Cantwell Bill to Improve Weather Forecasting in Central WA Passes House, Awaits Signature into Law

Cantwell: Improving Doppler coverage helps first responders save lives and property in emergencies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, legislation proposed by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) passed the House of Representatives and will be sent to the president to be signed into law. Passed as part of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, the provision identifies solutions for areas across the country that lack sufficient severe weather detection.

This legislation would direct the National Weather Service (NWS) to study areas of the country, including Central Washington, with inadequate Doppler weather radar coverage and develop a plan to improve radar coverage. Gaps in radar coverage leave rural communities ill-equipped to respond effectively to rapidly changing or extreme weather conditions.

“With so many recent wildfires, floods, and storms, communities in Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Kittitas and Yakima counties are acutely aware of their need for dependable weather forecasting,” said Senator Cantwell. “This bill will provide the state with more accurate, up-to-date information about storms and fires, allowing first responders to stay safe, and save lives and property.”

Last December, Cantwell led unanimous passage in the Senate of similar legislation, cosponsored by Senator Burr; however, the House failed to consider the bill in the 114th Congress.