Work starting on Washington coastal Doppler radar

Feb 10, 2011

The National Weather Service expects to have a Doppler radar station operating by September on the Washington coast to give forecasters a better look at Pacific storms.  KBKW radio reports that Doug McDonnal with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said they've always had a blind spot in Grays Harbor County.

Construction should begin in the next few months at the site at Langley Hill in northern Grays Harbor County.

University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass has been pushing for the station. He says that by the start of the next storm season, forecasters will finally be able to see the details of incoming storms and weather systems:

"By late September a local meteorological revolution will occur and for the first time one of the stormiest areas in the country will be able to see incoming storms. And folks in the coastal communities and those in the marine industries of the Washington Pacific coast will have what the rest of us have enjoyed for years...decent weather radar coverage, with all the safety and economic benefits."

The N.W.S. says they have the slightly used but refurbished radar in hand that could finally allow forecasters to have a clear view of approaching storms like the one that knocked out power to over 30,000 in Grays Harbor in 2007 and grounded the ship New Carissa on the Oregon coast in 1997.

According to Aberdeen's KXRO, the radar will be one of the first to use dual polarization, using a vertical and horizontal orientation to better predict the type, size and strength of precipitation.