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Old 09-30-2015, 09:30 PM   #1
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What Weather Service Do You Use

Planning trip home and need some help
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:17 PM   #2
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We use the on-line National Weather Service Seattle reports for the waters in our area. The main thing we're interested is the wind. Sun, rain, fog, snow we don't care about.

As the area we typically boat has good digital coverage we tend to use the iPads for this. However we will also listen to the VHF weather broadcasts, too, particularly if we don't have good digital coverage or we're in Canada and don't want the digital roaming charges.

There are a lot of other weather services and features but for our boating the wind is all we really care about.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:29 PM   #3
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The app "dark sky" is one that I really like.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:59 PM   #4
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There's an app called Wind Alert that I really like. I find their wind predictions to be very accurate.
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:11 AM   #5
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Passageweather.com
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ranson View Post
There's an app called Wind Alert that I really like. I find their wind predictions to be very accurate.
I use iwindsurf.com

I think it uses the same data as wind alert

Incredibly accurate here in So Cal
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:07 AM   #7
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Along the mid Atlantic, I could to better with a Ouija board guessing the weather than the National Weather Service does. For the forecasting of winds, I use intellicast.com and windfinder.com

Ted
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:17 AM   #8
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Fishweather for wind forecasts
WeatherBug for live lightning (Spark) map and radar
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:18 AM   #9
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I use Marine Weather by Accuweather. Seems to be as inaccurate as the others that I have used.
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Old 10-01-2015, 10:25 AM   #10
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For wave height I like this one Tampa Bay Surf Report (STORMSURF)
It will open on Tampa Bay go below the map and click on the Gulf of Mexico "Sea State" icon on the MWX PRO control panel. Wind and precipitation forecast is also available.
For rin and storms I just check on the NOAA on vhf radio or various internet sites.
As you know Mobile bay and the Mississippi Sound can get choppy fast, Have a great trip.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:30 AM   #11
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We have used Omni Bob in the past and was very pleased with his services. He services the worlds oceans for all kinds of mariners. His price is reasonable too.


Home - www.oceanmarinenav.com
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Along the mid Atlantic, I could to better with a Ouija board guessing the weather than the National Weather Service does. For the forecasting of winds, I use intellicast.com and windfinder.com

Ted
So where do you think Windfinder, which I also use, and Intellicast get their weather?
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:45 AM   #13
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The best NOAA site that I have found is this one. Keep touching the colored area until you get to your exact location. Then BOOM! Five day forecast.
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/usamz.htm
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:21 PM   #14
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So where do you think Windfinder, which I also use, and Intellicast get their weather?
Richard, I have no doubt that they use the same raw data, the forecast modeling software is totally different. NWS forecasting seems to be ok about 6 to 12 hours in advance. Windfinder and Intellicast are much more accurate out to 48 hours. Don't know what's happened to NWS in the last couple of years. Good example: brought my boat around from Ocean City, MD to Chesapeake Bay on Tuesday. It had blown 20+ knots from Sunday 09/20 to 09/27 with seas up to 10'. NWS had the forecast for Monday and Tuesday at 20 to 25 knots and 8 to 10' steep. Windfinder showed mostly 10 to 12 occasionally gusting to 15 and less than 7' with 10 to 11 second period. Intellicast indicated the same wind. Took the short window in spite of NWS forecast (small craft advisory), and went around in 10 to 12 knot winds and riding the troughs of 6' ground swells. NWS was forecasting 20 to 25 knots the whole day in spite of what the buoy was showing them. NWS should probably just use Windfinder's forecast.

Ted
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:26 PM   #15
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So where do you think Windfinder, which I also use, and Intellicast get their weather?
From the Ouija board?

We affectionately refer to them as "The lying bastards at NOAA"
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:14 PM   #16
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NWS forecasting seems to be ok about 6 to 12 hours in advance. Windfinder and Intellicast are much more accurate out to 48 hours. Don't know what's happened to NWS in the last couple of years.
Over time we've found the NWS to be pretty accurate about what's going to happen in this area in terms of wind but not so good about when.

Granted, forecasting local winds in the maze of islands here is nearly impossible as it can be dead calm in one place and 25 knots a few miles away. So the best they can do is forecast a range, like 10 to 20 or 15 to 30.

If there was a wind forecast service that was more accurate for this area it would be nice but I suspect it's a near-impossible task.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:35 PM   #17
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I'm sure accuracy of forecasting varies quite a bit by region. When NOAA had local regional weather offices their forecasting was much better in the areas I run charters. In the era of smart phones and graphic weather forecasting websites, NWS would be out of business as far as delivering an inaccurate consumer product, if they weren't funded by my tax dollars.

Ted
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:04 PM   #18
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Via the HF radio we get grib files which are free. Once a month or so we get this warning (the warning has been trimmed). Local knowledge is very important and we don't use just one source. The warning high lights some of the weak points in some weather sites. You get what you pay for IMHO.

Notes & WARNINGS:
This grib file is extracted from a computer forecast model. While such computer data can provide useful guidance for general wind flow, there are limitations which must be understood. What you are receiving is a weather prediction generated by a computer run by NOAA/NCEP (GFS, WW3 models) or the US Navy (comaps, nogaps) and downloaded and processed by Saildocs (a service of Sailmail). The network is complex, and any computer network is subject to hardware and software failures or human error which can effect accuracy or availability of data....You are getting a small part of the raw model data that the forecasters themselves use when writing a forecast, and it is your responsibility to make sure that the data is consistent with your local conditions and with the professionally-generated forecasts (e.g. text bulletins and weather-fax charts)....Grib data also has limitations along shore, where local effects often dominate and may not be adequately modeled. In addition these models cannot provide adequate prediction for tropical systems, frontal activity or convergence zones. For example, while global models can provide useful data on the likely track of hurricanes, they grossly underestimate the strength of hurricanes because of their small size compared to the model grid. For hurricane/cyclone forecasts, carefully monitor the appropriate warning messages and do not rely on grib data from any source. That all said, grib data can provide useful guidance not available elsewhere. Understand the limitations and use the data carefully. Grib data should be considered supplemental to other forecasts, and not be relied upon in lieu of professionally-generated charts or forecasts.
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