Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

While it is below freezing back home in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and at our homestead in deep southeast Texas, it is warmer (but still chilly for us), wet and windy at the Florida Sea Base.  We are forecasted to have three-quarters of an inch of rain starting at 2:19 pm and then and inch and a quarter tomorrow.

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The above screenshot was taken from http://www.wunderground.com/weather-forecast/zmw:33036.1.99999.  The wind forecast is for NE winds at 25 knots today and tomorrow.

I know conditions are worse for most of you and MUCH worse for many.  I hope you are warm and dry and surrounded by family.

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

TODAY’S WEATHER

I received this email yesterday.  Unfortunately, I am not at the Florida Sea Base to tend to Escape.  However, Captains Drew and Maggie Mead are aboard S/V Comfort Zone II which is berthed alongside Escape and will keep an eye on her for me.
Hi everyone,
Small Craft Advisories have been posted for all Florida Keys marine zones, and the first significant wind surge of this autumn season will be underway later tonight.  Northeast to east breezes which currently are sustained close to 20 knots will freshen further overnight and early Monday, with a sustained blow of 25-30 knots, and gusts occasionally approaching gale force (34 knots) during Monday afternoon and evening.  These strong breezes will build seas quickly in deep water, with waves steepened and enhanced in the Gulf Stream.  Attached is an image from our experimental Nearshore Wave Prediction System, showing significant wave height valid Monday evening at 8:00 p.m. or 2000 EDT.  Note the sizable area with seas of 9-11 feet across the Straits of Florida and southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
Peak winds and seas will occur from Monday afternoon through Monday night, with a gradual decrease in both wind and sea expected from Tuesday through Thursday.
For the latest marine forecast details, please follow our updates online from any of the following sources:
Hourly Weather Graphs:
Florida Keys Coastal Waters Forecast (text):
Smartphone Widget:
Marine Weather Forecast Graphics:
Best Regards,
Chip K.
Chip Kasper is a Senior Marine Weather Forecaster at the National Weather Service Office in Key West.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

In personal news, my lovely bride, Sue, and I have been married for 30 years today.
Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™

TROPICAL WEATHER

Joaquin has become a major hurricane in the Bahamas.  So far, the system is small and not having significant impact on the Florida Keys.  The Florida Sea Base does not own any property in the Bahamas and we are confident that the captains and vessel owners have taken necessary precautions to protect their vessels.  Forecasts continue to insist that Hurricane Joaquin will turn north, sparing Florida, and likely making landfall in the North Carolina area.  Captains Rich and Carol Beliveau, Stephanie Mansberger and Derrek Polt, all former Florida Sea Base staffers, live and/or work in Oriental, NC.  I have not bothered them, but I am sure they are making preparations for the storm’s arrival.

From the National Weather Service in Key West, Florida:

Synopsis: HURRICANE JOAQUIN WILL STRENGTHEN AND SLOWLY APPROACH THE BAHAMAS TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT. THE CIRCULATION OF JOAQUIN WILL BROADEN AS IT ACCELERATES NORTHWARD AWAY FROM THE BAHAMAS FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY. THUS…FRESHENING NORTHWEST BREEZES WILL BECOME WEST ON SATURDAY…THEN SLOWLY SLACKEN THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE WEEKEND.

The NWS is forecasting NW winds at 15 to 20 knots for the Florida Sea Base Thursday through Saturday.

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OTHER FSB NEWS

I have more Florida Sea Base news to share but I currently have very limited internet access.  I should be able to post some updates on Saturday.

Capt. Steve Willis
PADI Course Director 39713
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™

07Sep

LABOR DAY

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Labor Day, the reminder that fall is soon to come, is here again.  The staff at the Florida Sea Base is recovering from the program season and preparing for the conference season.  I hope you are enjoying a safe weekend.

TROPICS

Tropical Storm Fred is dead and now we are watching T/S Grace.

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It is encouraging that the track forecast shows Grace diminishing as she crosses the upper Antilles.  IF the system makes it to the Florida Sea Base, it should arrive before the start of the PADI Instructor Development Course that starts in 10 days.

Dr. Jeff Masters posted on his WunderBlog:

Over the next couple of days, Grace will move over sea-surface temperatures of 27-28°C (80-82°F), slightly above average for this time of year. Wind shear will be relatively light beneath a weak upper-level ridge. The National Hurricane Center projects Grace to become a strong tropical storm by late Monday, and I’d put at least 50-50 odds on the likelihood of Grace making it to minimal hurricane status by Monday or Tuesday. Later in the week, as Grace moves west of 40°W, the storm will encounter an intensifying belt of southwesterly upper-level winds extending from the Caribbean into the central Atlantic. Vertical wind shear of more than 40 knots will develop, and Grace is likely to decay significantly as the shear disrupts its circulation and injects dry air into its core. NHC projects Grace to be no more than a minimal tropical storm by Thursday, as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

Applications are still coming in and it is NOT too late for you to submit an application.  More information can be found on the Scuba Training page.  We are staving to fill the class with 16 viable candidates.  The success of the DMA is critical to Program Director Joe Angelo’s efforts to find sufficient, Scout appropriate, competently trained scuba staff members for next year.

TRAVELS

I will spend the remainder of this week with my dad in Jasper, Texas.  Saturday I will hit the road for the Florida Sea Base.  Monday I’ll be reassembling S/V Escape which was made ready for Tropical Storm Erika by Captain “Awesome” Christy Costa, Captain Reed Beasley and Scuba Instructor Jennifer Walk.  After that, I will be making preparations for the IDC.

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

DONE

ERIKA – fizzled out
SCOUTS – all summer adventures have concluded
CAPTAINS and SEASONAL STAFF – most are headed for home and/or school
FULL TIME STAFF – breathing a sigh of relief and preparing for their upcoming Staff Planning Conference at Northern Tier later this month

WEATHER

I copied this straight from the NWS graphical forecast for the Florida Sea Base:

Sunday, August 30 at 8am
Temperature: 82 °F Dewpoint: 77 °F Heat Index: 90 °F Surface Wind: SE 16mph
Sky Cover (%): 89% Precipitation Potential (%): 80% Relative Humidity (%): 85%
Rain: Occasional (80%-100%) Thunder: Likely (60%-70%)

Despite the 80%-100% chance of raining, it is not a constant rain at the Florida Sea Base proper although the Brinton Environmental Center has seen pretty significant rain most of the morning.

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Captains Mike and Kelley Lucivero report that the fleet and personnel at Sea Base St. Thomas survived Erika without incident.

Tropical Storm Fred has already emerged from the African coast.  However, it is likely to curve north and not threaten the Florida Sea Base.

IDC

The next event at the Florida Sea Base is the PADI Instructor Development Course that starts on 17 September.  We have seven instructor candidates and three IDC Staff Instructor candidates.  The Florida Sea Base is currently fortunate to have three PADI Course Directors (instructor trainers) on staff, Program Director Joe Angelo, Captain Bert Hubby and me (as a volunteer, of course).

DMA

There’s still time to submit your application for the 2015 Divemaster Academy and live the dream of being a paid PADI Divemaster at the Florida Sea for the summer of 2016.  Details can be found on the Scuba Training page of this blog.

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

TROPICS

As of 05:00 EDT, the National Hurricane Center has nudged the official forecast track for Tropical Storm Erika slightly to the east, almost far enough to remove the Florida Sea Base from the dreaded “cone of death” (as the locals call it).

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This is good news for the Florida Sea Base for the moment.  The next NHC update will be at 11:00 EDT.  I will not have access to a computer until sometime this evening.  I will post another short update if the storm jogs back to the west.  This is one of those situations where it’s a relief to see the system possibly pass you by, but at the same time, you know many people somewhere are going to suffer because of your good fortune.

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

26Aug

ERIKA UPDATE

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TROPICS

All indications (including an email from our favorite Nation Weather Service Senior Marine Forecaster Chip Kennard) suggest that SUNDAY is the most likely day for the Florida Sea Base to feel effects from Erika IF we get anything at all.

The good news is that the Hurricane Center is currently forecasting a 10% chance of tropical storm strength winds at the base.  I prefer to look at that as a 90% chance that we will NOT experience the 34 to 63 knot winds.

PROGRAM

As mentioned in my last post, the remainder of the week is expected to be soggy at the Florida Sea Base.  The good news is all of the participants should have left or be in the process of leaving the Florida Sea Base before Erika arrives.

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

25Aug

ERIKA

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TROPICS

Tropical Storm Erika is being scrutinized closely by the Florida Sea Base management.  Forecasters are still uncertain of Erika’s future.  The storm is still a ways out as measured by distance, but she is moving almost twice as fast as Danny did so time is growing short for planning purposes.

If Erika threatens the Florida Sea Base, it could mean that some of our very last crews have to cut their adventure short.  That is far from being a done deal, but there is the possibility that an evacuation could be ordered.  If the system approaches as a tropical storm, then everyone will simply return to dock and hunker down.  The full time staff of the Florida Sea Base is experienced with these situations and there should be no concern of participants or seasonal staff being left in harms way.

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WEATHER

The National Weather Service in Key West has forecasted a soggy week for the Florida Sea Base.

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DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

There is still time to submit an application for the 2015 Divemaster Academy.  Check out the details on the ScubaTraining page of this blog.  Feel free to contact me with questions at FSBScubaTraining@gmail.com.

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

TROPICS

This morning, Danny became the first hurricane of the 2015 season.

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Click to Enlarge

Assuming this graphic proves to be accurate, Danny will affect Sea Base St. Thomas weather on Monday and be on the strong side of Danny when it passes as a category 1 hurricane or tropical storm.

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Click to Enlarge.

The above graphic is from an app called Hurricane Hunter.  As noted in the box, this data is “Subject to Large Errors”.  However, it has historically been fairly accurate.  Hurricane Hunter is currently predicting a 40% chance of Danny affecting the USVI, 7% chance for the Bahamas and 4% for South Florida.

Are there more to come?  Probably.  We are at the time of year when storms roll of the African coast, evolve into tropical waves and potentially make it to hurricane status.  Stay tuned!

PROGRAM

As promised, the Florida Sea Base staff is watching Danny closely.  Because of the timing, some crews may be evacuate early or cancelled if conditions warrant.  For current information, please refer to the official website of the Florida Sea Base, www.bsaseabase.org.  All Florida Sea Base facilities are very experienced with this type of weather and managing the arrival and departure of participants and staff to keep them out of harm’s way.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

DIVEMASTER-ACADEMY

Applications are still being accepted for the 2015 Divemaster Academy.  Details can be found by clicking on the ScubaTraining tab on this site or contact me directly at FSBScubaTraining@gmail.com.

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

18Aug

DANNY

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TROPICS

Here we go, finally; the Atlantic Basin is showing signs of tropical life.  This is NOT something we look forward to, but – like knowing you’re going to get a whooping when your dad gets home – it is sometimes a relief to get started.  Tuesday, Invest 96L quickly organized and was first designated Tropical Depression 4 and only a few hours later was upgraded to Tropical Storm Danny.  The system is still too far out for forecasters to have much certainty in the Danny’s future track or intensity.  But with that said, all Florida Sea Base interests (Florida Keys, The Bahamas and US Virgin Islands) are monitoring this system’s development.

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Comparing the first image and the third, you can see that the system is changing quickly as WeatherUnderground shows the storm weakening over five days while the National Hurricane Center does not.

WEATHER

The good news is that there are potential impediments to T/S Danny’s intensification and it is a small system (so far).  It will not have any affect on Florida Sea Base interests for at least a few days with the St. Thomas Sailing program to be most likely to be first in line.  They desperately need some rain so this system could be a positive event for them.

The current forecast for the Florida Keys, Marsh Harbour and St. Thomas are very seasonable with some chance of showers in the Keys and Bahamas.

PERSONAL

My son and I made the drive from Florida Sea Base to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in about 25 hours including stops; not bad for more than 1,600 miles in a 1991 Suburban that was pretty loaded down.  I will be driving back to Florida soon; possibly VERY soon depending on Danny’s behavior, and mid September at the latest.

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