October 24, 5:41 PM click here to comment > 3
New weather tool developed with Cliff Mass will help Seattle prepare for storms
Today Mayor McGinn announced a new tool called Seattle RainWatch to track storms and forecast rain and snow at the neighborhood level.
The new online tool — http://www.atmos.washington.edu/SPU — was developed with the University of Washington. A similar online tool, SnowWatch, will be used and refined this winter, with the goal of helping crews keep icy, snowy roads and bridges clear.
Seattle RainWatch will help utility crews to identify where they are needed most and to respond more quickly by highlighting possible trouble spots before they develop. It provides real-time weather measurements at the neighborhood level and is so precise that city crews will be able to see where storm drains need to be cleared, allowing for more efficient response and possibly avoiding risks to people and property.
RainWatch combines weather radar systems, now including new coastal radar, with a network of 17 on-the-ground weather gauges in Seattle. The result is the region’s most accurate and precise weather tracking and forecasting system.
With improved local radar technology this year and the addition of National Weather Service coastal radar, we can get a hyperlocal view of rain and a hyperlocal forecast that few have been able to put together before.
Developed by University of Washington meteorologists Cliff Mass and Phil Regulski, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), the real-time weather system also sends automatic email warnings to SPU officials when rainfall approaches critical levels. In addition to alerting officials and the public about immediate threats, RainWatch will help SPU monitor rainfall and its impacts over time. This detailed study of Seattle weather could help the city adapt to climate change.
Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance