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Old 12-05-2022, 11:33 PM   #1
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Predict Wind?

How good is Predict Wind?


Are their predictive algorithms better than the other guys?



We really don't need current weather, we can read the stations, we need good forecasts... that's the hard job.



They are certainly quite pricey. Worth it?


And worth it for us intercostal guys, where crossing Tampa Bay is a big deal?
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Old 12-06-2022, 12:04 AM   #2
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PredictWind is halfway through a 3-day 50% off sale. Here is a thread from yesterday with some commentary.

What I find cool about Predict Wind (and iNavX) is their passage planning functions that will also recommend a departure time (within about 4 days) for best weather or fastest passage. That comes with their $250/yr subscription. It's a cool feature if you're cruising. Not sure it has much value for day-trips. I find Windy is fine. I used to use BuoyWeather for quick forecasts, but got out of the habit when their free forecasts were too short.

If you're inland, I doubt it's worth the money, maybe the basic subscription which would be $15 with their discount. I really think PW's magic is with longer run passages. Doesn't sound like you're in that category right now.

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Old 12-06-2022, 12:13 AM   #3
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I like Windy. It is pretty accurate around here.
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Old 12-06-2022, 04:06 AM   #4
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Predict Wind has a free offering. There are limits of course to what you get.
When we went around to Barkley sound I anted up for a fancier package which was well worth the money. Gave us a lot more info.
Once we were back in home water I let the fancier package lapse.

As far as better than the others , maybe , maybe not.
They warned to look at at least two predictions for the area. If there are major discrepancies between them be very carefull.

I have used Windy but prefer Predict Wind.
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Old 12-06-2022, 06:09 AM   #5
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I have had excellent results from Ventusky. A little known but very powerful app. Choose your models or let it run automatic (combined models). Much better on the iPad or iPhone then on a PC.

https://www.ventusky.com/
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Old 12-06-2022, 07:37 AM   #6
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I have been using the free version of Predict Wind for several years and I think it's pretty accurate as far as weather apps go.
It's worked well for the 6 years I have been in Florida with the little boat.
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Old 12-06-2022, 10:38 AM   #7
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Do any of these services pertain to the Great Lakes?

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Old 12-06-2022, 11:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
Do any of these services pertain to the Great Lakes?

pete
They are all based on weather models that are for very large areas so would cover the Great Lakes. That said, I'm not sure they ate as accurate as you'd like for confined areas where micro events are influential. For example, I would be curious how they would determine wave height and frequency in the Great Lakes.

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Old 12-06-2022, 11:50 AM   #9
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PredictWind and Windy both use weather models developed by weather agencies. The real question is which model is the most accurate not which App. Use the App that feels the most intuitive.

I find sailors tend to prefer PredictWind and pilots prefer Windy.

I find if all the weather models are predicting the same results then accuracy is very high. If the models are all predicting a different result then then obviously accuracy of any one model is low.

Which model is the most accurate? I hear that is region specific. Here in the PNW I haven’t been able to determine which model is most accurate. I have found that 90% of the time the accuracy is good.

I have not used beyond coastal cruising.

Note, both Apps have an option to select different weather models.
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Old 12-06-2022, 12:39 PM   #10
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I believe Predict Wind runs their own weather model, as well as presenting many others. In particular their PWE and PWG models. These are their own model run with ECMWF and GFS initialization respectively. All of these weather models are run using a grid of cells, it is a finite element numeric type of computation, initialized by current observed conditions. Most of the models are using a fairly course grid and many don't include the effects of terrain, all to save computational time which is huge in these models. Big grids are OK in the open ocean where things don't change too fast, not so good inshore.

The big advantage of Predict Wind's models becomes apparent when there is terrain (they do consider terrain) and particularly where they run a 1km grid vs the 8km grid the others run. The areas served by this are limited because of the very high computational time, and you have to pay the subscription rate to get it ($29/yr is the normal rate). However the accuracy is very noticeably better, at least here in SF Bay and in the PNW where conditions can be very local and greatly influenced by terrain. You can check on the PW website coverage map for the areas served, 1km in small red squares.

In using any of these services, be sure to compare several different models. Often they will agree for today or the next couple, less often out 5 or more days. The agreement or disagreement you see in the models gives you a big clue about the reliability of the forecast: if everyone says it's going to blow in 5 days, it probably is!
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Old 12-06-2022, 08:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
Do any of these services pertain to the Great Lakes?

pete
Pete I have lived the past three years in Muskegon the East
coast of Lake Michigan and after thirty years in NH, Maine and coastal NC and this place is a friggin wind machine. Since August it’s been like twenty to thirty-five knots every day with fifty knots plus the past three weeks. Never lived anywhere that blows so much. Stick your head out the channel and you’re in trouble

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Old 12-16-2022, 02:09 PM   #12
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We use Windy as a 1st go to - but also local weather service , NOAA, + any other source, including asking a long time local Add to that of our own 50+ years of sailing, it is not difficult to assess the situation and make a decision.
Re Lake Michigan- September this year was a bear
Took us a month from DeTour Harbor to Hammond.
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Old 12-16-2022, 02:54 PM   #13
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We have friends who have subscribed to Weather Routing (WRI) out of New York. They ask for your constraints to predict weather windows. They are not cheap by any means. But seem to be very accurate. Another site they have that you can subscribe to is Sea Weather. From cruisers heading up and down the Baja the forecasts seem to be pretty accurate. Has anyone else used this service?
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Old 12-16-2022, 03:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
They are all based on weather models that are for very large areas so would cover the Great Lakes. That said, I'm not sure they ate as accurate as you'd like for confined areas where micro events are influential. For example, I would be curious how they would determine wave height and frequency in the Great Lakes.

Peter
Agree

Unless something has changed, I believe this to be true of most wind prediction programs that they are slightly tweaked algorithms that predict wind strength and direction form simple isobar data.

They are pretty good for wide area winds, especially areas of large expanses of flat water and flat land. The are generally inaccurate in areas where other local factors occur such as topography.

I will say that I often trust the NWS marine broadcasts more than most "freebee" wind predictors, adding that for winds under 15 knots...not so much but nearing 15 knots and more...pretty accurate.

It's a rare day that winds aren't 5 knots or higher over the water than land where friction from obstructions slows it down, diverts it and creates turbulence.

2 careers involving daily wind strength and my 2 goto wind predictors were the NWS and Passage Weather.

The big dollar passage advice people get is great for people who need it, otherwise it does take near a lifetime of experience to get a good feel for reading weather between the lines .(no pun intended about isobars ).
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Old 12-16-2022, 03:33 PM   #15
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The other important thing to remember is that all of these are computer models. I have seen forecasts that are very wrong such as forecasting 200mph winds in Cowes for a full day. This was obviously wrong, but a forecast that is only out by changing a true Force 4 to a F6 to 7 (or the reverse) may be believable but dangerous. As well as using Windy I always back them up with a weather forecast that has human input, in the UK this would be the Shipping Forecast or Inshore Forecast (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather.../coast-and-sea)

I'm sure you have similar in the US

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Old 12-16-2022, 04:07 PM   #16
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As I said above I use Windy a lot. Also I use the NOAA weather bouys. They are scattered across the Great Lakes, maybe elsewhere too. You send a text to the service with the buoy number and almost instantly it will respond with the height of the waves, wind speed and direction and water temp. So before we go out we can see the real time conditions.
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Old 12-16-2022, 04:35 PM   #17
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We have friends who have subscribed to Weather Routing (WRI) out of New York. They ask for your constraints to predict weather windows. They are not cheap by any means. But seem to be very accurate. Another site they have that you can subscribe to is Sea Weather. From cruisers heading up and down the Baja the forecasts seem to be pretty accurate. Has anyone else used this service?
For longer range cruising, weather is second only to mechanical aptitude to comfortable and independent cruising. I've used weather routers a couple times when I delivered new boats that had nothing but VHF. I didn't care for it. They would tell me the "what" but not the "why."

Predict Winds $250/yr subscription is a lot of money, but it gives decent weather routing and departure planning, the best available. But I don't think it has value for many TF'ers simply because few TFers make multi-day runs. Once I eventually get going, I will purchase a subscription as a tool in my toolbox to augment NOAA synoptic charts and other sources. Even at $250 its a deal, but only if you're making multi-day runs.

Peter
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Old 12-16-2022, 04:46 PM   #18
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The other important thing to remember is that all of these are computer models. I have seen forecasts that are very wrong
Forecasting is getting more and more accurate and reliable, but that doesn't mean margin of error is zero. Far from it. This is probably why I am not comfortable depending on a weather router alone. Sometimes, what youre seeing is vastly different than the forecast. Having an understanding of what's changed is important.

Back when I was delivering, the best weather products were synoptic charts via WeatherFax. On long runs, it was sort of an event to have the latest chart start scrolling. As I recall, there were about 8 forecasters in the NWS/NOAA office (Lee Chesneau being one). Each forecast was signed. After a while, you get to know each of their styles. Some were more detailed than others and would vary between them. Was also interesting to watch progression of 72hr forecast to 48hr to 24hr to current conditions. There was a fair amount of variance.

So while I have seen forecasts change a lot (Hurricane Ian being a very recent example), it's difficult to call them "wrong." If you don't pay attention to the progression or so not understand why the forecast is unstable, would definitely appear wrong, but more likely is just updated with better data. Symantics.

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Old 12-16-2022, 05:40 PM   #19
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Predict Wind

Iam pretty skeptical about PW. I was sitting in Neah Bay and PW showed NW winds at 5-15. My mast head showed South 25, gusts to 40. Their recommended wind route would have been suicide on the coast! Had us passing inshore of sea stacks. Maybe it was just the Washington Coast but I was not impressed!
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Old 12-16-2022, 05:48 PM   #20
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“2 careers involving daily wind strength and my 2 goto wind predictors were the NWS and Passage Weather.”

This has been my attitude as well. But in the setting that good low baud information was important.I’m indebted to Lee Chesnau for teaching me the little weather I know plus some reading. Nevertheless I believe gribs have major faults. Good for looking at a large wind field. Not so much for where you are at the moment. I don’t money for any GRIB commercial product beyond my annual donation to passage weather. All of them get their information for free. It annoys me to pay for something that’s free.
Rather I prefer the usual governmental services supplemented by either Chris Parker or Commander’s. For the same $250 you can get Chris for a year and the reports are individualized for your boat and your passage.
While doing the inter coastal we had TV and web. Often the local TV weatherman ended up the most accurate. For weather think it’s important to not base your planning on just one source. So it’s worthwhile to look at different models. Windy, PredictWind etc. is all the same stuff using the same information. I prefer arrows and vanes not colors for strength and direction. Old school but less likely to miss things. I prefer a 500mb and a synoptic to get the big picture and not just depend on gribs. Everyone is different so processes differently. The bride likes the colors. It’s good we both look at weather from different source presented differently. Only when we are both comfortable with our discussion do we plan.
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