Coastal Radar is Coming!

December 18, 2009

3 Years from now a new NWS radar will be scanning the skies over the Washington and N. Oregon Coastline.

Great news on Cliff Mass’s blog this morning.  Apparently the much-needed coastal radar is included in the final bill signed by President Obama recently.  So everything is on track for a new radar to be installed somewhere on the South or Central Washington Coastline in less than 3 years from now.  Most likely within 40 miles of Aberdeen/Hoquiam.  This will finally get rid of the big hole in coverage to our northwest.  I call our part the “Astoria Hole”.  It’s much worse on the S.W. side of the Olympics…almost no coverage there. 

The current placement of the Portland radar is the best that could be expected back in 1995 with one radar in N.W. Oregon.  It was put up at about 1800′ on Dixie Mtn. to the southwest of Scappoose.  Great coverage of summertime thunderstorms and wintertime rain/snow in the Cascades and Valleys, but the compromise was horrible coastal coverage.  Keep in mind that we can’t see much of anything along the coastline below maybe 8,000-10,000 feet.  Sure we get the big picture, but no low-level details.  IF a radar had been installed at the Coast instead of the Valleys, our coverage here in the Valleys and Cascades would have been terrible, so the NWS did the best they could here in the mountainous West!

You can read more about it here at Cliff’s Blog.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen