New Radar to Enhance Weather Forecasting in Washington

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Washington Dual Polarization Doppler Radar

New radar showing yesterday's rain storm.

Meteorologist Cliff Mass has released some of the first images coming from the new dual polarization Doppler radar recently installed on Washington’s coast. These new images dramatically demonstrate how this new radar will help forecasters better predict storms. The radar is set to go live next month and thanks to Cliff Mass, we are getting a sneak peak at the effectiveness of this new tool.

While this is good news for meteorologists, it is great news for skiers. For those following along here, you might already know that I’m a bit of a weather junky. In our household we don’t talk about weather as a substitute for real conversation. Weather is real conversation. In the ski industry, we are snow farmers, watching the forecast models with an obsessive eye.

Seattle Radar

Camano image does not pick up the moisture on the southern coast

Unlike the models, the radar is in realtime, tracking the moisture as it approaches from the coast. In the past, we had just two radars gathering information–one on Camano Island and the other in Portland. The Olympics blocked much of the moisture, consistently casting the area near Crystal Mountain in a sort of shadow. That was the fault of what Senator Cantwell termed the “weather gap” that she has now solved by getting this new radar.

Unlike most radars in use today, this new one uses dual polarization, which means it looks not only horizontally but also vertically into the approaching storms.

Portland Radar

The image from Portland is entirely blocked from the incoming moisture

This winter, it will be much easier for meteorologists, as well as the junior forecasters many modern skiers have become, to track incoming storms. This will be essential in remembering to show signs and symptoms of that horrible flu that’s going around, so you can call in sick when the powder flies.

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5 responses »

    • Thanks Jamie. The radar won’t replace following the models. That’s my real addiction. OK, there. I said it. I’m addicting to watching forecast models. But the radar will show a much better image of imminent weather. You know, the real snow about to fall.

  1. Awesome resources! I am a bit of a weather weenie also and have always watched weather develop over the Great Lakes. Very excited to learn about patterns in the PNW. Good post!

  2. Pingback: New Radar to Enhance Weather Forecasting in Washington | Kim Kircher | ENA news

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