State lands commissioner asks for help from public amid high wildfire risk

August 16, 2012

NEW — 10:30 p.m. Aug. 16, 2012

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark asked for help from the public Thursday to prevent wildfires, as the risk rises on both sides of the Cascades.

“The next three days are going to be very dangerous in terms of the potential for wildfire,” he said in a statement. “That is true in Western Washington as well as Eastern Washington. It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe and not take any risks.”

The request came as the National Weather Service maintains a regional excessive heat warning for communities along Puget Sound and in the Cascade foothills. Temperatures could approach 100 degrees in Issaquah on Thursday.

The weekend forecast includes a significant risk of lightning-sparked wildfires.

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Temperature to inch close to 100 degrees in Issaquah

August 16, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 16, 2012

Expect the temperature to climb to almost 100 degrees in Issaquah on Thursday, as the week comes to a simmering conclusion.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle forecast a high temperature near 96 and sunny conditions for Thursday. Expect a high temperature near 94 and sunny conditions on Friday. The high temperature is expected to drop to a more manageable 82 degrees Saturday.

Issaquah is under a regional excessive heat warning. The alert means the region is in a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures, and the combination of heat and humidity can cause heat-related illnesses. The excessive heat warning is in effect until 11 p.m. Friday.

The city is also under a regional red flag warning, meaning a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures can create explosive fire potential. The red flag warning is in effect until 11 a.m. Thursday.

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Use safety precautions to stay cool as mercury rises

August 15, 2012

NEW — 12:15 p.m. Aug. 15, 2012

The mercury is expected to surpass 90 degrees Wednesday and in the days ahead, and as temperatures rise, so do the risks for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle forecast highs of 89 for Wednesday, 95 for Thursday and 96 for Friday — hot enough to trigger a regional excessive heat watch. Thursday and Friday could rank among the hottest days of 2012.

State public health officials recommend for people seeking relief from high temperatures to visit air-conditioned places, such as public libraries, shopping malls or movie theaters. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help people stay cooler once they get back into the heat.

In Issaquah, city officials monitor the community through the police department and other resources before making a decision to open a public cooling station.

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Snow prompts Issaquah School District to delay classes

March 13, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 13, 2012

Snow blanketed the Issaquah area overnight and led the Issaquah School District to operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday morning.

Because of the delay, district officials canceled all before-school activities, including morning school-age care, Headstart, morning and afternoon preschool, morning and afternoon kindergarten, and out-of-district transportation.

In addition, full-day kindergarten starts two hours late due to the snow.

Spots in the Issaquah area and other areas in the Cascade foothills received several inches of snow overnight. Motorists should exercise caution on state Route 18 across the Tiger Mountain summit.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle said snow is not expected to accumulate throughout the morning. The temperature is expected to climb into the mid-40s and the snow level is expected to rise to about 1,000 feet.

Meteorologists issue wind advisory for Issaquah, Puget Sound lowlands

March 11, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. March 11, 2012

National Weather Service meteorologists issued a wind advisory due to the potential for winds of more than 30 mph and gusts of more than 50 mph.

The advisory — for Issaquah and the East Puget Sound lowlands — is in effect until 1 p.m. Monday.

Forecasters issue a wind advisory if the possibility exists for sustained winds of 30 to 39 mph and gusts of 45 to 57 mph.

The advisory comes as a strong front makes landfall Sunday night and early Monday.

Strong winds can topple trees and cause power outages.

National Weather Service issues flood watch for King County

February 21, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 21, 2012

National Weather Service meteorologists issued a flood watch for King County late Monday, as rain continues to pelt the region.

The flood watch is in effect for King County and other Western Washington counties until Thursday afternoon.

Meteorologists said heavy rain is forecast in the Cascades through Wednesday morning. The snow level is expected to rise to 6,000 to 7,000 feet above the Central Cascades during the same period.

Though the highest flooding risk is for rivers flowing from the mountains, increased precipitation in the area could cause Issaquah Creek to rise.

City officials base Issaquah Creek flood warnings on real-time data from a gauge upstream from Issaquah in Hobart. The system usually provides hours of lead time before flooding impacts Issaquah.

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Cleanup continues after snowstorm and ice cause havoc

January 24, 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

In the days after a snowstorm pummeled the region, blackout chased whiteout, as residents uneasy about thorny commutes and missed meetings instead confronted sinking temperatures and toppling trees — all sans electricity.

The major snowstorm dropped 3 to 6 inches across the Issaquah area Jan. 18, but the struggle started the next day, as a rare ice storm led to widespread power outages and caused trees to send ice- and snow-laden branches earthward.

The harsh conditions tested road crews, prompted spinouts and fender benders around the region, and led officials to cancel school for almost a week.

“It was like a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 punch,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said Jan. 23, as cleanup efforts continued. “For awhile there, I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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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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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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Downed trees prompt state Route 900, Southeast 56th Street road closures

January 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Downed trees and power lines prompted road closures on state Route 900 in Issaquah and rural King County early Thursday morning.

Crews responded a downed tree and power lines before 7:50 a.m. between Northwest Talus Drive and the southern city limits. The stretch between the access road to the Talus urban village and the city line remains closed as Puget Sound Energy crews tend to the downed tree.

Outside city limits, in rural King County, the state Department of Transportation said state Route 900 is closed at Southeast May Valley Road due to a downed tree.

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

The closures came as ice weighted down trees and power lines, contributing to road closures and power outages throughout the region.

PSE reported more than 12,000 customers in the Issaquah area without power at 9:55 a.m.

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