A few positive weather-related developments during the past week:
1. It is looking like we will be able to save the observations taken on Washington State ferries--observations you can view on the Ferry Weather web site (http://i90.atmos.washington.edu/ferry/Ferryjs/mainframe1.htm). WA State Ferries has agreed to pay for the communication service a few more months, which should allow time for the acquisition of hardware for a web-based approach. The funding from the hardware will come from support from the WSDOT grant to the UW. So thanks to WSDOT, this crucial source of weather data over the Sound should be there in the future.
2. More good news. The funding for the weather radar passed the Appropriation Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, the NWS site survey team has been actively checking out various potential sites along the coast. We want to watch them carefully...several NWS radars have been placed in terrible locations (like the one in Medford, Oregon!).
Today was one of instability and showers...with heavy rain and hail in some locations. One shower at my house had huge drops. Look at the latest radar image--some of the radar echoes are impressive. On location had a radar reflectivity values (in dbz) of 63 (the bright red spot in the radar image above--NE of Seattle). This has to be hail. These regional showers are associated with an upper level trough that is making its way across the region today (see image of the heights of the 500 mb pressure surface--roughly at 18,000 ft, a low--heights are low--is right over us. The red is something called absolute vorticity, a measure of the amount of rotation )As the trough moves eastward, we should see a warming and drying trend over the next two days.