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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Environmental analysis for the installation of a new weather station at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park has been completed and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has been approved.
Park crews will install the new weather station in July or August, after the snow melts. The new station, to be located close to the existing one, will improve both the accuracy and reliability of the data. The existing weather station provides hourly readings on wind speed and direction, temperature, snow depth and precipitation. These are posted online at http://www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOHUR and are used to develop specialized mountain weather forecasts, including avalanche forecasts important to both park staff and winter visitors.
“Accurate and reliable weather information is key to avalanche forecasting, which in turn is vital to visitor and staff safety,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin.
NWAC promotes safety by helping reduce the impacts of avalanches and adverse mountain weather on recreation, industry and transportation in Washington and northern Oregon through data collection, mountain weather and avalanche forecasting and education. The program provides detailed weather and avalanche forecasts for the Washington Cascades and Olympics, and the northern Oregon Cascades and manages the most comprehensive real-time mountain weather data network in the U.S.
NWAC is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, but it is cooperatively funded by a variety of federal, state, and private agencies, including the Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, National Weather Service, Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association, Friends of the Avalanche Center, the National Park Service, and others.
An Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the project was released in early January for public comment; both the EA and the FONSI may be reviewed online at the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website.
For more information about this or other park projects, people may call the park at (360) 565-3004.