Wednesday, November 11, 2015

OLYMPEX Has Started: Tracking Early Results

OLYMPEX has started and has a nice page to track what they are finding at

The program has set up weather equipment on the more westerly part of Washington State. The image above shows precipitation in mm over the previous day. The OLYMPEX sites are in orange and thus one can get an idea on the locations being concentrated on. The idea is to measure directly rainfall from in coming storms to correlate remote sensing and precipitation models in this generally rugged terrain.

Note that there is a concentration of stations that have been set up in the Quinault watershed including one well up into the Olympic Mountains. The other concentration of stations is with the Chehalis River watershed.

From a landscape perspective and a landslide geology perspective this work is a big deal. A large storm in 2007 in northeast Oregon and southwest Washington caused very large flooding as well as over 1,500 landslides. That storm has had some significant policy implications which are still being worked out. Having done a fair bit of landslide and debris flow evaluations of that event in both Washington and Oregon the importance of just how big the storm was and how intense and where rainfall feel was a point of discussion with a fair bit of uncertainty.

The OLYMPEX project will provide some better insight on how Pacific storms interact with the mountain from on the west side of the state. Some of the early results are already illuminating.

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