can also keep an eye on the status of outages via City Light’s online outage map (www.seattle.gov/city-light/outages) and on Twitter or Facebook
  • If you see a downed power line, stay at least 30 feet away and call 9-1-1. 
  • Avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by never bringing generators, camp stoves or barbeques indoors.

Seattle Preschool Program (SPP): Parents are encouraged to follow their preschool provider’s inclement weather policy. Preschool sites operated by Seattle Public Schools (SPS), including full-day programs, SPP, and Head Start should refer to SPS’s adverse weather guidance posted on their website. 

Finance and Administrative Services: Facilities, fleets and logistics teams in the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) are actively engaged and supporting 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. Additionally, FAS’ Customer Service Centers remain open per their regular schedules at this time and will close only if conditions require.

*UPDATED* Seattle Public Utilities: SPU transfer stations are currently open regular hours. There was no residential garbage pickup on Wednesday, December 29. SPU will continue monitoring the weather and will resume trash pick up as soon as possible. If your garbage, recycling and yard waste is not picked up for a second week, you can drop it off at one of the transfer stations.

In addition, if materials are not picked up but the end of the day, customers will be able to set out 2x the normal amount at no extra charge on the following scheduled pickup day.

As a reminder, SPU urges:

  • Protect indoor sink pipes that are against exterior walls by opening under-sink cabinet doors to allow indoor heat to circulate. 
  • Allow one indoor faucet to slowly drip cold water. Select the faucet that is the farthest from your front door.  
  • Protect water pipes from freezing in exposed or unheated areas (attics, basements and garages) by wrapping them with tape and insulating materials.
  • Drain and remove all outdoor hoses and cover faucets for hose bibs. 
  • Know where your shutoffs are located. If an emergency occurs, you’ll need to know how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.

If you suspect your pipes are frozen, follow these steps:  

  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using towels soaked in hot water wrapped around the pipe, an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, or an electric hair dryer. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device. Do not use electrical devices if there is standing water. 
  • If a water pipe breaks, immediately close the main shut-off valve to stop flooding. The shut-off valve can be indoors or outdoors, usually in a basement, crawlspace or garage. 
  • If you cannot turn off the main shut-off valve, SPU customers can call (206) 386-1800 and a crew will turn off the water at the meter for a service charge.  

Seattle Parks and Recreation: All parks are open. Pools have shortened hours and some community centers are open for drop-in programs. Please check online for details about specific sites and programs. Crews are on standby to address tree failures, and support city efforts to clear sidewalks. In the event of snow, stay out of heavily wooded areas as trees are more prone to failure when soil is very wet and branches are weighed down with snow. 

*UPDATED* The Seattle Public Library: Due to inclement weather and staffing limitations, The Seattle Public Library will open select library locations on a modified schedule. The following 13 locations will be open today with reduced hours at the times listed below. Some library parking lots have not been cleared and are impacted by snow and ice.

LIBRARY LOCATIONS OPEN ON WEDNESDAY, DEC. 29

  • Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave. N.W., Seattle: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Beacon Hill Branch, 2821 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Broadview Branch, 12755 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Capitol Hill Branch, 425 Harvard Ave. E., Seattle: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Columbia Branch, 4721 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E. Yesler Way, Seattle: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Greenwood Branch, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St., Seattle: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Lake City Branch, 12501 28th Ave. N.E., Seattle: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • NewHolly Branch, 7058 32nd Ave. S., Seattle: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Rainier Beach Branch, 9125 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave. S.W., Seattle: Noon to 6 p.m.

13 branch library locations are closed today: Delridge, Fremont, Green Lake, International District/Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark, Magnolia, Montlake, Northeast, Queen Anne, South Park, University, Wallingford and West Seattle.

SPL expects some closures on Thursday due to staffing and weather conditions. You can check this SPL blog post for ongoing updates while inclement weather is impacting services and hours: www.spl.org/snow.

Seattle Fire Department: The Seattle Fire Department has the following updates: 

  • Remember to heat your home safely by keeping flammable items at least one foot from baseboard heaters, and three feet from portable heaters and fireplaces. Generators should never be used indoors. More tips on Fireline
  • Sidewalks may look clear but could be icy when the cold weather hits. Make sure to wear shoes with good tread, reflective gear at night, and keep hands free from pockets in case you need to break a fall. 
  • SFD Health One crews are available to help transport individuals experiencing homelessness to warming centers and overnight shelters. SFD’s Mobile Integrated Health Program Manager is working closely with other entities in the City for other transport options for individuals experiencing homelessness.  

Office of Arts and Culture: Due to inclement weather and the upcoming holidays, ARTS at King Street Station and Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute will be closed through Saturday, January 1. Operations will resume on Tuesday, January 4. 

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