Recently in Local Events Category

What with Hurrican Florence poised to wipe out significant parts of the Carolinas, it is good to remember that disasters are not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN

Our local newspaper has a nice write-up - from the Stanwood Camano News:

Disaster resilience depends on being ready; Camano group can help
When disaster happens, communities come together. Emergency management staff, first responders and other professionals are the framework of disaster response, but the coordinated actions of trained residents can save many more lives and reduce suffering.

This is particularly true in places that face the prospect of large-scale disasters, whether earthquakes, volcano eruptions, landslides, wild fires or floods, according to Sue Ryan, Camano Preparedness Group program director. Camano Island also faces the possibility of being cut off from the mainland for weeks, she said.

“When a major earthquake strikes in our area, the need for first responders will immediately far exceed available resources. When that happens, we will be our own first responders,” Ryan said. “This is why we encourage people to get trained and be involved. It could take days to weeks before real help could arrive.”

Some good points - I have been meeting with these people and they are really clear headed and have a great grasp of what is needed.

Air quality - not good

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Back from working at the condo - starting to get one rooom pulled together - three more plus the garage to go.

The air quality is really bad today - much worse than a week ago and much worse than last year. Here is what Seattle looks like from AIRNow (great website):

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Driving into the farm I was struck by just how flammable everything looked - the grass is brown and the air is very heavy. All that happens is that someone gets distracted for a moment or does something stupid and the whole valley goes up in flames. It has happened twice before in our known (white man, not native) history.

And this just came in this afternoon:

...RED FLAG WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM PDT THIS EVENING FOR
GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY FOR FIRE WEATHER ZONES 653 and
656...

* AFFECTED AREA...Fire Weather Zones 653 and 656. This is mainly
intended to cover locations near and northeast of Bellingham.

* WINDS...Northeast wind of 10 to 15 mph in exposed locations,
with gusts near 20 mph.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY...20 to 30 percent, and temperatures in the
mid 80s to lower 90s.

* IMPACTS...A combination of wind, low relative humidity, and
warm temperatures can contribute to rapid rates of spread and
down-wind spotting on existing fires.

And of course, I am solidly in the middle of zone 656. Keeping fingers crossed.

National Night Out - two events

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Went to two of these - the first one was in the town of Stanwood and they had about 500 people show up to meet the Police, Fire and Aid crews and oogle the equipment.

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An overall view of the crowd but this is less than 25% of the people - the event was spread over a large area. Love the Dalmatian Bouncy Castle.

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A bomb robot

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Fun old Ford Galaxie 500 police interceptor.

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Here is the event that was held close to my house - about 30 people showed up. Among the exhibitors was our local Amateur Radio organization and the Camano Island preparedness group. I have been getting to know people in both groups so spent about an hour chatting with them. Good people.

The Ladies Aid was started in 1908 with the intent of serving the growing needs of Utsalady. The ladies’ goal was simple: they wanted to improve the quality of life for their children and the families of their community.

Back in the mists of time I spent a number of hours flying Cessna 150's and 172's when living in New England so flying has always been an interest of mine. There is an annual air show at the Arlington airport and went for a visit today. Turns out it was the 50th anniversary of the event so a lot of people and lots of fun aircraft to look at.

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The guy in the safety vest and straw hat built this little scooter - cute idea. The Dr. Strangelove reference is to Slim Picken's wild ride in the movie.

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There were a number of old aircraft lovingly restored. This gorgeous Lockheed Model12

Some new designs as well - this is from a German company and is a combination airplane and glider. The propellor stows in the nose cone when not in use and the engine is mounted behind the cockpit. 

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A lot of walking - the runway was 5,000 feet long and there were things to see all along the length. Both sides. Proably got about four miles in today - nice weather and a fun event. Probably about 800-1,000 people attending and maybe 300 airplanes, 100 vendor booths.

Wildfire season is upon us and with all the dry weather, it is forecast to be a bad one:

Ho Li Crap

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Come on now - this is July:

Long and fun day

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Went to the local field day this morning - this was the fifth field day I have attended and it was a lot of fun. Some good people here on our little island.

I knew there was a car show later today but I did not realize just how big it was - over 500 vehicles!  Some photos:

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Chopped and lowered - gorgeous work!

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My first car ever was a Jeep CJ5 - loved it! This CJ5 has had some interesting work done on it...

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Gorgeous old Mercedes from the 1930's (forget the model and exact year). Talk about feeling lust in my heart.

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Cute little build - someone had some fun with this.

And finally - these two:

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Shot back to back - about a mile of gorgeous cars and several thousand people of all stripes admiring them.

On the island

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Our local amateur radio club is participating in the world-wide Field Day today and tomorrow. Planning to show up there tomorrow morning. It ends at 11:00AM local time so I will hang out for a while helping people to pack up. Done a bunch of these and there always seems to be a shortage of help when it shuts down...

There is also a local car show - The Twin City Idlers. Should be fun to check out. They had quite the parade this evening.

From the Washington State Department of Transportation:

Road to Artist Point: Open for the season
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 09:50

 The summer hiking season is kicking off near Mount Baker. Crews opened the gate to the seasonal section of State Route 542 at 12 p.m. on Thursday, June 21.

Three weeks of hard work plus a few days of blue skies and soft snow helped Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews clear the 2.7-mile seasonally closed section of State Route 542, known as the road to Artist Point, faster than usual.

This is a huge tourist draw. Businesses up here make the majority of their money in the summer. The ski season is nice but it is mostly daytrippers coming up in the morning and heading for home at 3:00PM cold and tired with no desire to stop for groceries or a beer. Summer, we get the people who come up for a week and hike, camp, fish, boat, etc...

From their website:

Race to Alaska Explained
The inside passage to Alaska has been paddled by native canoes since time immemorial, sailing craft for centuries, and after someone found gold in the Klondike the route was jammed with steamboats full of prospectors elbowing each other out of the way for the promise of fortune.

It’s in the spirit of tradition, exploration, and the lawless self-reliance of the gold rush that Race to Alaska was born. R2AK is the first of its kind and North America’s longest human and wind powered race, and currently the largest cash prize for a race of its kind.

This isn’t for everyone
It’s like the Iditarod, on a boat, with a chance of drowning, being run down by a freighter, or eaten by a grizzly bear. There are squalls, killer whales, tidal currents that run upwards of 20 miles an hour, and some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.

R2AK is based on the hardest kind of simplicity
You, a boat, a starting gun. $10,000 if you finish first, a set of steak knives if you’re second. Cathartic elation if you can simply complete the course. R2AK is a self-supported race with no supply drops and no safety net. Any boat without an engine can enter.

Last year 41 teams were accepted and 27 finished.

I love the prizes - $10K for the first and a set of steak knives for the second. Great incentive. This year's race started at 5:00AM today.

A small cottage in the country

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Ran into this listing - about 20 miles away: 776 H Street Rd, Lynden, WA 98264

Bachman Manor was built in 1975 by Randy Bachman of the band Bachman-Turner Overdrive as a weekend retreat. The home was used as a recording studio for Randy and guests such as Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, & members of the Beatles. The gated property has additional outbuildings equipped with an 8+ car garage, bowling alley & basketball court, along with a small lake at the front entrance of the nearly 30-acre property. Extensive renovations throughout have fully restored this historical home.

Just shy of 15,000 sq. ft. - the recording studio space is really nice but the asking price is a bit steep for my blood. Maybe in another life...

A bit of local news

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Scary - from the Tacoma, WA News Tribune:

Cougar kills man, injures another near North Bend
One man was killed and another injured in a mountain lion attack near North Bend on Saturday, the King County Sheriff's Office reported.

The injured victim, 31, was transported to Harborview Medical Center's emergency department in Seattle.

"He is currently awake and alert and in serious condition," the hospital tweeted at 2:26 p.m. The man was upgraded to satisfactory condition just before 5 p.m. Saturday.

The two men were mountain biking when they were attacked before noon, according to the Sheriff's Office.

A rural area but still a public driveable road. Fortunately, these are very rare:

According to several sources, the last fatal cougar attack in the United States occurred in 2008 in New Mexico.

South of Seattle in the State capitol of Olympia is Evergreen State College - quite the hotbed of liberal and progressive thinking. It has long been my thought that any curriculum with the word "studies" in it is worthless and should be shut down. Evergreen offers courses in Community Studies, African American Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, International Studies, Maritime (WTF?) Studies, Queer Studies, Environmental Studies, Language Studies, Sustainability Studies, Media Studies, etc. etc. etc.

Well, these chickens are coming home to roost - from The Olympian:

Evergreen looks to cut $6 million from its budget, raise fees due to enrollment drop
The Evergreen State College will look to cut more than 10 percent from its operating budget for 2018-19 and raise student fees because of declining enrollment.

In a memo to the college’s board of trustees, Evergreen President George Bridges wrote that cuts totaling $5.9 million are needed because of lower-than-expected tuition revenue. This will require “some” layoffs and eliminating “many positions that are currently vacant,” according to Bridges.

And not just budget cuts:

Officials have recommended a combined increase of $236 per year in student fees for 2018-19.

A bit more backstory on Evergreen here, here and here - fscking hippies. Spoil it for everyone. Used to be a nice small college until the social justice warriors took it over.

It will be interesting to see the repercussions of the head tax:

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The city council is pissing off a lot of Seattleites who will be hurt if Amazon or Starbucks either relocates their corporate headquarters (like Boeing) or lays off workers. It will be interesting to see the results of the next election. People are pissed.

A fun day

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Went out for coffee at my favorite haunt - The Cafe Allegro - and it turns out that it was its 43rd Birthday today:

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They claim to be the oldest espresso bar in Seattle, there was one older but they closed down when they lost their lease.

My first business was located less than one block from the Allegro. I specifically rented that office because of its proximity - I could duck out for a coffee when things were slow and my office person could call the Allegro if someone came by to look at a computer.

A night on the town

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A friend of ours is singing tonight - heading out to hear her in a few minutes.

Yikes - horrible traffic accident

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I was driving South to the island and saw that the traffic on Interstate 5 was solidly backed up for as far as I could see. The next exit was 218 - six miles North of 212 which was what I wanted. Did the smart thing and ducked off and took Old Route 99 South - was doing 50MPH and looking at the six miles of stationary vehicles on I-5.

None of the usual emergency websites have anything yet - The Seattle Times has a brief précis:

At least two dead in I-5 accident north of Stanwood
At least two are dead and all Interstate 5 northbound lanes north of Stanwood are closed this afternoon after a collision, according to the State Patrol. The accident occurred near exit 215.

The accident, which occurred around 1 p.m., has caused traffic to be diverted off of I-5 at exit 215 and routed north past the accident scene to the I-5 ramp at Starbird Road.

The State Patrol didn’t immediately say how many cars were involved in the collision, if there were other injuries or what might have caused the accident.

Keeping these poor people (and their families) in our prayers.

Working

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Ran some errands this morning and back home to work - taking down some old paneling and starting in on some popcorn ceiling. Probably asbestos so kitting up with a mask and tyvek bunny suit.

Had a late breakfast at the Farmer's Cafe - the place came highly recomended but they were in the process of moving when I first went to try them so they were closed. Today's meal was excellent and nice people working there. Lots of cars parked outside - a good sign.

The weather is nice - cool temperatures and light clouds but that is forecast to change in a few days.

Used to use their paints all the time - locally made and excellent quality. Met Walter a few times. From The Seattle Times:

Longtime Seattle paint supplier Daly’s ends in the red
Longtime local home design store Daly’s Paint and Decorating has closed its doors in Seattle and Bellevue, leaving unpaid debts and nearly $87,800 in customer deposits for orders that have gone unfilled.

An attorney for the company laid blame for the company’s demise at the feet of the usual suspects: “Digital shopping and big box stores rule,” said Tom Olson of law firm Helsell Fetterman.

A bit more:

No one answered the phone at Daly’s Seattle store on Stone Way North – where founder Walter Daly set up shop in the late 1940s. A recording directed people to the company’s website, which reads:

“Dear Customers, ​Daly’s is closed. Thank you for 80 colorful years in Seattle and 57 in Bellevue. ​It was our pleasure to work with so many of you over the years.”

Sad to see them go - a Seattle institution. Website is here: Daily's Paint

Well crap. From warrenmiller.org

October 15, 1924 - January 24, 2018
Warren A. Miller, who rose up from a Depression-era childhood to become the world’s foremost ski filmmaker and a beloved spokesperson for the sport, passed away January 24, 2018, at his home on Orcas Island, WA. He was 93 years old.

Warren earned global acclaim and a passionate, multi-generational following for his annual ski feature film, which kicked off the ski season for more than 60 years, showing in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and around the world. Packed with adventure and exotic travel, Warren’s distinct, droll narration and humorous hijinks on the slopes highlighted his films.

“Looking back on what set my films apart, it was the emphasis on entertaining people, which means making them laugh, rather than just filming people turning right or left,” Warren once said.

Warren’s talents cut a wide swath beyond ski filmmaking. He produced more than 500 films in all, primarily covering outdoor pursuits, including surfing, sailing, and other water sports. As an artist, cartoonist and author, he wrote some 1,200 columns and 11 books.

He was a World War II veteran, a ski instructor and talented ski racer, an accomplished surfer, and a champion sailor. He took up windsurfing in his 60s, and then turned to destination motor boating in his 70s and 80s, exploring the Northwest and Alaska from his home on Orcas Island.

Warren is survived by his wife of 30 years, Laurie; by his sons Scott (Melissa) and Kurt (Ali); by his daughter, Chris (David Lucero); and by his stepson, Colin Kaufmann. Plus, thousands of wonderful friends and countless loyal fans as well as his three black dogs: two Scotties, Angus Bremner and Drummond McGregor and his huge black Czech Shepherd, Bex. He was extremely grateful for his tireless caregiver, Ginger Moore.

One of a kind - 93 is a good run. He will be missed.

Warm front moving through

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Today was rainy (about 0.3" accumulation) and it got up to 58.2°F at the farm - over 60°F in Bellingham according to the thermometer on my truck. Forecast is for rain and showers through the next seven days or so.

Great news for skiers

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From the National Weather Service - Winter Storm Watch:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Seattle WA
119 PM PST Tue Jan 9 2018

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Heavy snow--plan on difficult travel conditions. Total snow accumulation 10 to 20 inches.

* WHERE...Cascade mountains around pass level and above.

* WHEN...The heaviest snow will fall in the Cascades during the day on Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Expect winter driving conditions--especially on the higher passes. The snow will likely turn to rain at times Thursday afternoon on Snoqualmie Pass.

Mt. Baker has had eight inches in the last 24 hours - Friday is looking to be excellent for powder.

On New Year's Day, Seattle implemented a tax on sugar-based drinks - here, here, here and here

Chicago tried the same thing last year - the projected revenue fell way short, the push-back was strong and so they repealed it.

I wrote about it last October: Well that turned out well - the Chicago soda pop tax

Rattlesnake Ridge

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There is a very slow landslide in Eastern Washington which has been going on since last October - here is a video from a few days ago:

More information from the Yakima Herald:

Majority hold off on call to evacuate near Rattlesnake Ridge
Yakima County officials said Tuesday they can’t definitively predict the scope of an expected landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge, where massive cracks have opened several hundred feet above Thorp Road.

However, officials said a landslide could be limited in scale. Geologists have been monitoring the slow-motion movement of soil in the area since October.

“The geologic experts that have been monitoring this slide believe that since the slide is slow moving and on a gentle slope that the landslide event will be small in nature and hopefully stabilize itself,” the Yakima County Office of Emergency Management said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Meanwhile, about 35 of the roughly 50 residents living in a collection of trailers and modest buildings at the base of the ridge have not heeded warnings last week to evacuate.

Under state law residents can’t be forced to leave, but the county’s emergency management office is collecting their information to provide to first-responders should anything happen, said that agency’s senior planner Horace Ward.

Hell - if that was me living there, I would have left months ago. Experts are thinking that this will be a small event but the experts failed to see the Oso slide until it was too late and 43 people lost their lives.

A bit of wind

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Glad I am down in Seattle for now - Everson has been hit hard with this windstorm:

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Over 12,000 people without power and it is supposed to be out for the next couple of days.

The Amtrack derailment

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Excellent post-mortem at The Seattle Times:

‘Holy cow, so the train is actually on the road?’ The wreck of Amtrak 501
Rudi Wetzel was napping in his seat, his hat pulled over his eyes, when he awoke to what he thought was an explosion.

A retired Los Angeles police officer, the 81-year-old had boarded Amtrak 501 in Seattle earlier that morning. He was on his way back to Centralia after visiting his girlfriend in Kirkland.

Now he felt his body lift from the train seat, and then he was in the air, flying through darkness.

Excellent reading and, it follows frequent commenter Dick Park's most recent post:

It's always interesting to see how long the union can keep the engineer's name quiet.

Not a peep yet...

The Amtrack crash

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From The Los Angeles Times:

Rail experts ask why new track in Washington state Amtrak crash did not have speed control system
After a speeding Amtrak train derailed during its first trip on a new rail line — on the heels of two deadly passenger rail crashes blamed on high speed since 2015 — safety experts on Tuesday asked why the train did not have the latest automated control system.

The train was traveling 80 mph in a 30-mph zone on a newly opened $181-million segment of track south of Seattle, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Train cars spilled onto busy Interstate 5 and killed three train passengers.

Emphasis mine. Yikes - especially for the first time on new track.

From Debra Heine writing at PJ Media:

Anarchists Bragged in April about Sabotaging Railroad Tracks to Block Fracking
ISIS shouldn't be the only terrorist group under suspicion for the Amtrak derailment in Washington this morning.

The anarchist group "It's Going Down" last April bragged online about sabotaging railroad tracks in the Pacific Northwest to block fracking equipment from getting to its destination. The group has since deleted the post, possibly in reaction to today's Amtrak disaster.

Of course, the Internet is forever so the article has a screen-shot. It goes on to say:

Anti-fracking activists and anarchists have been blocking rail tracks in Olympia, Washington, for the past month.

On Nov. 30, an anonymous anarchist wrote about rail sabotage on the Puget Sound Anarchist website.

Well, now they have innocent blood on their hands - time for these groups to be thoroughly shut down. Re-education camps would be a lovely idea. Wish they were legal.

UPDATE: Time Magazine has this video:

Crap - major train derailment

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Just South of Seattle - from Seattle station KING-5:

Multiple fatalities, dozens injured in Amtrak crash near DuPont
An unknown number of people are dead and multiple people are injured after an Amtrak Cascades train derailed and crashed onto southbound Interstate 5 between Tacoma and Olympia.

A bit more:

Amtrak Cascades train 501 was headed southbound when it crashed around 7:45 a.m. It included 12 cars plus two engines. Thirteen of those 14 cars jumped the tracks, according to the Washington State Patrol.

From The New York Post:

Object on tracks may be cause of deadly Amtrak derailment
Monday’s deadly Amtrak train derailment appears to have been caused by an object on the railway, according to a government official briefed on the crash.

A preliminary investigation suggests maintenance problems are unlikely to blame because the incident took place on brand-new tracks, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

If this foreign object was placed willfully, I hope the moke in question spends a long time behind bars.

Just wonderful - the road to the ski area

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Got this little bundle of joy in my in-box a few minutes ago - from the WA State Department of Transportation:

Emergency bank stabilization work will reduce SR 542/Mount Baker Highway to a single lane starting Friday, Dec. 15
GLACIER – Fall weather has created instability in a slope along State Route 542/Mount Baker Highway near Glacier. With additional wet weather in the forecast, crews are starting emergency work to repair the area and prevent damage that could cause more costly repairs.

Washington State Department of Transportation contractor crews from Strider Construction will move equipment to the area, milepost 45, east of Glacier on Friday, Dec. 15. Crews will close the eastbound lane and begin daylight work to stabilize the area. Traffic will alternate through the open lane around-the-clock using flaggers or a temporary signal until this work is complete.

This is our second-busiest season of the year and business slows markedly for everyone if there isn't good skiing. Let us hope they can get the road patched up and do a complete job this spring.

First snowfall of the season

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It is snowing now in Glacier - about eight miles up the road from Maple Falls.

Mt Baker has had an incredible deposit of fresh powder - 28" in the last two days.

Here we go again

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More of the usual fall weather - from the National Weather Service:

Winter Storm Warning
...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO
10 PM PST TUESDAY...
* WHAT...Heavy snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions.
Total snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches, with local amounts
up to three feet, are expected.

* WHERE...Cascades of Whatcom and Skagit Counties above about 3000
feet. This includes State Route 542 to the Mount Baker ski area.

And to add to the fun - the Bellingham Herald:

High winds, possible landslides threaten Western Washington
Western Washington is on the watch for high winds and potential landslides.

The National Weather Service issued high wind warnings north of Seattle in Mount Vernon and Bellingham, as well as in San Juan County and along the north and central parts of the coast.

And how much wind?

There may be falling trees and limbs and power outages with wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour. The weather service also says the Cascade Mountains in that area could receive between one and three feet of snow.

We get weather like this a couple times/year so it is not that unusual but still, every time it hits, another crop of branches find their way to the power lines.

From the Skagit Valley Herald:

Floodwaters lead to arrest of suspected bank robber
Rising floodwaters Wednesday evening led to the arrest of a man suspected of robbing a Mount Vernon bank earlier that day.

Mount Vernon police were called about 6 p.m Wednesday to an area near Edgewater Park to the report of two people at a campsite who were surrounded by the rising waters of the Skagit River and needed help, Mount Vernon police Lt. Greg Booth said in a news release.

Initial rescue efforts by police, firefighters and the Skagit County Search and Rescue Team were unsuccessful, as conditions were deemed too dangerous, Booth said.

A U.S. Border Patrol rescue team responded to the scene and was able to rescue the man and woman about 2 a.m. Thursday, Booth said.

Because a K-9 unit had led police to that area during an earlier search for a suspect in a robbery at Skagit State Bank on Highway 536, Booth said police questioned the two and determined the man was the suspect in the robbery.

The derp is strong in that one. As Bugs would say, what a maroon.

Rain rain go away

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It started back with the forecast three days ago - now, the rivers are in flood stage with many roads closed.

From The Bellingham Herald:

Skagit River flooding causes road closures, pre-evacuations
The Skagit River north of Seattle has reached its highest level in 11 years, resulting in flooding that closed roads and an alert telling some residents to prepare to evacuate.

The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management said Thursday the worst-case scenario would involve the displacement of 250 people. As of 4 p.m. only residents in the town of Hamilton had been told to prepare to evacuate.

The National Weather Service said the river at Concrete reached 36.56 feet just after 2 p.m. Thursday. That's the highest it's been since 2006.

Bad for skiing but great for the water table. It is still early and temps are dropping though so this should be a great season.

Great news - Mt. Baker is opening

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From the Mt. Baker Ski Area website:

OFFICIAL OPENING DAY: THURSDAY NOV. 16th!!!
CONDITIONS UPDATE: Tuesday Nov. 14
IT'S HAPPENING!!! This storm is bringing us the goods, with 6 inches of new snow falling last night and up to 15" of new snow expected for tomorrow. Our current base at Heather Meadows is 33 inches, so with the additional snow we are able to set an official OPENING DAY THURSDAY NOV. 16th! We will have both base areas open on Thursday with all 3 lodges open and six chairlifts operating to start the day: chairs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7. We are hoping to open chairs 6 and/or 8 later in the day on opening day, but will have to wait to see how the snow and conditions progress.

It's currently 30 degrees and snowing at the mountain. Temperatures are dropping right now, and it looks like conditions could be pretty darned awesome for opening day. Our crew will be out on the mountain at all hours today and tomorrow, prepping everything for opening. Stay tuned here for continued updates, and we'll see you on the mountain Thursday!

A lot of people are looking forward to a wonderful season - lots of fresh snow up there!

Rain rain go away

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The second part of the storm seems to have hit Seattle a lot harder than this little bucolic bit of paradise although it is starting to rain again and the winds have definitely picked up in the last ten minutes. Here is just part of the 150,000+ Seattle residents who are without power - red zone is out. Trish lives somewhere in this map:

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Got some flashlights, LED lanterns and candles right at hand in case of an outage. The prepper crowd calls this Sheltering in Place - something you learn after a year or two out here.

Staring down the barrel - wind storm

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Last night's wind was a prequel - from Cliff Mass:

Wind Storm Update
The first...and lesser act...of today's wind event took place this morning, the passage of an occluded front associated with the offshore low. But the main act is still in the cards, and folks should be prepared.

A bit more:

We are now in the break before the main act.   You will even notice the rain has backed off and there will be sun breaks. Absolutely typical.  We must wait until late morning/early afternoon when the low approaches and the winds will increase again, probably exceeding what we experienced last night.

I lost a tree (it was fairly weak and old) and a couple of bird feeders. Time to batten down the hatches and check my anemometer for peak gusts.

From Mt. Baker Snow Report:

CONDITIONS UPDATE: Thursday Nov. 9
We're currently maintaining a snow base at Heather Meadows Base Area of around 18-20". Forecasts are calling for another 3-5" over the weekend, but then......hold on....all forecasters, including NOAA, are calling for FEET of new snow in the mountains Monday through Wednesday of next week. If this forecast holds, we're looking at a potential opening day of mid-late next week. Our crews are ready and on standby and we're waiting to see what these storms bring in terms of the magic combo of precipitation and cool temps. Stay tuned here for updates and the most up-to-date news on a possible opening day announcement!

A lot of people are very stoked at the prospect of another great winter.

Snow Report from Mt. Baker

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Looks great - from the Mt. Baker Ski Area:

CONDITIONS UPDATE: Friday Nov. 3
Helllloooooo early snow!!! Those of you in Whatcom County woke up to a surprise early snow this morning and that couple of inches in the lowlands translated to over 15 inches of new snow up at the ski area! With our existing base of around 10 inches, that brings our pre-season total to about 25 inches of snow at Heather Meadows. Forecasts are calling for a few more inches of snowfall in the next few days and then drier weather, but still cold, for a bit. The good news is that, at this point, the extended forecast is calling for continued cold weather so hopefully we won't get any snow melt in the next few weeks. We'll see how the base holds up, but if it does hold up we could possibly see an opening day with one more good storm! Stay tuned here for daily updates and the most up-to-date news on a possible opening day!

Getting very close to an early opening day. Looking forward to another great winter season!

And maybe this time I will remember to park my tractor and truck at the very top of the driveway so I do not get snowbound for eight days...

Well that was fast - 102 days

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The road to Artist Point closed today - snow. From the DOT:

Road to Artist Point now closed to vehicle traffic
Sightseers who want to take in fall views from Artist Point this year, will need to go on foot. The scenic road to Artist Point on State Route 542 has closed to vehicle traffic for the rest of the year.

The gate on SR 542 to Artist Point closed for the season on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

October snow and ice concerns in the North Cascades forced Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews to close the gate at the Bagley Lakes Trailhead. The annual closure of the final 2.7 miles of highway is for the safety of travelers and crews.

Artist Point season, by the numbers
This year's season of 102 days may have seemed quick but it wasn't the shortest season on record.

    • In 2008, the road was open for 81 days.
    • In 2011, there was too much snow to, cost-effectively, open the highway past the Heather Meadows Visitors Center.
    • In 2016, a light winter allowed a May 14 opening. The road remained open for 172 days.
    • In 2017, for the first time, WSDOT crews worked seven days a week to open on Thursday, June 29.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest says nearly 12,000 people stopped by their Heather Meadows visitor center in 2017. That does not include travelers who went directly to Artist Point or visited during off-peak hours.

I remember 2011 very well - business was off over 12% that summer - Artist Point draws a lot of traffic through our little hamlet and most of those people will stop and shop given the opportunity.

September 2018

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