A conversation among Whalers
7 posts • Page 1 of 1
I recently came across this weather web page. I find it is the best I have seen to get a feel for what is going on with winds and waves on both a large scale (national and global) and a small scale (local). I have added it to my favorites and will be consulting if frequently when planning my boating adventures.
While I think this page is pretty, and has some cool features, for me it NOAA all the way. I can't say enough about the National Weather Service. They are amazing. They break down the coastal area into manageable zones based on geographical and meteorological logical boundaries. They take great effort in forecasting winds, waves and weather within the zones. The product they produce, other than the coastal water forecast, which I really appreciate is called the area forecast discussion. The meteorologists look at high resolution and low resolution forecasting models. These models are both long-range and short-range. The models are based in the US, Canada, and there are European versions. The forecasters overlay the graphics from all of the aforementioned models and analyze the consistency between the models at a given point in time, and then look at the consistency from model run to model run over time. Then the forecasters are able to blend all of this information with idiosyncrasies for a given area such as geography, islands, etc. In the forecast discussion, they document the models they looked at, the reasoning they used when making the forecast, and the coordination with adjoining National Weather Service offices. I can look at the thought behind the forecast. This, together with the forecast itself is invaluable. When I go many miles offshore, I do so with the full knowledge of the forecast and everything that went into it. Being on the West Coast, there are not a lot of sensors to the west of us. When you're in the Great Lakes, or on a lake in the middle of the country, or on the East Coast, you have land-based observations which help to paint a picture of what to expect. On the West Coast, there are a few buoys and ship reports. That makes it a little more challenging. I want to use everything I can to make sure to not be caught in an unsafe situation. The other NOAA tools that are invaluable are the buoy reports. Also, satellite pictures and radar are quite telling. You should try going to the National Weather Service and drilling down into your local office, and access their webpage. It is a treasure chest of information. I think every boater should be fully aware before going out.
Current: 2017 Everglades 295cc, Previous1: 1995 Boston Whaler Outrage 21, Previous2: 1974 Sevylor Caravelle 3-man liferaft.
As far as I know there are no commercial weather services that gathering their own data; they all reprocess NWS products. Local offices have Facebook pages that are used to fill-in between scheduled products. They usually respond to user comments.
1978 Outrage V20 with 2004 Suzuki DF-115. 1992 23 Walkaround with two 2010 Yamaha F-150s.
As impressive as that appears, I question its accuracy. I am not sure where they are getting their information feeds from, but I have gone to that site multiple times and it was just flat wrong on both wind direction and velocity. In fact, as we speak I can look at a live camera on a wind sock on Lake Pontchartrain (New Orleans) and the breeze is directly out of the North versus the NE the site is indicating. Although this is close, this past summer racing on the Gulf Coast, they were off as much as 180 degrees and completely wrong on wind strength.