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.

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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

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