King County Metro Transit rolls out snow routes Friday

January 20, 2012

NEW — 6:15 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Expect King County Metro Transit buses to remain chained up and on snow routes Friday.

Officials said transit operating conditions could change throughout the day, and service some routes could be restored as crews clear fallen trees and downed power lines from roads.

Metro Transit plans to operate the same level of service as earlier in the week, with about 30 routes canceled Friday. So, before traveling, riders should check for the most current status of Metro Transit service.

Updates to Metro Transit’s snow website continue as needed until travel conditions improve. Even though weather and road conditions in the morning may not be bad in a particular area, delays and service disruptions can occur in other parts of the county and affect bus service elsewhere. Buses have also been equipped with chains and must travel at slower speeds.

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Issaquah Community Center opens as 24-hour shelter

January 19, 2012

Barry Morgan (right), American Red Cross volunteer, registers the 100th client at the Issaquah Community Center at 3 p.m. Jan. 20 for a place to stay. Volunteer Stan McKenzie and service dog Katsu are at left. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 9:20 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

The city and the American Red Cross partnered to turn the Issaquah Community Center into a shelter for people without heat and power.

The 24-hour shelter opened Thursday night at the community center, 301 Rainier Blvd. S.

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Firefighters respond to house fire in Mirrormont near Issaquah

January 19, 2012

NEW — 8:40 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Firefighters raced to a house fire in a Tiger Mountain neighborhood near Issaquah on Thursday night,

Eastside Fire & Rescue responded to the house in the 24600 block of Southeast Mirrormont Boulevard at about 8:30 p.m.

Neighbors reported heavy smoke billowing from the single-story home and flames spreading to the outside deck. Firefighters face another challenge: a long, steep driveway to the structure — a particular hazard in cold, slick conditions.

The fire started in the garage, where a generator had been operating, and later spread to nearby trees.

King County Sheriff’s Office personnel helped to shuttle firefighters’ resources to the scene, EFR spokeswoman Josie Williams posted on Twitter. The residents safely evacuated from the home.

Firefighters continue to battle the blaze. No injuries have yet been reported.

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Issaquah road closures expand due to downed power lines, fallen trees

January 19, 2012

NEW — 7:50 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Trees loaded with snow continue to snap and fall on state highways and local streets across Issaquah and nearby unincorporated areas, causing street closures.

Crews said a coating of ice on trees and power lines is further complicating travel. Motorists should be on the lookout for falling debris as well as ice on roads.

Early Thursday, crews responded a downed tree and power lines on state Route 900 between Northwest Talus Drive and the southern city limits. The stretch between the access road to the Talus urban village and the city line closed early Thursday and remains closed as Puget Sound Energy crews tend to the problem.

Southeast 56th Street from 229th Avenue Southeast to East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast is closed due to downed power lines.

On Squak Mountain, Highwood Drive Southwest near the intersection of Greenwood Boulevard Southwest is closed and Southwest Forest Drive is closed from Wildwood Boulevard Southwest to Wildwood Boulevard Southwest. In addition, the road is closed at 845 S.W. Ellerwood St.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue opens downtown Issaquah shelter

January 19, 2012

NEW — 7:45 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue opened a warming shelter in downtown Issaquah on Thursday evening, as cold temperatures blasted the city.

Many residents spent the night after a rare ice storm in cold and darkness, as crews raced to restore power to the city. However, the push to restore power to Issaquah and other Western Washington communities could last several days.

EFR opened Station 71, 190 E. Sunset Way, near Issaquah City Hall as a warming shelter.

Meanwhile, Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District officials offered another emergency number for customers. The district is experiencing difficulties due to the widespread power outage. Customers should call 647-1627 to report water or sewer emergencies.

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City activates Emergency Operations Center, Eastside Fire & Rescue opens shelters

January 19, 2012

NEW — 5:10 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

City officials opened the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday afternoon to coordinate the response to a major snowstorm and ice storm, and subsequent power outages across Issaquah and the region.

The decision came as more than 18,000 customers in Issaquah faced nightfall without power and temperatures in the low 30s. Puget Sound Energy is in the midst of a colossal effort to restore power to about 200,000 customers in Western Washington. In a tweet posted at 4:59 p.m., PSE said people without power should not expect to have power restored Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Eastside Fire & Rescue opened Fire Station 82, 1851 228th Ave. N.E., and Fire Station 83, 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., as warming shelters.

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Few gas stations remain open; motorists should prepare for long lines

January 19, 2012

NEW — 4:35 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

The search for gasoline to fuel generators and top off gas tanks often ended at closed gas stations or in long lines Thursday afternoon, as gas stations in Issaquah and the surrounding area closed amid a regional power outage and icy conditions.

Few gas stations remained open after a major snowstorm and subsequent ice storm cut power to about 200,000 customers in Western Washington, including more than 18,000 customers in the Issaquah area. (Customers can check Puget Sound Energy’s service map for detailed outage information.)

The Grange Supply, 145 N.E. Gilman Blvd., near downtown Issaquah remained open Thursday afternoon, although customers encountered long lines.

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Issaquah School District cancels classes for Friday

January 19, 2012

NEW — 3:45 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Issaquah School District students receive a bonus — if unexpected winter break — as officials canceled classes for Friday, giving students a complete week off from school.

The district announced the closure just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Officials also canceled classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, due to icy road conditions in the early morning hours and a subsequent snowstorm. (Students did not attend classes Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.)

School closures impact all district-related meetings and activities, including Headstart, school-age care and preschool.

The cancellation also means the finals schedule for high school students is delayed further.

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Puget Sound Energy reports more than 17,000 Issaquah customers without power

January 19, 2012

NEW — 1:40 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Puget Sound Energy said almost 30,000 local customers lack power as a crippling ice storm impacts the region.

The utility said 17,281 customers in Issaquah and 12,369 customers in Sammamish lacked power at 1:25 p.m. (Customers can check PSE’s service map for detailed information.)

PSE estimated power restoration could take several days — or longer — as crews confront difficult situations related to ice and snow, the utility announced in a tweet.

If the power goes out, PSE customers can call the utility’s automated phone system at 1-888-225-5773 to report outages and learn about service updates.

Overall, outages impacted more than 180,000 customers across Western Washington. Bellevue-based PSE requested 140 additional crews from other states to address the problems and restore power.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to repair power as quickly as possible,” PSE posted in a tweet at noon.

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Motorists encounter fallen trees on local, regional roads

January 19, 2012

State Route 900 remains barricaded at midafternoon Jan. 20 to motorists wanting to go southbound past Northwest Talus Drive, a day after a downed tree blocked access to the urban village. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 1:15 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

State transportation officials said the ice after a major snowstorm continues to create difficult driving conditions throughout the region.

Department of Transportation planners said frigid temperatures should continue to cause harsh conditions throughout Thursday.

“We had our crews out all night de-icing the roads. We threw everything we had at this storm — sand, de-icer, salt and plows,” Regional Maintenance Manager Dave McCormick said. “It’s so widespread that it’s been very difficult to keep up.”

State Route 900 is closed at Southeast May Valley Road. State Route 18 remains closed from Auburn Way and Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast due to multiple downed trees for several miles. State Route 202 is closed between Fall City and Snoqualmie due to downed trees. The roads should remain closed for several hours.

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