December freeze shows signs of warming



Posted on December 9, 2009 at 8:55 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 12:47 PM

SEATTLE -- Several cities in Western Washington broke record lows Wednesday as a push of arctic air continued to keep the region in a deep cold. Only a handful of cities made it above freezing.

But signs are pointing to a change. KING 5 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Renner is predicting a high of 34 in Seattle on Thursday and it will continue to rise through the weekend to the low 40s.

Temperatures in Olympia dropped down to 8 degrees Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, breaking the record of 10 degrees. The rest of the Puget Sound area was in the low to mid teens, with Seattle actually one of the hot spots at 22 degrees. The record for Seattle is 19 degrees, set in 1932.

The temperature at Sea-Tac Airport dropped to 18 degrees overnight Tuesday.

Other temperatures recorded around the state overnight Tuesday were Pullman 5, Moses Lake 2, Vancouver 12, Bremerton 10 and Bellingham 21.

Carbon monoxide death

A couple trying to stay warm in their southeast Portland home suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

They were found by family members who were concerned after not hearing from the couple since Monday.

The man is dead, the woman in critical condition.

Wash. fire official warns about lake ice

Eastside Fire and Rescue, serving communities in East King County, is warning residents to be careful about playing on ice-covered ponds or small lakes during the current cold snap.

Eastside spokeswoman Josie Williams warns that's no reason to assume ice in the area is safe to walk on. She notes that a layer of ice is seldom frozen evenly and can be a foot thick in one spot and less than an inch thick in another. And she says falling through ice into frigid water can easily be fatal.

People coping with the cold

Emergency Shelters are filling up and pedestrians and drivers are preparing for a cold commute outside.

Lisa Murrow normally wears shorts to work. The U.S. Postal Carrier decided to cover up today after walking a few blocks in the sub-freezing temperatures.

"Twenty degree temperature and wind chill," she said caused her to put on long pants.

No matter what the thermometer reads, Seattle street crews are hard at work. David Salmon keeps heat packs inside his gloves to keep his hands warm.

"They keep you toasty," said Salmon.

Before he leaves home for work, garbage collector Michael Hibbard layers up. He says he just grabs everything he can to cut down on the chill.

Phyllis Brown cranks up the heat at her Wallingford Alterations shop. She moved from Northern Idaho to get away from days like today.

"It is not supposed to get this cold in Seattle," she laughed.

Mike Hinshaw says he would rather work in the sunshine and cold rather than in the rain. The mason would like to see it warm up a little.

"It would be nice if it got above freezing some point today," he said.

Along a Ballard street, Brandan Pfahl took off his gloves and put on his acoustic guitar. The musician admits that his fingers get all frozen up.

"Your guitar strings don't like to stay in tune. So that is a problem," he said.

Emergency shelters

With the cold snap, several counties have opened up emergency shelters for the homeless:

His Ministry in Auburn
240 Auburn Way South, Suite 1B
Hours of operation: 9 p.m. - 7 a.m.  

Crossroads Community Center
16000 NE 10th St.
Hours of operation: 9:30 p.m. - 6:30 a.m.
(Check in and registration from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 a.m. All clients must vacate the SWS by 6:30 a.m.)

Highlands Neighborhood Community Center
800 Edmonds Ave. NE
Open 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

City Hall
4th Ave between James and Cherry Streets
Opens at 9 p.m.
Co-Ed shelter

King County Administration Building
500 4th Ave
Opens: 9 PM
Serves: Men

Frye Hotel
3rd and Yesler
Opens at 8 p.m.
Serves women

Lazarus Day Center
416 2nd Ave.
11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
For people 50 and up

Kent Lutheran Church
336 2nd Avenue South
Kent, WA 98032-5849
9 p.m.  to 7 a.m.

Salvation Army Everett Corps
2525 Rucker Avenue
Opens: 8 p.m. Serves: Men, Women, Families

Meet at Good Shepherd Baptist Church
6915 196th St SW, Lynnwood at 7 p.m.
Individuals will be driven to local churches that are part of the South Snohomish County Emergency Shelter network.

Coffee Oasis , 822 Burwell St.

Port Orchard
Spirit of Truth Fellowship, 902 Dekalb St.

First Assembly of God Church, 1517 N. 4th Ave.
9 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Cold weather preparations

King County offers the following steps to prepare for cold weather conditions:

-  Keep cold weather clothing in your vehicle for road emergencies and extra blankets in your car and home.

- Fill your car’s gas tank and keep it at least half full at all times to avoid running out of gas due to unexpected weather-related traffic conditions.

- Wrap or insulate pipes and outdoor faucets to prevent them from freezing.

- Assemble an emergency supply kit for your home, car and work or school, with water and non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, first aid and hygiene supplies. 

- Don’t forget about your pet’s needs. Sheltering pets from wind and moisture is very important. Wind chill affects pets just like people. Very young and older pets are most susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. When the temperature drops, make sure pets can go to a warm space, out of the elements.

Visit for an emergency preparedness checklist and other helpful information.