EDMONDS — People walking along the waterfront here who feel a chilly wind and wonder how cold it is can find out right away.
They can also check the wind chill. They can look at satellite photos and check the Doppler radar. And before casting off, boaters can check the wind direction and conditions at other marinas on Puget Sound.
All they have to do is push a button.
The Port of Edmonds, the Edmonds Rotary Club and the Edmonds School District have collaborated on a public outdoor weather center for the Edmonds Marina.
Located behind the Yacht Club building that houses two Anthony’s restaurants, the open, wooden shelter contains two video screens with weather information, another with an educational video and displays about tides and clouds.
“It’s really fun, I’ve been looking forward to this because I walk down here several times a week,” Edmonds resident Bonnie Howard said.
The idea started eight years ago with the Rotary Club, which was looking for a way to honor the late Harold “Babe” Bucklin, a Rotarian and port commissioner, club president Mike Kealy said. The club had $5,000 in seed money, but the project was slow to get off the ground and was set aside.
The Rotary Club recently reminded the port of the project, and this time the port acted quickly, putting up $10,000 of its funds, port director Chris Keuss said.
The port created a weather-resistant structure with screens covered by heavy plexiglass to resist damage. The port set up instruments of its own to measure conditions at the marina itself, while the regional information comes from the Web site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Port officials also approached Todd Christensen, principal for the Edmonds School District’s Homeschool Resource Center, about participating.
In the program, students who are home-schooled part of the year are able to enroll in the district, giving them access to the district’s resources and programs. Students have previously worked with the port on several projects, Christensen said, such as the wooden boat-building program at the Edmonds Waterfront Festival.
Students in the program’s elementary school science program were already studying weather and collaborated with visual production students on the educational video, Christensen said. It’s an explanation of how tides work, with students appearing in the video.
“It’s a natural transition for a lot of our kids,” Christensen said.
The students also created the model-like displays on tides and types of clouds. The students will replace these, and the video, twice a year with new projects, he said.
Keuss believes the weather center is the first of its kind around the nation.
“I’ve not come across anything like this at all around the country,” he said.
Bill Sheets is a writer for The Herald in Everett.