By Joanna Bastian
Mark Turner, from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Spokane, is looking for a volunteer within five miles of Methow to provide daily weather observations. NWS provides, installs and maintains all the required equipment, working with the homeowner to find a workable space. All you need is an Internet connection and a passion for weather.
Mark notes, “space required for the equipment is fairly small, a typical backyard will do just fine.” Training is provided on observational techniques. Volunteers are asked to observe and record 24-hour maximum and minimum temperatures, 24-hour liquid precipitation amounts, including melted snowfall, and snow depth. The data is then reported online for instant use by NWS to create improved localized weather forecasts.
The Cooperative Weather Observing Network, or COOP, is a nationwide weather and climate-monitoring network. Thousands of volunteers observe and report weather information, which is then used by the National Weather Service to provide detailed forecasts and severe weather warnings. “COOP observations form the backbone of temperature and precipitation — including snowfall — records describing U.S. climate,” says Mark. More information on the program can be viewed at www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/.
Observations are transmitted almost instantaneously to the NWS and are displayed on the local NWS webpage, www.weather.gov/climate. The Methow Valley has a micro-climate that differs from weather events that may be going on in the same area. Volunteers can help provide information that forms a clearer picture for weather forecasts. If you would like to be a weather observation volunteer in Methow, contact Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (509) 244-0110, extension 225.
There are two lonely roosters in Methow that are looking for a good home. These loveable bachelors are about a year old. Call 923-2782 if these fellas can roost with you.
In other news, winter has cut her visit short. Sadly, she was only here for a few short weeks. The neighbor kids built a tall and handsome snowman at the end of the driveway. This morning he looks like how I feel after Sunday morning’s time change, melting into a diminutive shadow of his former self.
March is a curious season. The clock springs ahead an hour, and the solid snow pack, so sure and certain just a week before, turns to solid ice one morning, slush the next, and a muddy torrent by midweek. Both time and landscape shift constantly within the weeks of March. Salvador Dali, I think, was inspired by a similar slushy Sunday in March. In his painting “The Persistence of Memory,” clocks slide nonchalantly over tree limbs and tabletops, nonconforming to the space expected of them — losing their form and melting into the ground. Like the snowman at the end of the drive.
Slush. The word sounds like it should be something fun, like slush puppy or slush fund. Alas, the slushy mess found in all the side roads and driveways is not the fun kind of slush. You could pile it up into a paper cone and pretend it is a slush puppy, but it would taste like mud and leave grit in your teeth.