Tuesday morning's headlines

Apr 19, 2011

Here's what's making headlines around the Northwest:

  • Senate advances its proposed Washington state budget
  • Sideswiped BNSF freight car derails in Seattle
  • Region Records Coldest 1st Half of April on Record
  • Real Estate Website Zillow Files for IPO

 

State Senate Approves Budget Plan With Deep Education Cuts

Washington state senators have advanced their version of a proposed two-year budget, setting up negotiations with the House and the governor's office.

Monday's 34-13 vote pushes forward a plan that slashes $4.8 billion from state spending in an attempt to close a projected deficit of more than $5 billion.

A committee made some adjustments to the budget on Friday, replacing a plan that would have saved $95 million by penalizing school districts with high truancy rates with a proposal to delay payments for school buses.

Senators also included a $250 million cut to K12 education in their budget - a proposal that has gotten lukewarm response from  the House and the governor's office.

 

Freight train derails near Boeing Field

[UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: Burlington Northern says crews are bringing in equipment and should have everything back on track and repaired by 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon]

A cargo train freight car derailed when it was sideswiped in a slow-speed accident at a switching yard near Boeing Field early Tuesday in Seattle.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas says there were no injuries and no spillage from the car, which remains upright.

The accident is not delaying freight or passenger trains on the main line through Seattle.

The derailed car is visible from Interstate 5. It's a segmented car that looks like five separate rail cars. It's carrying double-stacked cargo containers of imported merchandise.

The car was going about 3 mph when bumping another train caused it to derail.

 

Chilly April a Boon for Moss, Fluffy Cloud Patterns

It's not just your imagination. It really has been a cold spring. The thermometer at Sea-Tac Airport has recorded the coldest average high temperatures on record for the first half of April.

The reason? A stubborn jet stream that's bringing a cool, northwesterly flow to the Puget Sound area. It's also one of the main causes of unstable air to move into the Southeastern U.S., including deadly tornadoes.

An upside? Moss and some gorgeous clouds.

Moss revels in cool moistness and it's getting plenty right now.

And U.W. meterologist Cliff Mass says in his blog that the unstable air makes for some very pretty skies:

The result of cold air aloft, but warming at the surface is that a large difference in temperature develops with height. In the business, we call that a large temperature lapse rate.

So why do we care about this? Well, when the lapse rate gets large enough the atmosphere can get unstable and it starts to convect. This is exactly what happens when you make hot cereal by the way (and if you don't eat hot cereal, you should, it is good for you). You put the a saucepan on the burner and when the vertical lapse rate because large enough the cereal starts to convect - some moving up and some moving down.

The U.W. Meteorology Department has a time-lapse video of the unstable airmass in action Sunday:
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/flash2.cgi?/images/webcam2/movies/20110417.swf

 

Seattle-based Real-Estate Site Zillow Files for Initial Public Offering

Seattle-based Zillow Inc., which runs a fast-growing online real estate site, has filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Zillow said it has not determined how many shares of stock it will offer or a price range, but the documents say the company wants to raise $51.75 million for working capital and sales and marketing.

Techflash.org reports that since the company company launched in 2005, it has seen three straight years of increased revenues and three years of declining losses.  It has yet to turn a profit.