National Weather Service chief pledges support for Washington coastal radar system

by Tim Flanagan on May 29, 2009

SEATTLE – The Washington State Department of Transportation is reminding citizens traveling to Canada to ensure they have the proper documentation and to be prepared for delays at border, pulmonologist whether traveling by road or via the Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. ferry.

As of June 1, U.S. and Canadian citizens age 16 and older who enter the United States at land and sea ports will need to present a passport, passport card, Washington State enhanced driver’s license (EDL) or a “trusted traveler” document such as the NEXUS card. Parents traveling with children ages 16 and under are required to provide a birth certificate for each child (original or certified copy). If both birth parents are not traveling, written authorization from a parent or proof of custody must be presented.

U.S. citizens who are Washington state residents are eligible to purchase an enhanced driver license (EDL) for the cost of a regular driver license plus an additional $15. The EDL meets the requirements for proof of citizenship to re-enter the U.S. from Canada. More information about the EDL is available atwww.dol.wa.gov/about/news/priorities/edl.html.

In addition to ensuring proper documentation, travelers planning to take their vehicles on the ferry from Anacortes to Sidney, B.C. are strongly encouraged to make a reservation online (www.wsdot/wa/gov/ferries) or by phone (5-1-1).

Travelers can learn more about requirements for crossing the border atwww.getyouhome.gov.

For more highway and ferry travel information, please visit www.wsdot.wa.gov.

Deborah Bach has another great feature at Three Sheets Northwest:

The director of the National Weather Service told a community forum in Seattle today he’s committed to securing a coastal weather radar system for Washington state.

“We want you to believe that we care, pilule ” Jack Hayes told the audience at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Western Regional Center.

“I’m not going to give up to get the resources we need to help this community and others across the country be better protected.”

The forum, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, included the release of an independent studyconducted by the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) center at the University of Massachusetts. The study found that Washington’s lack of coastal radar reduces the ability of forecasters to see storms coming. Adding radar at lower elevations could improve public safety and reduce storm-related damages by enabling forecasters to better monitor storms and warn residents in advance, the study concluded.

Washington’s only weather radar is on Camano Island. The station has limited ability to identify storms coming in off the Pacific Ocean, where most of the region’s severe weather develops, because its beams are blocked by the Olympic Mountains.

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