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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Public input is being sought regarding proposed improvements and relocation of the Hurricane Ridge Weather Station, which is operated by the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC) in cooperation with Olympic National Park.
The weather station provides hourly readings on wind speed and direction, temperature, snow depth and precipitation. These are posted online 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 a vital element in avalanche forecasting, which in turn is vital to visitor and staff safety,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin.
In its current location, the Hurricane Ridge Weather Station provides accurate data on wind speed and direction, but wind exposure at the site causes snow to drift there in winter, making the precipitation and snow depth data unreliable.
To address this problem and improve the accuracy and reliability of the data, NWAC and Olympic National Park propose to relocate the precipitation, snow depth and temperature sensors to a nearby location at Hurricane Ridge. The proposed site has been used for many years for manual measurement of snow depth. The sensors would be mounted on a small structure that would be built at the site.
Olympic National Park is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) to be released later this year that will evaluate the environmental effects of this proposal.
Comments received during the scoping period will be used to help define the issues and concerns to be addressed in the EA. Comments should be submitted online by visiting https://parkplanning.nps.gov, the website for the National Park Service’s Planning Environment and Public Comment system, no later than August 25, 2008.
Comments may also be sent to:
Superintendent – Hurricane Ridge Weather Station Scoping
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Commentors should be aware that their entire comment – including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While commentors can ask that their personal identifying information be withheld from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
For more information about this project, people may visit National Park Service’s Planning Environment and Public Comment website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov or call the park at 360-565-3004.
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.
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.