Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

29Mar

HOT

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WEATHER

I posted yesterday that the “feels like” temperature broke 90° at the Florida Sea Base and I thought that was unusually warm for this time of year.  According to AccuWeather, our Real Feel® temperature will peak at 104°F this afternoon.  We also have a 40% chance of showers today, dropping back to 10% daily for the remainder of the week.  As the late Jerry Reed said, “When your hot, you’re hot!”

That’s all.  When I saw the AccuWeather report this morning I just felt I needed to share.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Aboard S/V Escape

28Mar

SPRING BREAK

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WEATHER

The Florida Sea Base survived the cold front.  As usual, the wind was more punishing than the cold.  But everyone kept a good attitude.  The wind then tapered off a bit but still held above our comfort zone of 15 knots and clocked to the east making the reefs less comfortable and affecting visibility to some extent.  Monday we broke the 90° mark.

PROGRAM/STAFF

The Florida Sea Base was packed with Scouts the week prior to Easter.  This week is quieter, not only at Sea Base, but throughout the Keys.  I must surmize that spring break is over for most school districts.

After this week, many of the reinforcement staff will be heading home.  The Florida Sea Base is much blessed to have such dedicated supporters.  I, for one, am very aware of the stress this sometimes causes for the parents, spouses and children back home.  If you are one of those people, please know that these folks are doing good work and giving Scouts the opportunity to see Scouting values in action; something I fear they see less and less of.

TOURISTS

In the spring in the Florida Keys (a time of year many refer to as winter elsewhere), this is a mecca for tourists from around the world. Many are not used to driving on the right side of the road, many don’t speak English, some are the nicest people on Earth, and some aren’t. Here are two true stories that I observed on the same day.

I was at Burger King for breakfast in Marathon. There is a young man and young lady (20s?) in line in front of me. They do not speak English, but they do understand the menu. (I don’t know how either.) So they decide what they want, the lady uses her phone to take pictures of the items and they show the pictures to the cashier. Ingenious.

Later I was shopping at Winn Dixie in Tavernier. I was on the cereal aisle. I did not need cereal. I did not choose to be on the cereal aisle. But the wave of tourists was guiding me like I was caught in a rip current at the beach and the rip current was going down the cereal aisle – and taking me with it.

Also on the cereal aisle was a lovely family of tourists from somewhere in Eastern Europe (my best guess). Four generations represent by 2 kids, two parents, two grandparents and two great-grandparents. One of the kids told mama he wanted cereal A. The other kid started screaming, she wanted cereal B. The first kid starts screaming back in defense of cereal A. Mama starts screaming no and chooses cereal C. Grandma starts screaming at mama to get both A and B. A non-associated 30 something lady wearing yoga pants and with a small child bullies her way through the screaming match and apparently great-grandpa pinches her on the rump. Now the lady starts screaming at great-grandpa. Great-grandma doesn’t know what’s going on so she starts screaming at the lady. By the way, the lady does not speak the same foreign language as the other family, but they’re all screaming anyway. I abandoned my cart, forced my way downstream, went back to the front of the store, got another cart, and started shopping all over again.

And not to leave out the Americans….. Later, the same evening….. An intoxicated motorcycle operator is trying to turn left onto the highway from the bar parking lot. He revs up the engine, but the bike is not in gear. He picks up his foot and the bike falls on its left side. Many people rush to his aide. He is ok. They help him pick up the bike. The man is holding the bike upright and standing on the left side of it. He fails to put down the kickstand, but releases the bike so he can survey the damage. The bike crashes onto its right side. Now both sides are smashed up. Someone finally convinced him to park the bike and they gave him a lift.

That, dear friends, is just one day of springtime tourism in the Florida Keys. I wonder if the tourism board would be interested in publishing my observations?

TRAVELS

I will be on the road again late this week or this coming weekend; Texas is calling me home.  So please be patient if it takes me a couple of weeks to post again.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Aboard S/V Escape

WEATHER

The cold front I posted about yesterday slowed down and will be passing through the Florida Keys this evening and most of tomorrow.  This graphic was taken from http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=297.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

PROGRAM

The Florida Sea Base is SLAMMED with participants this week and next.  This will be a challenging week, but the staff and captains are prepared and there is no reason for our participants to not have a very fun, high adventure experience.

We have over 20 NAYLE participants, 2 Scuba Liveaboard crews, a Sea Exploring crew, slews of Coral Reef sailors and a couple of boat loads of Scuba Adventure crews.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Aboard S/V Escape

WEATHER

Marine forecast from the National Weather Service:

NWS Forecast for: Hawk Channel from Ocean Reef to Craig Key out to the reef (GMZ042)Issued by: National Weather Service Key West, FLLast Update: 1147 AM EDT SAT MAR 19 2016


This Afternoon: South winds 15 to 20 knots…becoming south to southwest and decreasing 10 to 15 knots late. Seas 2 to 4 feet… Subsiding to 1 to 3 feet late. Nearshore waters choppy…becoming a light to moderate chop late. Isolated showers developing.

Tonight: South to southwest winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Scattered showers.

Sunday: Southwest winds 10 to 15 knots…becoming west and increasing to 15 to 20 knots late. Seas 1 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop…becoming choppy late. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Sunday Night: Northwest to north winds 20 to 25 knots. Seas building to 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters very rough. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Monday: North winds 20 to 25 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters very rough. Isolated showers.

Monday Night: North to northeast winds near 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters rough.

Tuesday And Tuesday Night: Northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy.

Wednesday And Wednesday Night: East winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.

And here’s the rest of the story:

This Afternoon: A slight chance of showers. Sunny, with a high near 83. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight: A slight chance of showers, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 75. Southeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Sunday Night: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a low around 62. Breezy, with a west wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Monday: A slight chance of showers before 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 68. Breezy, with a north wind around 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 59.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 75.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 68.

Wednesday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Thursday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Friday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Chance of precipitation is 10%.


Lower Matecumbe Beach FL 24.85°N 80.73°W (Elev. 0 ft)

Very windy for most of this first week of spring break, some rain tomorrow and BBrrrrr ouch cold tomorrow night, all day Monday and Monday night.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Aboard S/V Escape

WEATHER

I am very aware that I talk about the weather far more than some think I should on this blog.  But the weather is king at the Florida Sea Base.  Weather is the major reason that we are not able to provide crews with detailed itineraries.  The speed and even direction of the wind dictates – in large part – the days activities.  A different way to look at it is the weather conditions may limit or increase our options for activities on any given day.

Scuba diving is impacted even more than the other programs by the weather.  Most mornings the participants are asking where we’re diving today.  That is always a little amusing to me, because regardless of the dive site, they still don’t know where it is or what it looks like.  We can tell them where we HOPE to dive that day (based on current weather conditions), but until we are on site and can check the visibility and current we just don’t know for sure.

With that said, another blustery weather system has passed.  The wind finally clocked to the north between 22:00 (10pm) and 23:00 (11pm) last night.

CONFERENCE

The Scouting U conference ended at the Florida Sea Base yesterday.  The Brinton Environmental Center is currently hosting a week long training session for Ortho Biotics, a company that manufactures probiotics. The Florida Sea Base will be hosting a Scouting Works conference this week along with a “corporate engagement” for which I have no details.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™

WEATHER

Wind, rain and more wind and possible tornados; Yikes!!!

From Chip Kasper, National Weather SErvice, Key West:

Hi everyone,

Expect 24 hours of rapidly changing, very windy, and occasionally stormy weather, with potential for severe thunderstorms from late tonight through Sunday morning.
*Gale Warning* has been issued for all marine zones adjoining the Florida Keys for the period 0400-1300 EST (4:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. EST) Sunday.  Gale-force (sustained) winds begin at 34 knots, or Beaufort Force 8.  The gentle southeast breezes this evening will turn out of the south and freshen to near 20 knots by midnight.  Winds then will shift out of the southwest overnight, while increasing to a steady 30 knots over open water, with frequent gusts of 35 knots, and higher in squalls.  Meanwhile, an intensifying low-latitude, low pressure system over the western Gulf of Mexico will move rapidly eastward overnight, supported by an energetic jet stream aloft.  The ingredients will come together quickly to support a fast-moving band of strong to severe thunderstorms (wind gusts 50 knots or greater possible) which likely will sweep through the Florida Keys and adjacent coastal waters, probably between about 0500-1000 EST (5:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. EST) Sunday.  We are launching a rare overnight weather balloon to support a severe weather threat analysis by our forecasters here in the Florida Keys, and at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.  Stay tuned for possible severe thunderstorm or tornado watches overnight or early Sunday.
Winds will shift out of due west, following the squall line Sunday morning.  Winds then will shift out of the northwest, and start diminishing to 25 knots Sunday afternoon, with cloudy and windy, but rain-free weather setting in.
For details on warnings, watches, advisories, wave heights, timing, and more, please consult the following information sources online:
Florida Keys Coastal Waters Forecast:
Hourly Weather Graphs for Florida Keys Marine Locations:
Nearshore Wave Prediction System output:
Smartphone widget:
Stay safe!
Best Regards,
Chip K.
Kennard “Chip” Kasper
Senior Forecaster-Marine Program Meteorologist
NOAA/National Weather Service
1315 White Street
Key West, Florida 33040

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

14Jan

HOLD ON!!!

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WEATHER

The Florida Keys are in for a blow!  The Florida Sea Base will be especially vulnerable Friday and Sunday when the wind will be coming from the west.  Chip Kasper sent this message out Wednesday afternoon:

Hi everyone,
The cloudy and breezy conditions of the last few days will turn rainy, and increasingly squally, during the next 24-36 hours, with abrupt changes in sky and sea, wind and weather, persisting into next week.  Please check marine weather conditions and forecasts more frequently during this time due to the expected unusually changeable weather pattern.
The fickle weather is being caused in part by an especially strong and deep subtropical jet stream, a current of high-velocity, high-altitude air.  This energetic flow will help form and transport two significant low pressure systems across the Gulf of Mexico/Florida Peninsula during the next four days.  The implications for the Florida Keys and adjacent coastal waters include:
*  Rain, Rain, Rain tonight through Friday.  Thunderstorms (some strong?) possible Thursday night.
*  Strong east breezes beginning Thursday afternoon, turning quickly southeast Thursday evening, then south overnight.  Winds peaking Thursday night (sustained 25 knots), with frequent gusts up to 30 knots possible, higher in squalls and thunderstorms.
*  Strong southwest breezes Friday, turning west (20-25 knots).
*  Slackening breezes will box quickly around to northwest Friday night, then north, and northeast on Saturday, east, then southeast Saturday evening, and south overnight.
*  Winds likely will shift out of the west again on Sunday, with another 20-knot plus blow increasingly likely.
In other news, a rare, January named storm (“Subtropical Storm Alex”) has developed over the far eastern Atlantic Ocean (NO threat to the Florida Keys).
For details on warnings, watches, advisories, wave heights, timing, and more, please consult the following information sources online:
Florida Keys Coastal Waters Forecast:
Hourly Weather Graphs for Florida Keys Marine Locations:
Nearshore Wave Prediction System output:
Smartphone widget:
I would like to acknowledge my colleagues Chris Rothwell and Sean Daida for their assistance with this briefing.  Of course, our team will be working 24/7 from the Operations Floor at our Key West facility to further update and refine the forecasts as necessary.
Best Regards,
Chip K.
Kennard “Chip” Kasper
Senior Forecaster-Marine Program Meteorologist
NOAA/National Weather Service
1315 White Street
Key West, Florida 33040

Thanks for the heads up, Chip.  I now know what I’ll be doing on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.37.52

 

This is a combined radar and satellite graphic from 06:39 EDT this morning.  This is not a good day for shipping interests in the Gulf of Mexico.  The potentially good news is we may get a break, almost like the eye of a hurricane, on Saturday and I may be able to get Escape to the boatyard.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

WEATHER

Thursday was a very nice day; Friday, not so much.  The Florida Sea Base woke up to totally overcast, grey skies with a line of showers approaching from the west-southwest.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 7.20.16

But it could have been worse; the showers passed us on the ocean side (south side) and despite grey skies, we were spared from rain.

It’s foggy again this morning.  We have a slight chance (20%) of rain today.  The forecast is for sunny skies and a high of 82.  It’s time to crank up the air conditioning again.

CONFERENCE

The National High Adventure group departed Friday.  But before leaving, several spent the afternoon fishing, taking the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course or just sight seeing.  A new adult conference group comes in tomorrow or Monday and the cycle of life continues.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

 

08Jan

BEAUTIFUL DAY

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FOG

Fog is a very rare creature in the Florida Keys.  Yet yesterday we awoke in a fog bank on the T-dock at the Florida Sea Base.  Many people asked what this strange smoke was.  Most had heard of fog, but no one ever expects to see it here.

The cool morning gave way to a warm, but not hot, sunny afternoon.  The T-dock was a bee hive of captains working on boats, preparing for the soon to arrive spring season.  Spring starts in late February at the Florida Sea Base.  It is a wonderful opportunity to escape the cold and go sailing, snorkeling, diving, fishing or camping.

RESERVATIONS

I spent most of the day in the engine compartment and bilge on S/V Escape.  Pirates didn’t have engine rooms and were the better for it.  And the bilges were tended by the imprisoned crew members of captured vessels.  It was a simpler, dirtier, disease ridden time.  It doesn’t really sound all that great.

Come visit the Florida Sea Base this spring and be a modern day pirate for a week.  You’ll probably never even see the bilge.  2017 registration opens 15 January 2016.  Start your adventure at www.bsaseabase.org.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

WEATHER

The Florida Sea Base is very blessed to have a dear friend in Chip Kasper, Senior Marine Weather Forecaster with the National Weather Service in Key West.  Chip sent this email yesterday:

Hi everyone,
Wind and weather will change quickly during the next 48 hours (through Thursday morning), with a potent, but short-lived northeast blow, some rain, and a few stronger squalls and thunderstorms expected.  Wind and sea likely will subside abruptly Wednesday night and Thursday.  However, a rare, long-period (10-12 second) north-northeast swell will migrate into the Straits off the upper Florida Keys during the Wednesday night-Friday time frame.
Small Craft Advisories are already in effect for all marine zones adjoining the Florida Keys.  Northeast breezes will freshen this afternoon, reaching a steady 25 knots tonight, with frequent gusts near 30 knots possible for a few hours amid rain and building sea.  Attached is a graphic from our experimental Nearshore Wave Prediction System, valid at 7:00 a.m. EST, Wednesday, January 6.  Note significant wave heights exceeding 10 feet in the Gulf Stream between the middle/upper Keys and the Cay Sal Bank.  Conditions will improve rapidly on Thursday.
Please consult the following sources for additional information pertaining to Florida Keys marine weather:
Florida Keys Coastal Waters Forecast:
Hourly Weather Graphs for Florida Keys Marine Locations:
Nearshore Wave Prediction System output:
Best Regards,
Chip K.
Kennard “Chip” Kasper
Senior Forecaster-Marine Program Meteorologist
NOAA/National Weather Service
1315 White Street
Key West, Florida 33040

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 7.57.52

As I was writing this post last night, the wind was howling and the boats were dancing in their slips at the Florida Sea Base.  Maybe this will pass in another 24 hours or so.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 6.58.22

CONFERENCE

John Green, BSA High Adventure Group Leader, and many other members of the National High Adventure Division arrive for a few days in paradise today.  What a welcome Mother Nature has in store.  Still, I am sure they will have very productive meetings and make plans to make the best group within the BSA even better.

Don’t get used to this flurry of posts.  The weather is holding me hostage and without TV or a companion, I find writing these posts is the only way I can keep from talking to myself.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Director of All Things Scuba – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape