Weather or Not

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blueythe
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:02 pm

Weather or Not

Post by blueythe » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:09 pm

We all rely on forecasts to plan our sea kayaking trips. Although generally accurate and reliable, I am quite often surprised by the expectation and reality of forecasts and sea conditions- be that calmer or rougher than expected. I know local conditions can vary from forecasts as most forecasts look at much larger areas and the effect of the land can be significant on inshore weather. However, many apps and weather sites do forecast for local conditions and I am not sure how they construct these forecasts.

Is there a resource for records of the actual conditions,in particular local conditions of wind and swell etc. So by comparing forecasts vs actual weather I can begin to understand what I am paddling in around our coastline and perhaps better understand local conditions.

thanks

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JB-NL
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Location: Nl

Re: Weather or Not

Post by JB-NL » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:40 am

blueythe wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:09 pm
We all rely on forecasts to plan our sea kayaking trips. Although generally accurate and reliable, I am quite often surprised by the expectation and reality of forecasts and sea conditions- be that calmer or rougher than expected. I know local conditions can vary from forecasts as most forecasts look at much larger areas and the effect of the land can be significant on inshore weather. However, many apps and weather sites do forecast for local conditions and I am not sure how they construct these forecasts.

Is there a resource for records of the actual conditions,in particular local conditions of wind and swell etc. So by comparing forecasts vs actual weather I can begin to understand what I am paddling in around our coastline and perhaps better understand local conditions.

thanks
Once we got in contact via the VHF with the Icelandic meteo and they shared the forecast.
The other day, the forecast vs actual were not really in line (not at all).
That same evening we got in contact with the same station and they provided the same forecast for the coming day. When I said this is the same as yesterday, they sad "it's just a weather forecast"....

A week before we got stuck due to Bf8-9. A fisherman passed by in the fjord at the end of the day and we got on the radio. He said "tomorrow it will be OK , no wind and a calm sea" And so it was..

Maybe that is one of the beautiful aspects of Seakayaking....
JB
--==Never go faster than your Angel can fly==--

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Weather or Not

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:56 pm

I agree with JB that the uncertainty of weather is one of the features of sea kayaking and as such it should be enjoyed. However as a windsurfer I like a little more certainty in my planning.
I have been using Windfinder. Com for a good few years now. I have recently added my own weather station to Windfinder

https://www.windfinder.com/report/fleet ... lway-firth

I like Windfinder because they leave the current day's forecast up and you can compare it with the real time weather reports from its network of stations. Most forecasters use a model which is based on a 27x27km grid. The Windfinder superforecast is based on a 10km grid and it takes account of local geography e.g. Hills which can affect thermal winds, rain etc. It also takes account of local weather station past data to modify the forecast based on previous differences between observed and forecast conditions.

Douglas

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JB-NL
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Location: Nl

Re: Weather or Not

Post by JB-NL » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:17 am

Windfinderis very usefull,
If you look for a graphical overview, have a look at Windyty.com
https://www.windy.com/?51.821,5.867,5

BR

JB
--==Never go faster than your Angel can fly==--

Ian_Montrose
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Location: Montrose, East Scotland

Re: Weather or Not

Post by Ian_Montrose » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:57 pm

My preference is Windguru.cz and I pay a small annual fee for the Pro version which I feel is well worth the money. For the UK it gives both GFS and WRF forecasts and at different resolutions. It's also clear when the data was generated by the source model.

However, weather is only one part of the jigsaw we try to assemble when deciding what we think the conditions are going to be like. We also need to consider tide, swell and topography both on land and under the sea. No site is going to factor in all these dynamics, nor at the scale we need, and ultimately it's part of our seamanship skills to develop our understanding and interpretation of them.

If you haven't read them already I would recommend the RYA Weather Handbook and Coastal Turmoil by Ken Endean.

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Mark Gawler
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Re: Weather or Not

Post by Mark Gawler » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:09 pm

Ian_Montrose wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:57 pm
If you haven't read them already I would recommend the RYA Weather Handbook and Coastal Turmoil by Ken Endean.
Amazon links to the books mentioned above (other retailers are available):
https://www.amazon.co.uk/RYA-Weather-Ha ... 1905104170
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coastal-Turmoi ... 1408127024
Mark Gawler

seawolf856
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Re: Weather or Not

Post by seawolf856 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:23 pm

I agree that Windfinder, Windy and Windguru are all very good FORECASTING apps. I use these all the time and as blueythe says, they are generally accurate and reliable.
However - it is clear from the post that he asking for a source of information which records the ACTUAL conditions on the day so that he (we) can compare what we expected to encounter by reading the forecast with what actually occurred on the day. If there is such a thing, I would find it very useful to be able to look back at what ACTUAL conditions were like locally compared with what was forecast by the app's. Maybe over time, this could give an empirical variation which could enhance our understanding of local weather conditions.

So, does anybody know of such a source of actually recorded local weather conditions, for example is there anywhere I can go to I look up what the actual wind speed and wave height was yesterday on the West coast of Anglesey? or even focus in on say Trearddur Bay.

Obviously this data can't be used for trip planning - because it has already happened! and I agree totally that ones experience and seamanship should be used to interpret the forecasts, but I think it would be very interesting to be able to compare actual conditions with forecast conditions.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Weather or Not

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:39 pm

Hello Seawolf, as mentioned above, Windfinder will allow you to do exactly that.

https://www.windfinder.com/report/raven ... arddur-bay

This page has links to the last seven days of observed windspeed and direction. The whole daily forecast is held throughout the day, unlike most sites where the hours that have passed drop off the forecast. If I am following the forecast I simply capture the screen on the forecast page then over the next day or two capture the screen from the actual report page to compare.

If you want older data, you need to pay.

Magicseaweed will give you a free week's worth of historic forecasts.

http://magicseaweed.com/Anglesey-Ynys-M ... /Historic/

Douglas

blueythe
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Re: Weather or Not

Post by blueythe » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:28 pm

As always this forum really is a font of knowledge for sea kayakers. Thank you for all your comments

I am currently using the winder finder mobile app and just started to use windyty.com

Thanks Douglas for pointing me to the desk top version of wind finder. I had assumed it wasn't much different from the mobile app but it is so much better. Although you may have to pay for historical data I can see from your comment how I could start to collect data for comparison without paying.

I think Windyty is going to be a really useful resource and it's improving on a regular basis. One of the really good things is that it allows you to compare various predictive models ( although I don't quite understand them yet) and zoom in on local areas. It has swell, sea temp and many other parameters that are going to be of use for sea kayakers.

Thanks Ian and Mark for book references. I have the RYA one but hadn't heard of the other one

I certainly agree with the comments regarding the allure of changing conditions being one of the fascinating aspects of sea kayaking and that seamanship is one of the ways in getting to grips with this. The of course requires time at sea under varying conditions and really this is what I am trying to get to grips with but with only 4 years experience I suspect I have a long way to go.

I am hoping by paying more attention to the weather forecasting and making valid comparisons with actual conditions will help speed up the process, although I suspect it never ends and there will be times when the weather throws up a 'curved ball' despite your best efforts

Back to planning the next trip then!!!

seawolf856
Posts: 69
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Re: Weather or Not

Post by seawolf856 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:05 am

Thanks Douglas for nudging me deeper into Windfinder. As always, your advice is spot on.

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