The Status of  the Weather Radar Acquisition  for the Washington Coast
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During the early 90s, the NWS installed a network of powerful Doppler Weather radars, aka NEXRAD PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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The Status of the Weather Radar Acquisition for the Washington Coast Cliff Mass Department of Atmospheric Sciences University of Washington. During the early 90s, the NWS installed a network of powerful Doppler Weather radars, aka NEXRAD WSR88D. NWS Radar Sites.

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During the early 90s, the NWS installed a network of powerful Doppler Weather radars, aka NEXRAD

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During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

The Status of the Weather Radar Acquisition for the Washington CoastCliff Mass Department of Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of Washington


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

During the early 90s,

the NWS installed a network of powerful Doppler Weather

radars, aka

NEXRAD

WSR88D


Nws radar sites

NWS Radar Sites


But there was a major problem in the pacific northwest

But there was a major problem in the Pacific Northwest...

The two NW radars (Camano Island, WA and Portland, OR) were placed east of the Olympics and Coastal Mountains and thus the radar beams were generally blocked before they reached the coast.


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

Radar coverage for the lowest beam (.5 degree elevation angle) for the current network. Red areas indicate no coverage below 8000 m (25,000 ft). Radar coverage calculations by

Ken Westrick


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

The right diagram indicates the effective coverage of the

Weather Service radars for all elevation angles at 10,000 ft above mean sea level, with hatching indicating

substantial blockage.


Northwest coastal radar problem

Northwest Coastal Radar Problem

  • The Pacific Northwest has the worst coastal radar coverage of any region of the lower 48-states.

  • There is virtually no radar coverage for the lower atmosphere over the coastal zone and the near-shore waters.

  • Such poor coverage exists for a region of often intense storms AND a great deal of military, shipping, fishing and other marine traffic.


The obvious answer secure additional radars for the coast

The Obvious Answer:Secure Additional Radars for the Coast!


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

Coverage for Lowest Elevation Angle (.5 degrees)

Now

With Two New Radars


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

We Got A Taste of the Value of a Coastal Weather Radar During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001


Westport s pol radar january february 2001

Westport S-Pol Radar (January-February 2001)


Reflectivity from s pol radar at westport 0031 utc 2 feb 2001 at 0 5 degree elevation

dBZ

Reflectivity from S-Pol radar at Westport 0031 UTC 2 Feb 2001 at 0.5 degree elevation


Years in the wilderness

Years in the Wilderness

  • For roughly ten years a number of local meteorologists called for the acquisition of additional coastal weather radars, with one positioned on the central Washington Coast.

  • This went nowhere until three things happened in 2007 and 2008.


The first the big storm of december 2 4 2007

The First: The Big Storm of December 2-4, 2007


Dec 2 3 2007 20 inches in two days over coastal terrain of sw washington

Dec. 2-3, 200720 inches in two days over coastal terrain of SW Washington

Pictures courtesy of WSDOT

The results: massive landslides and river flooding


Hurricane force gusts for nearly 24h along the coast

Hurricane-Force Gusts for Nearly 24h Along the Coast


Second growing support for the coastal radar

Second: Growing Support for the Coastal Radar

  • Northwest Weather Modeling Consortium

  • Friends of Gray’s Harbor

  • Crab Industry, Fishers, and Oystermen

  • Audubon Society

  • Port Blakely Tree Farms

  • Cities and Counties

  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

  • Editorials in major local papers


The third senator maria cantwell

The Third: Senator Maria Cantwell


Senator cantwell not only appreciated the importance of a coastal radar but secured the funding

Senator Cantwell Not Only Appreciated the Importance of a Coastal Radar But Secured the Funding

  • 2 million dollars of stimulus funding

  • 7 million dollars in the 2009-2010 budget


Current status

Current Status

  • The National Weather Service is now committed to installing and operating the radar.

  • It will be a powerful S-band (10-cm wavelength) Doppler radar like the current NEXRAD units.

  • It will be a be a dual-polarized radar, which the current radars are not.

  • (Dual-pol radars allow determination of precipitation type and better estimates of intensity.)


Where will the radar be located

Where will the radar be located?

  • Using stimulus funds, the National Weather Service hired SRI International to do a site survey.

  • The University of Washington (Socorro Medina) did an independent analysis and provided it to SRI.

  • A draft siting report is out with possible locations, with one recommended. It will be released in March.


I am limited on what i can reveal but

I am limited on what I can reveal, but…


Some hints

Some hints!

  • The sites are in Gray’s Harbor County, within 10 miles of the coast.


Some locations examined by the uw

Some Locations Examined by the UW


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

Beam blockage at 0.0° elevation angle for different radar locations(using ~1 km resolution terrain and a 30 m tower)

N. Central

Park -

Site 6

Langley

Hill –

Site 12

ScarHill –

Site 19

SaddleHill –

Site 23


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

Beam blockage at 0.5° elevation angle for different radar locations(using ~1 km resolution terrain and a 30 m tower)

N. Central

Park -

Site 6

Langley

Hill –

Site 12

ScarHill –

Site 19

SaddleHill –

Site 23


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

Beam blockage at 1.0° elevation angle for different radar locations(using ~1 km resolution terrain and a 30 m tower)

N. Central

Park -

Site 6

Langley

Hill –

Site 12

ScarHill –

Site 19

SaddleHill –

Site 23


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

Beam blockage at 1.5° elevation angle for different radar locations(using ~1 km resolution terrain and a 30 m tower)

N. Central

Park -

Site 6

Langley

Hill –

Site 12

ScarHill –

Site 19

SaddleHill –

Site 23


During the early 90s the nws installed a network of powerful doppler weather radars aka nexrad

Beam blockage at 2.0° elevation angle for different radar locations(using ~1 km resolution terrain and a 30 m tower)

N. Central

Park -

Site 6

Langley

Hill –

Site 12

ScarHill –

Site 19

SaddleHill –

Site 23


Radar siting

Radar Siting

  • There will be a one-month public comment period, with public notices, after the SRI report is released sometime this month.

  • With the community’s input, the land can be leased or purchased, and site preparation can begin.


Next step acquisition of the radar

Next Step: Acquisition of the radar

  • First, the radar specifications must be determined.

  • Then, bids must be acquired, followed by purchase.

  • There is some issues right now about the specs– zero degree scans and RHIs.


The issues

The Issues

  • Zero degree scans can allow you to see considerably further and get more information at low levels.

  • Range-Height Indicator (RHI) scans allow one to get details on the height of the freezing level, mountain precipitation, and offshore structures.


Distance height diagram for zero degree and standard 88 d elevation angles

Distance-Height Diagram for Zero Degree and Standard 88-D Elevation Angles

No coverage at .5 degree

Note the absence of low-level coverage of the standard .5 degree elevation angle at greater distances (more than 100 km out). The zero degree angle provides a major improvement in coverage at long ranges in the critical lower atmosphere.


Examples of rhis

Examples of RHIs

Example from IMPROVE 1: SPOL at Westport looking to the W

Example from IMPROVE 1: SPOL at Westport looking to the E


Zero degree and rhi

Zero Degree and RHI

  • Local NWS offices, NWS Western region, and UW want it, Oklahoma radar folks are hesitant.


What do oklahoma folks know about marine and mountain weather

What do Oklahoma folks know about marine and mountain weather?


Timetable

Timetable

  • Current NWS plans is for the radar to be installed in late 2012 and operational on January 1, 2013

  • Looking at the specific timetable, this seems highly conservative.

  • Hopefully, the unit can be operational far earlier.


The end

The End


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