Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Phone App Recommendation

All the newer phone apps that show or predict wind speed and direction have those little moving arrows to give an animated display of the wind flow.  But how many of them actually predict or show what is happening?  Not so many.  A pretty animated display is not necessarily accurate.

Windy (for both iPhone and Android) is not one of these.  This is the best wind app that I have seen.  Tho it covers the entire Earth, my experience with it is local, which is nevertheless perhaps an excellent test.  Windy successfully deals with the complexity of the three major wind channels (Strait of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, Strait of Georgia) in the Salish Sea, and the mess of islands sitting right at their junction.

By comparison, the NOAA "Northern Inland Waters" forecast seems to pick the worst spot in the area and report on that.  I suppose that makes sense from a safety perspective, but it has a tendency to limit boating unnecessarily, because wind speeds can vary dramatically between the southern end of the San Juans and the northern end, or from east to west.

I've been comparing reality with the little flowing arrows in Windy's screen for 6 months now, and from what I can see, it does an excellent job of describing the actual current flow pattern.  In addition, for forecasting it gives you the choice of using three different models.  I use the European high resolution model, ECMWF, but occasionally check the other two models to see how they differ.  The forecasts are also excellent.

The app has many more features which I I'll leave to you to discover.  Just for the wind forecasts this app is worth every penny of it's $0.00 cost!


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