Old School Weather Forecasting
Even though I’m a boater, I generally ignore weather forecasts. Not they they aren’t important, but in my experience they’re frequently inaccurate or, at least imprecise. I find myself often waiting around for the forecasted inclement weather to happen, blowing off whatever I had planned for the time. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t show up or shows up in a much less severe fashion than predicted. What are you gonna do? Take the boat out into what becomes the teeth of a storm, or sit around with the boat at dock all buttoned down and everyone safe?
Of course, like any self-respecting tech guy, I have a myriad of gadgets, web sites and applications to help me determine when the sky is going open up and the water’s going churn. None of them seem to do too much good.
I still gotta know, though, so I’ve decided to go old school. This month’s Boating Magazine (September edition, page 15, can’t find it online) has a list of tips to help forecast what the skies are going to do the old fashioned way. A few ones that I hadn’t heard before are going to be very helpful and no, they don’t include “red sky at night, sailor’s delight.”
- Smoke on the water – If you’re within site of of anything billowing smoke; a factory, big boat, etc, check out if the smoke dips below the height of the stack. If so, it means that air pressure is low (lowering air pressure can’t support the soot in the smoke) and a storm is likely coming.
- Moon rings – Is there a halo around the moon the night before you’re planning an outing? The rings are caused by ice crystals in high clouds that precede a low-pressure system and rain is probably on the way.
- Wind on land versus wind over water – Wind over water has less resistance than wind over land. So, if the wind is blowing 10mph on the land, it’s gonna be blowing significantly harder on the water.
Very cool. I’ll add these to the ones I know already and the telltale local signs I’ve picked up through experience. Let’s see if the guidelines of the old sea salts are a better guide than Accuweather, Davis VantagePro, and Al Roker.