Now that the weather has calmed down a bit and nothing serious is on the weather horizon (except for some good snowfalls in the mountains), its a good time to talk about some new powerful local weather websites.
New UW Weather Radar Interface
The first is a new weather radar website hosted by the UW. Created by Harry Edmon (the atmospheric sciences dept computer guru) with lots of input from Dale Durran, the department chair, this new local radar website combines all the local weather radars...both U.S. National Weather Service and the Canadian Environment Canada radars...into one seamless package (see sample below):
And when the new Washington coast radar becomes available, it will be added. You have nice control of the loop length and the opacity of the radar echos, as well as the loop speed. And an online tutorial about radar imagery! This site, with some coffee and donuts, would make an entertaining diversion!
How to get to it? Here is the link (or click on the image above)
How about a site that accesses the latest UW high resolution model and National Weather Service local forecasts, looking for high wind situations and displaying the information with a nice interface. This is WINDWATCH. WINDWATCH was sponsored by Seattle City Light (SCL), who is interested in accurate high-wind guidance for obvious reason, and the idea came out of discussions with SCL staff (the now retired Wing Cheng played a major role, as did Karyn Grob). Take a look at the front page of WINDWATCH
Windwatch looks out 72 h. You can view a look of sustained winds or wind gusts, with the winds indicated by wind vectors and shading (for winds exceeding 30 mph). A close in city or larger regional view are available. The initial loops is for the UW high-res model, but you can easily change to the NWS human-based forecasts by using the tab. But the fund doesn't stop there...if there is a NWS wind warning a warning tab turns red...select it and you see what the warnings are. Or you can view the NWS local (zone) forecasts or the NWS discussion where you can understand the lead forecaster's thought process. Or try the alert tab, which will lay out all the periods...color-coded...for which the winds are predicted to exceed 30 mph.
Windwatch has another capability...when the forecast winds are predicted to be strong the software sends emails to Seattle City Light staff (or anyone else we want).
Finally, this site shows the winds above Seattle (the Profiler Tab). Although this site was designed with Seattle City Light staff in mind, it should be very useful for anyone worried about strong winds. We have considered adding a module that it will email local TV stations about the locations of the absolutely strongest winds so they can position their staff for maximum weather-hype effect.
Anyway, here is the link (or click on the windwatch image):