Final EIS for Grays Harbor navigation improvement completed, available for review

A supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project will be available for review and comment July to 11 August 2014.

The Corps has produced a limited reevaluation report and supplemental EIS resulting from a General Investigation of dredging the federal navigation channel to its legislatively authorized depth of -38ft.

The reevaluation report, supplemental EIS and appendices are available to review on line through Seattle District’s main website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil by clicking on “Environmental Documents” under the “Open Public Comment Period” column. The documents are also accessible on the Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement page at: http://1.usa.gov/MS6jUw

The Corps is accepting public comments on the limited reevaluation report and supplemental EIS for a 30-day period beginning July 11 and ending August 11th.

Comments can be sent via email to: GraysHarborComments@usace.army.mil or through the mail to Leah Wickstrom, CENWS-PM-CP, PO Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124-3755.
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Public Comment period extended on Grays Harbor navigation improvement

SEATTLE – A public comment period for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project draft limited reevaluation report including a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement has been extended through April 8.
The draft reevaluation report, draft supplemental EIS and appendices are available to review on line at: http://1.usa.gov/MS6jUw  or through Seattle District’s main website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil by clicking on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under the “Most Requested” column.
The Corps is accepting public comments on the draft limited reevaluation report and supplemental EIS through April 8.   Comments can be sent via email to: GraysHarborComments@usace.army.mil or through the mail to Josh Jackson, CENWS-PM-CP, PO Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124-3755.
Background
The Grays Harbor federal navigation deep draft channel is 250 feet wide at Cosmopolis, increasing to 1,000 feet over the Bar at the mouth of Grays Harbor. The currently maintained channel depth is -36 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) from the South Reach to the Cow Point Reach, where Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 4 is located. The channel then decreases to -32 feet MLLW through Cosmopolis.
The Corps investigated the feasibility of dredging the channel from the South Reach upstream to Cow Point to its fully legislatively authorized depth of -38 feet MLLW. This project covers approximately 14.5 miles of the 27.5 mile channel.  Deepening of the relevant portion of the Grays Harbor navigation channel to -38 feet MLLW was authorized by Congress in 1986, but a 1989 economic evaluation found that dredging only to -36 feet MLLW was economically justified at that time. Through updated economic and environmental analysis the present study has evaluated implementing the previously authorized -38-foot depth through a Limited Reevaluation Report and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), building on the original 1982 EIS and its 1989 Supplement.

The potential two-foot deepening being evaluated is neither designed nor intended to facilitate access for any new vessel classes or commodity types that could not currently utilize Port facilities.

The Corps maintains the waterway now by dredging the deep draft channel annually at an average cost of $9 million, removing an average annual volume of about 1.7 million cubic yards of material.
For additional information about Grays Harbor Navigation visit our website at:  http://www.nws.usace.army.mil
and click on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under “Most Requested.”

Public meeting planned for Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement draft

A public meeting about the US Army Corps of Engineers Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project draft limited reevaluation report including a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement begins at 6.30pm, February 27 at the Rotary Log Pavilion in Aberdeen, Wash.
The meeting will focus on the Corps’ reevaluation report and draft supplemental EIS resulting from a General Investigation of dredging the federal navigation channel to its legislatively authorized depth of -38 feet. Army Corps officials will begin the meeting with an open house followed by a presentation and an opportunity to comment on the Corps’ report.
The draft reevaluation report, draft supplemental EIS and appendices are available to review on line at: http://1.usa.gov/MS6jUw or through Seattle District’s main website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil by clicking on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under the “Most Requested” column.
The Corps is accepting public comments on the draft limited reevaluation report and supplemental EIS for a 45-day period beginning Feb. 7 and ending March 24. Comments will be accepted at the meeting via comment card or other written format and orally. Comments can also be sent via email to: GraysHarborComments@usace.army.mil or through the mail to Josh Jackson, CENWS-PM-CP, PO Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124-3755.

Feb 27 Information Meeting Time:
6:30- 7 p.m. Questions and Answers at Open House
7 – 7:30 p.m. Presentation from Corps of Engineers representatives
7:30-8:15 p.m. Public comment period
8:15-8:30 p.m. Questions and Answers at Open House

Information Meeting Location: Aberdeen Rotary Log Pavilion, 1401 Sargent Blvd., Aberdeen, Wash.
Background: The Grays Harbor federal navigation deep draft channel is 250 feet wide at Cosmopolis, increasing to 1,000 feet over the Bar at the mouth of Grays Harbor. The currently maintained channel depth is -36 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) from the South Reach to the Cow Point Reach, where Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 4 is located. The channel then decreases to -32 feet MLLW through Cosmopolis.
The Corps investigated the feasibility of dredging the channel from the South Reach upstream to Cow Point to its fully legislatively authorized depth of -38 feet MLLW. This project covers approximately 14.5 miles of the 27.5 mile channel. Deepening of the relevant portion of the Grays Harbor navigation channel to -38 feet MLLW was authorized by Congress in 1986, but a 1989 economic evaluation found that dredging only to -36 feet MLLW was economically justified at that time. Through updated economic and environmental analysis the present study has evaluated implementing the previously authorized -38-foot depth through a Limited Reevaluation Report and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), building on the original 1982 EIS and its 1989 Supplement.
The potential two-foot deepening being evaluated is neither designed nor intended to facilitate access for any new vessel classes or commodity types that could not currently utilize Port facilities.
The Corps maintains the waterway now by dredging the deep draft channel annually at an average cost of $9 million, removing an average annual volume of about 1.7 million cubic yards of material.

For additional information about Grays Harbor Navigation visit our website at: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil
and click on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under “Most Requested.”

Strong storm to impact Southwest Washington region

South Bend, WA – The National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland has issued a High Wind Warning for the South Washington Coast. The strongest storm system so far this winter will bring strong wind to our region. The warning is effective from 4:00 p.m. tonight to 10:00 p.m. Saturday. The NWS is forecasting sustained south winds of 35-40 mph, with gusts to 60-75 mph.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland has also issued a High Surf Warning for the South Washington Coast in effect from 4:00 p.m. Saturday to 10:00 a.m. Sunday. The peak surf Saturday evening coincides with high tide and there is potential for some minor coastal flooding.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

A High Wind Warning means that a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained winds of 40 mph or more or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

A High Surf Warning means that dangerously high surf will batter beaches in the advisory area, producing deadly rip currents and minor beach erosion.  Dangerous surf may move large debris items like logs up to beaches. Avoid walking on jetties, rocks, coastal cliff, and along the water’s edge.

Please visit the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov/portland for the most up to date weather information. This page brings up all advisories, watches, and warnings for the Southwest Washington area.

High Wind Warning Saturday for South Washington Coast

South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland has issued a high wind warning for the South Washington Coast in effect from 3:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday. South winds will increase late tonight to 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 65 mph becoming northwest on Saturday afternoon.

 

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

 

A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

 

Please visit the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov/portland for the most up to date weather information. This page brings up all advisories, watches, and warnings for the Southwest Washington area.

Weather Prediction Class Tonight

Want to know more about the weather and weather forecasts? How do forecasters do it? How do they read those forecast charts? What do they mean and how can I use them too?

Two National Weather Service Seattle forecasters will provide those answers and more at a special Coastal Marine Weather Presentation at Grays Harbor College, 2000 Building, room 2250 on Thursday May 24th starting at 6 PM.

Add this event to your google calendar

This is your chance to learn more from Jay Albrecht – Lead Forecaster, and Ted Buehner, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, both from the Seattle Forecast Office. On-line NWS web site demos will also be available and they can address questions you have always wanted to ask a meteorologist. Don’t miss this unique opportunity!

To register, contact Chuck Wallace at Grays Harbor County Emergency Management at GHCDEM@co.grays-harbor.wa.us or

360-249-3911. Register now! Space is limited!!

What: Coastal Marine Weather Presentation

When: Thursday, May 24th, 6 PM

Where: Grays Harbor College, 2000 Building in Room 2250.

Who: Jay Albrecht, Lead Forecaster and Marine Program Manager, and Ted Buehner, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Seattle

Coastal Marine Weather Presentation Next Month

MONTESANO, Wash. – What to know more about the weather and weather forecasts? Two National Weather Service Seattle forecasters will provide those answers and more at a special Coastal Marine Weather Presentation at Grays Harbor College, May 24th.

This is your chance to learn more from Jay Albrecht – Lead Forecaster, and Ted Buehner, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, both from the Seattle Forecast Office. On-line NWS web site demos will also be available and they can address questions you have always wanted to ask a meteorologist. Don’t miss this unique opportunity! – Grays Harbor Emergency Management Deputy Director Chuck Wallace

To register, contact Chuck Wallace at Grays Harbor County Emergency Management at GHCDEM@co.grays-harbor.wa.us or 360-249-3911.

What: Coastal Marine Weather Presentation
When: Thursday, May 24th, 6 PM
Where: Grays Harbor College, 2000 Building in Room 2250.
Who: Jay Albrecht, Lead Forecaster and Marine Program Manager, and Ted Buehner, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Seattle

Tsunami Advisory for Washington, Warning for Oregon Coasts


ARRIVAL TIMES FOR THE INITIAL WAVE ARE ESTIMATED AT AROUND 7 AM

ESTIMATED WAVE AMPLITUDES ARE LISTED BELOW:

 

LONG BEACH, WA: 0.4 METER (1.3 FEET)

CLATSOP SPIT, OR: 1.37 METER (4.5 FEET)

CANNON BEACH, OR: 1.13 METER (3.7 FEET)

OCEANSIDE, OR: 1.01 METER (3.3 FEET)

BROOKINGS, OR: 1.92 METER (6.3 FEET)

 

Tsunami Warning – a tsunami warning is issued when a potential tsunami with significant widespread inundation is imminent or expected. Warnings alert the public that widespread, dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents is possible and may continue for several hours after arrival of the initial wave.  Warnings also alert emergency management officials to take action for the entire tsunami hazard zone.  Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so.  Warnings may be updated, adjusted geographically, downgraded, or canceled. To provide the earliest possible alert, initial warnings are normally based only on seismic information. For an example of the National Weather Service (NWS) format tsunami warning CLICK HERE. For a warning cancellation, CLICK HERE.

 

Tsunami Advisory – a tsunami advisory is issued due to the threat of a potential tsunami which may produce strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or near the water.  Coastal regions historically prone to damage due to strong currents induced by tsunamis are at the greatest risk. The threat may continue for several hours after the arrival of the initial wave, but significant widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory.  Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include closing beaches, evacuating harbors and marinas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Advisories are normally updated to continue the advisory, expand/contract affected areas, upgrade to a warning, or cancel the advisory. For an example of the NWS format tsunami advisory CLICK HERE.

 

Tsunami Watch – a tsunami watch is issued to alert emergency management officials and the public of an event which may later impact the watch area.  The watch area may be upgraded to a warning or advisory – or canceled – based on updated information and analysis. Therefore, emergency management officials and the public should prepare to take action.  Watches are normally issued based on seismic information without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway. For an example of the NWS format tsunami watch CLICK HERE.

High Wind Warning for Pacific county

South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland has issued a high wind warning near beaches and headlands which is in effect until noon today.  A high wind watch remains in effect from Thursday morning through Thursday afternoon.  

 

South winds 40 to 50 mph with gusts to 70 mph this morning and early afternoon at beaches and headlands with south winds of 35 mph with gusts to 55 mph in the coastal communities.  Winds will decrease later this afternoon as a cold front passes.  South wind is expected to increase again mid Thursday morning through Thursday afternoon reaching speeds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts to 65 mph at headlands and beaches and south wind 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 60 mph at coastal communities. 

Doppler Weather Radar Coming to Grays Harbor

 It would be just in time too, forcasters tell us a neutral El Nino Southern Oscillation is expected next winter, which historically provides the most powerful coastal storms. As Mcdonnal tells us, the term Neutral year is a bit misleading;

[Audio 2]

Without influence from La Nina, or El Nino temperatures, Neutral years tend to be more active in terms of wind storms, flood events, and low elevation snow.

 

So by the start of the next storm season, we will finally be able to see the details of incoming storms and weather systems. This is fortunate–next year will probably be a neutral El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) year…neither El Nino nor La Nina. Such years are the ones when the most powerful storms hit our region (but no guarantees storm lovers!!)

Now the details.
Doppler Location
First, the location of the radar is now public knowledge: Langley Hill in Grays Harbor County (see map). A wonderful location, with clear views out to the Pacific Ocean (see coverage map below for .5 degree elevation angle). And the radar will able to see the heavy precipitation on the windward side of the Olympics and over the Willapa Hills. The National Weather Service is close to signing the final paperwork for leasing that site.

Doppler ViewSecond, the National Weather Service now has our radar in hand. This is not a new radar, but one used for training purposes by the military (and the only one available) and identical to the radars used by the NWS over the rest of the country (known as the NEXRAD or WSR-88D radars). I was told it was “lightly used” , sort of like buying a used car from an elderly grandmother. It will be completely refurbished and updated before installation. Using a preexisting radar not only saves money, but the NWS folks know how to maintain and service it. They were nervous about getting a new radar–one different than the current network.

Dual PolarizationThird, our radar will be one of the first in the nation to be updated with dual-polarization. All the current radars are single polarization, which means the electromagnetic radiation it emits has only one orientation–horizontal (see figure). In dual polarization, two orientations (horizontal and vertical) are emitted and received. Why is this good? Well, by getting the two orientations all kinds of magic is possible—determining the shape and type of precipitation, getting a much better handle on the intensity of precipitation (especially in terrain), and more. Eventually all the NWS radars will have it, but this will be one of the first.

HeightFourth, our radar will be the ONLY one in the nation using a zero degree scan angle. Weather radars scan in two ways. First, they constantly turn in azimuth (0 to 360 degrees). During the first scan the antenna is directly at an angle .5 degree above the horizon. Then it does a scan at 1.0 degrees, then 1.5 degrees, etc. Here is a figure that shows you the height of the radar beams for the various scan angles close to the radar (up to 120 nautical miles, 220 km).Now the lowest scan is near the surface close to the radar, but get 100 km out and the beam is 1000 meters up in the air! And at 200 km out the beam is 2000 meters (over 6000 ft) above the surface. So you are missing what is happening lower down. These radars can view 300-400 km out, so you can miss a lot at low levels, particularly at a distance. And WE want to see as much as possible at low levels over the Pacific!

 

Several of us have pushed the NWS to do something special with this radar, allowing a zero degree angle, and they have agreed. This will allow us to see much farther out at low levels than normal and will be a boon for viewing weather out over the Pacific. Again, no other NWS radar in the country has this capability–hopefully our radar will inspire the NWS to try this elsewhere.

During the next few months, a lot of action will begin at the site. Trenching for utilities, putting down a concrete pad, erecting a building for the generator, putting up the tower, and more. The radar should be installed midsummer. By late September a local meteorological revolution will occur and for the first time one of the stormiest areas in the country will be able to see incoming storms. And folks in the coastal communities and those in the marine industries of the Washington Pacific coast will have what the rest of us have enjoyed for years…decent weather radar coverage, with all the safety and economic benefits. Finally, I should note that Senator Maria Cantwell deserves credit for getting the resources to make this happen.

 

With good radar coverage, incidents like the New Carissa grounding (on the Oregon Coast), will hopefully be less frequent.