Coastal Weather Radar Receives Partial Funding

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All, this is a big day for the local meteorological community and for the citizens of the state....2 million dollars for the coastal weather radar was in the omnibus spending bill passed by the Senate yesterday--and President Obama will sign it. For years the Northwest has been the only coastal area of the continental U.S. without weather radar coverage...perhaps this day will soon be over.

Major credit for this advance should go to Senator Maria Cantwell, who has been a champion of the radar acquisition, and who worked to get this item in the appropriations bill. Senator Cantwell's staff has also been very supportive, as have been other members of our Washington delegation. The radar will cost more than this amount (roughly 4 million for the hardware, plus installation and maintenance), but this is a major down payment. Hopefully, we can get a contribution of the land needed for this facility or install it on public property, and the additional appropriations that will finish the job (or perhaps NOAA could use some of the stimulus money it was given for infrastructure improvement to make this happen this year!). Many of us hope that Gary Locke, now secretary of commerce and someone certainly well acquainted with the problem, will intervene since NOAA and the NWS are under his authority.

Anyway, in this period of uncertain news, it is nice to have something very positive occur.

In 2001 we had a radar on the coast for 2 months, attached is a teaser image, showing you what we could see. In that image you can view an offshore front approaching...a feature invisible in the current radar at Camano Island (whose beam is blocked by the Olympics).

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