Monday, June 17, 2013

Ferry weather

The winds in Puget Sound can be exasperatingly screwy.  A frequent forecast has winds in the north part out of the north and winds in the south part out of the south.

In the central part when this happens?   Often enough it is calm in the section between Shilshole and the north end of Bainbridge Island - after colliding, the air must blow straight up or something.

And like tidal swirls, the air does odd things as it flows around the Olympic mountains, the islands and the waterways in the Sound.

The NOAA forecasts (issued at 0000, 0300, 0600, 0900, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2100) contain observed wind speeds at various locations in the Salish Sea.  You would think that this would be enough information.  Frequently, it is not.

Quiet morning on Puget Sound

Now here is an apparently little-known fact:  A side benefit of our WA State Ferry System is that the ferries continuously record the actual wind speeds observed in their crossings of the Sound.  These are not predictions, or speeds observed at shore-based weather stations like those NOAA uses - they are the observed wind speeds and directions out on the water.

Oh yeah, and the shore station reports are shown too.  It can be kind of fun to compare the shore station information with the on-the-water readings to see what you miss by only listening to the NOAA observations.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the first site I bring up on my phone before I leave the dock and then every 30 min when I'm out, I love it!

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