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


During the early 90s, Washington Coast

the NWS installed a network of powerful Doppler Weather

radars, aka

NEXRAD

WSR88D


Nws radar sites
NWS Radar Sites Washington Coast


But there was a major problem in the pacific northwest
But there was a major problem in the Pacific Northwest... Washington Coast

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.


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


The right diagram indicates the effective coverage of the angle) for the current network. Red areas indicate no coverage below 8000 m (25,000 ft). Radar coverage calculations by

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

  • 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: angle) for the current network. Red areas indicate no coverage below 8000 m (25,000 ft). Radar coverage calculations bySecure Additional Radars for the Coast!


Coverage for Lowest Elevation Angle (.5 degrees) angle) for the current network. Red areas indicate no coverage below 8000 m (25,000 ft). Radar coverage calculations by

Now

With Two New Radars


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) During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001


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

dBZ During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001

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 During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001

  • 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 During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001


Dec 2 3 2007 20 inches in two days over coastal terrain of sw washington
Dec. 2-3, 2007 During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 200120 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 During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001


Second growing support for the coastal radar
Second: Growing Support for the Coastal Radar During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001

  • 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 During the IMPROVE Field Program in January-February 2001


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 Coastal Radar But Secured the Funding

  • 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? Coastal Radar But Secured the Funding

  • 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… Coastal Radar But Secured the Funding


Some hints
Some hints! Coastal Radar But Secured the Funding

  • 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 Coastal Radar But Secured the Funding


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


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


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


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


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 locations

  • 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 locations

  • 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 locations

  • 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 Elevation AnglesRHIs

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 Elevation Angles

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



Timetable
Timetable weather?

  • 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 weather?


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