Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Eyes Over Puget Sound: Raging rivers make for dynamic waters

Click here to view the December report

The wild weather we've had over the past couple months has certainly kept us on our toes! The torrential rains sent water rushing over our landscape, down our rivers, through our storm drains and out into Puget Sound. Our ferry data and aerial photos reflect swirling brown waters as major rivers transport large amounts of suspended sediments and soil into the Sound.

Are we getting back to normal?

Our coastal and regional conditions are gradually getting back to normal in response to all the rain. Snow is building up in the mountains and even the Blob is fading. But with El NiƱo still brewing at the equator, big questions remain. Will the snow stay in the mountains or come down early like last winter? Will Cascade snowpack reach normal levels? Will we face another drought? We'll be anxiously watching Puget Sound this coming spring and summer to see how things shape up.

Our rivers: From extreme lows to extreme highs

In contrast to drought conditions in summer 2015, late autumn brought heavy rains and extremely high stream flows to the Puget Sound basin. This month we've included a spotlight on the Snoqualmie River. This summer, Snoqualmie Falls trickled at a measly 250 cubic feet of water per second. In this month's report, you'll see a video of it raging at 48,000 cubic feet per second!

Time for flight safety training!

It's always great to be prepared. Our flight team spent last month practicing safety protocols in case they are ever in a float plane crash. They practiced in the pool, finding themselves upside down and strapped into a floating cockpit. Crash simulators allowed them to prepare for an event we hope they will never have to face. "I love flying and always feel safe during flights," said Mya Keyzers after the training, "but when it comes to survival, preparedness is a must."

What's Eyes Over Puget Sound?

Eyes Over Puget Sound combines high-resolution photo observations with satellite images, ferry data from travel between Seattle and Victoria BC, and measurements from our moored instruments. We use a seaplane to travel between our monitoring stations because they are so far apart. Once a month, we take photos of Puget Sound water conditions and turn those out, along with data from our stations, in the monthly Eyes Over Puget Sound report.

Learn more and see other issues on our website.

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