Winter Storm Ready

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Weather in the Pacific Northwest can be tricky to navigate. That "mostly sunny" winter day can easily turn into a downpour, or even a slushy snowstorm with short notice, which is why we've created this Winter Storm Ready information page. The City has consolidated the information residents, business owners, and visitors need to safely navigate Mercer Island throughout winter storm season.

FOR THE LATEST UPDATES ON CONDITIONS, SCROLL DOWN TO THE NEWS TAB BELOW.

Power Outages

Power outages can happen for a number of reasons, typically a fallen tree or too much snow/ice buildup on powerlines. The City does not own or manage these powerlines. Please call Puget Sound Energy (PSE) at 1-888-225-5773 to report outages and learn about service restoration. Customers can also view PSE's outage map with estimated power restoration times at www.pse.com/outage/outage-map. For more information, visit our article on Power Outages.

Excessive Rain and Increased Landslide Risk

Landslides develop during intense rainfall, runoff, or rapid snowmelt. The earth can move rapidly, sometimes with little or no warning. Mercer Island sees about 5-15 slides each year. To report a non-life-threatening landslide, call our regional, non-emergency 24-hour dispatch center (425) 577-5656. In the case of an emergency call 9-1-1. Visit our Landslide Safety article for more information.

Ice and Snow

The Public Works Department's goal is to provide sanding, plowing, and de-icing services on public streets when winter weather brings snow and ice, in order of priority. Private streets are not maintained or plowed by the City. Click here to view the map of privately maintained streets.

In addition to plowing and sanding, crews often apply a pre-treatment of liquid deicer (see map) to other arterials located on steep hills and major intersections to help prevent minor ice build-up and make streets easier to plow. If compacted snow has already built up on the roadway, this deicer is less effective.

The City has six plows, three of which have sander units; one truck is used mostly for liquid de-icing. Follow this link for more information on the City's Snow and Ice Response Plan.

Your Resource for Up-to-Date Information and Safety Tips

During a major winter weather event, this page will be updated regularly with road closures/openings, safety tips, and more. Sign up to receive the Winter Weather E-Newsletter delivered straight to your inbox during weather event (see upper right-hand menu).



Weather in the Pacific Northwest can be tricky to navigate. That "mostly sunny" winter day can easily turn into a downpour, or even a slushy snowstorm with short notice, which is why we've created this Winter Storm Ready information page. The City has consolidated the information residents, business owners, and visitors need to safely navigate Mercer Island throughout winter storm season.

FOR THE LATEST UPDATES ON CONDITIONS, SCROLL DOWN TO THE NEWS TAB BELOW.

Power Outages

Power outages can happen for a number of reasons, typically a fallen tree or too much snow/ice buildup on powerlines. The City does not own or manage these powerlines. Please call Puget Sound Energy (PSE) at 1-888-225-5773 to report outages and learn about service restoration. Customers can also view PSE's outage map with estimated power restoration times at www.pse.com/outage/outage-map. For more information, visit our article on Power Outages.

Excessive Rain and Increased Landslide Risk

Landslides develop during intense rainfall, runoff, or rapid snowmelt. The earth can move rapidly, sometimes with little or no warning. Mercer Island sees about 5-15 slides each year. To report a non-life-threatening landslide, call our regional, non-emergency 24-hour dispatch center (425) 577-5656. In the case of an emergency call 9-1-1. Visit our Landslide Safety article for more information.

Ice and Snow

The Public Works Department's goal is to provide sanding, plowing, and de-icing services on public streets when winter weather brings snow and ice, in order of priority. Private streets are not maintained or plowed by the City. Click here to view the map of privately maintained streets.

In addition to plowing and sanding, crews often apply a pre-treatment of liquid deicer (see map) to other arterials located on steep hills and major intersections to help prevent minor ice build-up and make streets easier to plow. If compacted snow has already built up on the roadway, this deicer is less effective.

The City has six plows, three of which have sander units; one truck is used mostly for liquid de-icing. Follow this link for more information on the City's Snow and Ice Response Plan.

Your Resource for Up-to-Date Information and Safety Tips

During a major winter weather event, this page will be updated regularly with road closures/openings, safety tips, and more. Sign up to receive the Winter Weather E-Newsletter delivered straight to your inbox during weather event (see upper right-hand menu).


  • Update on January 13 Windstorm

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    10:30am Update - City crews have made a lot of progress clearing debris and cutting down blockages where no powerlines are involved. Some residents are noticing their power return, but PSE still has a lot of work to accomplish and prioritize region-wide, so it is possible some homes will not be restored until tomorrow.

    Even though the winds have died down, some trees are finally falling now due to the very wet and weak soils. If you encounter a new blockage that is not on the list below, please CALL the City’s main number to report it: 206-275-7600.

    Traffic Lights:

    If you encounter unlit traffic signals, remember to treat each signaled intersection as a 4-way stop.

    Power Outages:

    PSE still reports approximately 12 outages on the Island affecting about 7,000 customers. More details will be available through the day as crews inspect, prioritize and determine a restoration ETA. To get latest status, check the outage map (at www.pse.com/outage/outage-map) or call 1-888-225-5773.

    Don’t touch downed powerlines. Remember not to use gas ovens/ranges for heating and don’t burn charcoal indoors. Keep fridges and freezers closed as much as possible.

    Internet Access:

    Comcast reports many outages, and crews will be working on reconnecting cables after PSE has finished its electrical line work.

    Road Blockages:

    OPENED by City Crews:

    • 4500 East Mercer Way
    • 5400 East Mercer Way
    • 8415 East Mercer Way
    • 7600 SE 72nd Street
    • 9300 SE 70th Place
    • 9720 SE 36th Street
    • 7400 West Mercer Way
    • 8200 West Mercer Way

    CLOSED:

    • 6027 77th Ave SE
    • 6200 92nd Ave SE
    • 8135 West Mercer Way
    • 9104 SE 53rd Place
    • 8915 SE 54th Street (under assessment)
    • 8815 SE 54th Street (under assessment)

    Did you interact with or see a City of Mercer Island employee going above and beyond? We’d love to hear about it! Share your kudos here.

  • January 13 Windstorm

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    Jan 13, 2021 - (7:30am) It was quite a night across the region and many roads and powerlines are affected. This is a dynamic situation and we expect to have more detail as daylight arrives....

    Traffic Lights:

    Many signals are not lit – when this occurs, remember to treat each signaled intersections as a 4-way stop.

    Power Outages:

    PSE reports approximately 12 outages on the Island affecting about 8,000 customers. More details will be available as crews inspect and determine a restoration ETA. To get the latest status, check the outage map (at www.pse.com/outage/outage-map) or call 1-888-225-5773. The City will also post additional info from PSE if and when received.

    Road Blockages: [most are barricaded with City signage, crews will begin clearing at daybreak]

    • 4507 East Mercer Way
    • 6400 block East Mercer Way
    • 4728 86th Ave SE
    • 3400 block 97th Ave SE
    • 9600 block of SE 36th St (tree blocking the eastbound lane only)
    • 8400 block of East Mercer Way (yesterday’s blowdown is wrapping up)

    Schools:

    MISD is closed today due to storm-related challenges. Check with the School District for more information.

  • NWS Weather Advisory for Jan 12, 2021

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    The National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle office advises that 2 to 3 inches of rain could fall in the Seattle metro area with heavier totals in the mountains and along the coast. Visit https://www.weather.gov/sew/ for the latest.

  • Winter Weather Arriving Early

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    Winter weather is arriving early in the Pacific Northwest.

    October 22, 2020 - According to the National Weather Service, a strong and cold weather system will move through the area on Friday, bringing lowland rain, mountain snow, and cold temperatures that will last into the weekend.

    City crews are ready, are you?

    It is never too early to be prepared!

    This page will be updated if roads are closed due to unsafe conditions. Check back for updates or sign up to receive updates via email.

  • Put A Freeze on Winter Fires

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    Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. Keep your home and family safe this winter by following these tips:

    Fireplace Safety

    The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (27%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys. Make sure to check and clean your flues and chimney. A blocked flue will cause smoke to back up into the fire pit and smoke will accumulate in the house. Click here for more from MIFD.

    Heating

    Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%). Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.

    Carbon Monoxide

    Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. Install a CO detector and make sure to change batteries twice a year (at the start and ending of Daylight Savings).

    Generators

    Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. Never use a generator or gas grill inside the home.

    Candles

    December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top two days for home candle fires are Christmas and Christmas Eve. Each year between 2013-2017, an average of 7,900 home candle fires were reported each year. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

    Electrical

    Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. Change your smoke detector's batteries twice a year (at the start and ending of Daylight Savings) and test annually to make sure it is working properly.

  • Understanding Regional Flooding and Increased Landslide Risk

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    Heavy rain not only causes river flooding, but the saturated ground can lead to an increased threat of landslides.

    It is important to know how to recognize the warning signs of a landslide and how to respond if a landslide should occur.


    Recognize the Warning Signs


    Fast-moving landslides:


    • Listen and watch for rushing water, mud, and unusual sounds like trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
    • A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
    • Moving fences, retaining walls, utility poles, k-rails, boulders, or trees.
    Slow-moving landslides:

    • Changes occur in your landscape such as patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially the places where runoff water converges), land movement, small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.
    • Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.
    • New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
    • Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
    • Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or driveways.
    • Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
    • Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
    • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
    • The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that direction under your feet.
    • Underground utility lines break.
    To report a non-life-threatening landslide, call our regional, non-emergency dispatch center (425) 577-5656, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    In the case of an emergency always call 9-1-1.

    For more information, check out the Landslide Safety article on Let's Talk or visit ready.gov.

    Stay safe and follow road signs that warn you about water over roadways! Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock a person down and one foot of moving water can sweep away a vehicle.


  • Avoid Water Covered Roads

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    Did you know that six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away?

    Just a few inches can make the difference between crossing the street or getting stuck in the mud.

    Don't take that chance!

    If you see water over the roadway, turn around.


  • Landslide Safety

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    Mercer Island can be prone to natural hazards including flooding and landslides.

    To report a non-life-threatening landslide, call our regional, non-emergency dispatch center (425) 577-5656, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the case of an emergency always call 9-1-1.


    What is a Landslide?

    Landslides develop during intense rainfall, runoff, or rapid snowmelt, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud. They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds (faster than a person can run). In a landslide, masses of rock, earth or debris move down a slope. Debris and mud flows are rivers of rock, earth, and other debris saturated with water. Landslides can travel many miles from their source, growing in size as they pick up trees, boulders, cars and other materials. Debris flows don’t always stay in stream channels and they can flow sideways as well as downhill.

    Recognize the Warning Signs

    Fast-moving landslides and debris flows pose threats to life. Warning signs include:

    • Listen and watch for rushing water, mud, unusual sounds.
    • Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.
    • A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
    • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, k-rails, boulders, or trees move.
    • Huge boulders in the landscape can be signs of past debris flows.

    Slow-moving landslides pose threats to property. Warning signs include:

    • Changes occur in your landscape such as patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially the places where runoff water converges) land movement, small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.
    • Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.
    • New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
    • Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
    • Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or driveways.
    • Underground utility lines break.
    • Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
    • Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
    • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
    • The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that direction under your feet.


    City Response

    As soon as the City learns of such an event, the City's Building Official travels directly to the affected site to assess the damage firsthand, and determine whether the buildings involved are still safe for occupancy. Unsafe buildings are "red-tagged" and may not be occupied until cleared by a geo-technical engineer, hired by the owner. You can help by making sure storm drains are clear in your neighborhood to help rain water flow away.

    More Information

    The City has consolidated links to more information, landslide hazard maps, and more. Click the links below for more information.

    Click here for a City informational handout on landslides and Mercer Island.


    Click here to view the City's landslide hazard map.


    Click here to view the USGS local website monitoring current rainfall and forecasting landslide potential.


    Click here for a factsheet on how landslides occur from the State's Geologic Hazards Program.


    Click here for general landslide information from FEMA.

  • Power Outages

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    Reporting an Outage

    PSE Outage MapThe City does not own or manage powerlines. Contact Puget Sound Energy to report power outages and hear about service updates at 1-888-225-5773 or view their outage map (with estimated power restoration times) www.pse.com/outage/outage-map.

    Please do not call 9-1-1 for non-emergency questions, such as power outage duration or reasons for the outage.

    What to Do During a Power Outage

    • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.
    • If you encounter downed power lines and no signage or utility crews in the area, call 9-1-1.
    • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. (Did you know? A closed refrigerator will stay cold for up to 12 hours.)
    • Turn light switches and buttons on lamps or appliances to the “off” position.
    • Unplug computers and other sensitive equipment to protect them from possible power surges when the power is restored.
    • Leave one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. (Best Practice: Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.)
    • Never use gas ovens, gas ranges, barbecues or portable or propane heaters for indoor heating. They use oxygen and create carbon monoxide that can cause suffocation.
    • Use battery-operated flashlights or glow sticks for lighting vs. candles.
    • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
    • Be a good neighbor. Check on the welfare of others.
    For more information and safety tips visit the ready.gov/power-outages
  • Snow and Ice Response Plan

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    The Public Works Department's goal is to provide sanding, plowing,and de-icing services on public streets that allow traffic to enter and leave the Island safely when winter weather brings snow and ice.

    The City has six plows, three of which have sander units; one truck is used mostly for liquid de-icing.

    The top priority is the primary routes that access I-90, schools and the Town Center, and other important arterials. This includes arterials such as Island Crest Way, Gallagher Hill Road, East Mercer Way, West Mercer Way, North Mercer Way, Mercerwood Drive, SE 40th Street, SE 53rd Place, SE 68th Street, 70th Ave SE, and 72nd Ave SE.

    In addition to plowing and sanding, crews also apply a pre-treatment of liquid deicer to other arterials located on steep hills and major intersections; this can help prevent minor ice build-up and makes treated streets easier to plow. See Deicing Pre-Treatment Locations Map for more information.

    Deicer Truck

    When arterials are safe to travel, crews begin working next on residential streets. Crews also respond to snow and ice situations at the request of Mercer Island Police. Unfortunately, the City does not have the personnel or equipment to clear residential neighborhoods until the main arterials are clear and passable, and must prioritize time and resources.

    During major snowstorm events, crews will be focused solely on snow removal for priority routes.

    Click on the links below to see the latest maps:

    To report a snow problem, or request sanding/deicing after a storm, please use the City's online service request portal MI-Connect (or download the app). This pushes requests directly into the workflow queue for City field crews.