Northwest weather forecasting receives major upgrade - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Northwest weather forecasting receives major upgrade

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KENNEWICK, Wash -  For years forecasters have relied on weather satellites to develop long range weather forecasts for the Northwest.  It's those forecasts that can help prepare people for powerful storms moving in off the Pacific Ocean.  Now new state and federal funding is going to give forecasters a big boost.

A seven million dollar Doppler radar system is going to be built on the Washington coast.  Forecasters will be able to see the type and intensity of precipitation falling as far as 250 miles off the coast.  The new system should be in use in 2012.

In addition, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell announces the addition of a weather plane.  This plane will fly through the Pacific, gathering information on incoming storms.  According to Cantwell's office, this will make forecasting for storms three to six days out more accurate.