It was an extraordinary day today. At a community forum in Seattle organized by Senator Maria Cantwell, the coastal radar issue was discussed in depth. The full cost of the radar is in the proposed budget...and if passed by Congress...the radar will happen. This is getting close to a sure thing. The National Weather Service was there in force, including their Director Jack Hayes and head of Science and Technology, Don Berchoff. The NWS is now an enthusiastic supporter of the acquistion and they have hired a team to do site surveys on the coast this week. By January or February a decison on siting should be done...AFTER community input and reaction. Talking about community, there was lots of radar supporters from the coast in attendance. This has been a community project from the beginning...and I think the NWS brass were impressed by the depth and variety of the radar advocates. Having Senator Cantwell on our side has been crucial, particularly since she chairs the subcommittee overseeing NOAA. And her staff have been terrific. Finally, the radar got a big play in the press..including the cover of the Seattle Times and all the major news programs.
There are a few battles left now. Many of us at the UW think the radar should be set up to scan as low as possible to get the most range...but the NWS has some rule of never going above .5 degrees above the horizon. We need to convince them. And we would like our radar to scan the skies in the most optimal way for our community, which includes both horizontal sweeps (call PPI in the business) AND up and down at at a constant azimuth (called RHI). The latter scans gives a detailed vertical cross section that really helps see the structure of weather systems and assists in determining precipitation over the mountains. But perhaps I am getting too technical here. But this is a revolution in the making.
The situation the next 4-5 days is nearly optimal for outdoor activities...temps in the 70s over the lowlands (near 80F tomorrow) with lots of sun and no lowland rain. No June gloom--at least for a while. Of course, there will be great temperature contrasts near shorelines, since the Sound and the Pacific are both around 50F