Issaquah Community Center shelter is open for another night

January 21, 2012

UPDATED — 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2012

The 24-hour shelter at the Issaquah Community Center is open for another night Saturday, as power returns to many customers and the need decreases.

The shelter, 301 Rainier Blvd. S., hosted 24 people overnight Friday, as power remained out for many residents in the Issaquah area. Many other people stopped in throughout the day for snacks and warmth.

The shelter is scheduled to close Sunday, American Red Cross officials announced Saturday night.

Meanwhile, city crews and residents continued recovery efforts. Only a section of a Squak Mountain street — Southwest Ellerwood Street — remained closed Saturday afternoon, after crews toiled Friday to clear downed trees from roadways.

Community Emergency Response Teams also fanned out across the city to distribute leaflets about the community center shelter, a joint effort between the city and the American Red Cross.

People intending to spend the night at the shelter should bring prescription and emergency medications; extra clothing, pillows, blankets, toiletries and other comfort items; and important documents.

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State highways near Issaquah reopen after crew clear downed trees

January 21, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2012

The slushy sections of state highway near Issaquah left closed after a snowstorm and subsequent ice storm reopened to traffic, state Department of Transportation officials announced Saturday.

State Route 18 from Interstate 90 to Auburn — closed after hundreds of downed trees littered the roadway — reopened at 2 p.m. Saturday. State Route 900 at Southeast May Valley Road reopened Friday afternoon.

“Drivers are anxious to have things back to normal and we are working to make that happen,” said Dave McCormick, Department of Transportation regional maintenance manager.

Crews spent the night removing sand, slush, branches and other debris from storm drains. Flooding could result on roadways as temperatures increase and snow melts.

“Hundreds of trees fell,” McCormick said. “It’s the worst we’ve seen in the last several years.”

Power is still a problem for thousands of residents and Department of Transportation traffic engineers. Engineers cannot see cameras or gather in-road sensor data on large sections of major highways in the region. The agency has backup generators in place at the communications hub, but the power to individual systems is still down. The state has no estimate on restoration of the affected systems.

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Crews restore power to some Issaquah residents, but others wait

January 20, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Puget Sound Energy crews had restored power to many Issaquah neighborhoods by early Friday evening, but large swaths remained in the dark as workers race to restore power across the region.

Downtown residents reported power coming back just after 5:30 p.m. Crews restored power for residents in some areas, including the Issaquah Highlands, late Thursday.

Puget Sound Energy estimated 8,876 customers in Issaquah without power early Friday evening — down from about 18,000 customers without power midday Thursday. Crews continue to work on restoring power to the areas left in the dark.

Still, despite the success, officials remained concerned about the possibility of additional weather challenges in the days ahead.

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City, Issaquah School District cancel weekend events

January 20, 2012

NEW — 5:05 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

City and Issaquah School District officials canceled weekend events as residents gird for rain and wind after ice and snow caused headaches throughout the week.

The city canceled all basketball games at the Issaquah Community Center for Saturday due to power outages and winter weather. In addition, the community center is open as a 24-hour shelter. The games cannot be made up due to time and facility constraints.

The school district nixed all athletic events for the weekend, including a middle-school wrestling tournament and high school events.

The policy is the same as neighboring districts in the league if school is cancelled on a Friday and athletes have not been able to practice beforehand. In addition, emergency conditions exist throughout western Washington, and officials could not guarantee safety of transportation — or power — in facilities. Athletes can learn make-up dates through their schools.

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Increased fireplace use during power outage impacts air quality

January 20, 2012

Jan Bagge (right) and neighbor Flora Lindsay purchase 14 gallons of gas at the East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast Union 76 station for the generators at their Preston homes. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

The air in Issaquah is thick with woodsmoke Friday as residents light up fireplaces for warmth amid a regional power outage.

The agency responsible for monitoring air quality in the region, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, ranked the air quality in King County as moderate Friday.

The ranking means air quality is acceptable, but for some pollutants a moderate health concern exists. The health concern impacts people sensitive to air pollution — small children, senior citizens and people suffering from chronic health conditions.

The air pollutants can be harmful for people suffering from heart disease, diabetes, asthma and lung diseases. Pollutants pose the most risk to children and older adults.

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Issaquah Creek, street flooding emerge as latest concerns as city thaws

January 20, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Concerns about Issaquah Creek and street flooding bubbled to the surface Friday afternoon, as ice and snow melt after debilitating storms and forecasters issued a flood watch for Western Washington.

City crews, officials and residents also cast a wary eye at ice- and snow-laden trees, as meteorologists forecast strong winds to last through the weekend — creating another possibility for overtaxed trees to drop branches on roads and residences.

Officials urged residents to clear snow and debris, such as fallen leaves and downed tree branches, from storm drains near homes in order to reduce the street-flooding risk.

The latest alerts came as many Issaquah residents spent another day without power, as Puget Sound Energy crews raced to restore power to more than 200,000 customers across the region.

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State Route 18 near Issaquah remains closed due to downed trees

January 20, 2012

Trees block state Route 18 near Tiger Mountain, a section along a 24-mile closure of the roadway. State Department of Transportation

NEW — 12:15 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

State Route 18 — closed early Thursday as a snowstorm yielded to a crippling ice storm — remains closed Thursday afternoon as crews tend to fallen trees in both directions along the roadway.

The route remains closed from Interstate 90 near Preston to state Route 164, or Auburn Way South — a 24-mile stretch. State Department of Transportation officials said no estimated reopening time is available for the road section.

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Officials urge residents to check on elderly neighbors as outage lingers

January 20, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012

The pummeling from winter weather for several days means many people, especially senior citizens and people of limited mobility, have been stuck at home for almost a week.

Officials urged residents in Issaquah and elsewhere in King County to check on people in their neighborhoods to see if they need assistance. Consider inviting people without power to a warm place to heat up amid the ongoing power outage.

(Puget Sound Energy estimated about 11,000 customers without power in Issaquah early Thursday morning.)

Residents can also seek refuge at a 24-hour shelter at the Issaquah Community Center, 301 Rainer Blvd. S. The shelter is operated by the city and the American Red Cross.

Officials also reminded people to limit calls to 911 to actual emergencies.

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Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District service is restored

January 20, 2012

NEW — 8:35 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District officials said power has been restored and district facilities returned to normal functions.

The request for customers to conserve water is no longer in effect. Customers can use water and sewer facilities as normal.

The district encompasses North Issaquah neighborhoods, including Providence Point, and Klahanie in unincorporated King County. Overall, the district serves 16,300 water customers and 10,100 sewer customers.

Officials said some areas in the district service area remain without power. Customers without power and on a sewer grinder pump system should continue to minimize water and toilet use until the power is restored.

The winter storm interrupted operation to 11 district water facilities and 15 sewer lift stations. The district kept facilities operating through the use of backup generators, but the loss of power and communication posed challenges for the continuity of operations.

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In Issaquah, power outage, travel headaches continue for another day

January 20, 2012

Rodney Amburgey, a lineman with City Pacific Services contracted to Puget Sound Energy, works Jan. 20 to secure a broken and dangling utility pole crossbeam at Southeast May Valley Road and 231st Place Southeast. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 6:30 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Though the forecast calls for temperatures to inch upward Friday, effects from a major snowstorm and rare ice storm continue to impact Issaquah residents.

Puget Sound Energy estimated 11,235 customers remained without power in Issaquah at 6:10 a.m. — a drop from the more than 18,000 left in the dark Thursday. Difficult road conditions continue to challenge motorists on city streets and roads in unincorporated King County.

City road crews continue to focus on maintaining priority routes and removing downed trees from the roadway. Numerous roads in Issaquah and nearby areas closed Thursday due to fallen trees and downed power lines.

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