Posts Tagged ‘97’


Try Again

in Weather  •  0 comments

Yesterday I grounded the dive boats at the Florida Sea Base.  Winds had increased to 25 knots and waves were in the 8′ – 9′ range on the reefs.  We spoke with one captain on the reef with another company who confirmed this data and added that visibility was very poor.  These conditions are too severe for most of our divers.  The divers spent the day sailing, kayaking, playing volleyball and hanging out at the beach.  The was only one minor grumbling (from an adult) who wasn’t too crazy about the small boat sailing.  The divemasters reported that the kids had a great day and did not complain.  Many were particularly happy about getting to sail.  It’s still going to be bumpy today but I hope to get the divers back onto the reef.

Yesterday, Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground made these comments on his weather blog:

A tropical wave (Invest 97L) near the north coast of Hispaniola has been disrupted by interaction with the island, plus the effects of moderate wind shear of 10 – 20 knots. The storm is no longer a threat to develop into a tropical depression today, and the Hurricane Hunter flight that was scheduled for today has been postponed until Thursday. The disturbance has brought heavy rains of 8+ inches to Culebra, Vieques, the Virgin Islands, and some of the northern Lesser Antilles Islands. Wunderblogger Weather456 reported that the power was knocked out on the island of St. Kitts for about 24 hours, due to the intense lightning associated with 97L. All of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are under flash flood watches today.

Satellite images of 97L show a relatively meager number of heavy thunderstorms that are not well-organized. The curved bands to the north and east of the center have disappeared, and there is no evidence of low-level spiral banding or of a surface circulation. Surface observations over the northern Dominican Republic show only light winds, with no westerly winds indicating that a surface circulation is forming. Long-range radar loops from San Juan show a much reduced amount of thunderstorm activity.

Here is the 02:00 track for Invest 97.  The system is back on track to come near the Florida Keys, but the forecasted wind speeds are 50 mph or less when it passes us.  This is less than hurricane strength and we do not anticipate any closures.  We will have to hunker down for part of Friday and then all should be well.  The sailboats will be on a dock or mooring ball.  The divers will be on land.  As soon as the system passes we will resume normal activities.

Weather Underground

Invest 98 is no threat to our area.

Weather Underground

I have a busy day today; 07:30 staff meeting, 08:00 – 09:00 continued evaluation of weather conditions and final decision regarding activities for the divers today, 09:00 – 11:30 monthly Team Meeting and at 11:30 I need to leave for Miami (I’ll be back later this afternoon).  It will be a busy day on the telephone while on the road.  Hurray for “hands free” cell phones.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

8 a.m. update - 21 July 2010

The updates continue to be good news for the Brinton Environmental Center and Florida Sea Base programs.  Te tracks keep creeping to the north.  The senior management had a meeting at 09:00.  We are making preparations for a Tropical Storm even though this may be a non-event for us.  In either case, we do not anticipate even a Cat 1 hurricane or any forced evacuations by Monroe County.  The local forecast still calls for winds from the east, shifting to northeast, back to east and finally to southeast with wind speeds 15 – 20 knots through Sunday (well after Invest 97 has passed).  We see all of this as encouraging.

The National Hurricane Center will issue it’s next update at 14:00 EDT.  I will try to sneak in another update this afternoon if warranted.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


Invest 97

in Weather  •  0 comments

The Florida Sea Base management is closely monitoring the progress of the tropical wave (designated Invest 97) located between Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.  We may have a meeting at 08:30 to discuss the threat.  For now, the existing weather system is causing us enough grief even if Invest 97 doesn’t intensify.  The bad news is that the forecasted path for Invest 97 continues to be towards south Florida or the Keys.  The GOOD news is the forecasted wind strength has been dropped from over 80 mph (category 1 hurricane strength) to 60 mph ( tropical storm strength).  Sixty miles per hour is still a lot of wind, but the effects of the wind are more logarithmic than linear so 20 additional mph of wind can cause much more damage.  For today we are expecting 20 – 25 knot winds with 9′ seas at the reef line.  While conditions could improve in the next three hours, at this point I am pretty sure I will have to ground the dive boats for at least today and tonight.  Nine foot seas are too dangerous for our generally inexperienced divers (one of whom got beat up by the ladder trying to board the boat at the end of a dive 2 days ago), hard on the boats, and hard on the moorings (one of the moorings at Conch Reef was damaged in the past few days).  All of the Coral Reef Sailing boats are operating on the Gulf of Mexico side of the islands.  The wind is blowing, but the seas on the bay side are only 2 feet or so.  They will likely stay hunkered down in the lee of some of the islands and spend the day fishing and snorkeling.  Even with the possible approach of Invest 97, the local forecast is calling for less wind tomorrow and Friday than for today.

Courtesy of Weather Underground

I drove BSA Explorer yesterday morning.  The wind was 20 knots and the seas were consistent 5′ waves with legitimate 7′ rollers coming thru regularly.  We went to Long Key Ledge which is about 25′ deep.  The visibility was 30′ or more.  The divers onboard were doing their last dive of the week so we were back in time for lunch.  Capt. Tom was on BSA Adventure and went to a site named Three Peaks with similar conditions.  He also returned at noon. Capt. Carol was on BSA Eagle and Capt. Dennis was on BSA Tarpon.  They were out all day.  The conditions worsened in the afternoon.

I have some Plan B proposals to discuss with my staff and then with the scuba participants for today’s land based activities.  I have a lot to tend to this morning.  Be safe.  If your children or spouses are here at the Florida Sea Base we will be keeping them safe.

If you are scheduled to arrive in the next three or four days the base will be remaining open and you should continue with your scheduled plans.  If the weather changes to the point that we cannot accommodate you, we will let you know in three ways: (1) we will call the registered adult leader of the incoming crews, (2) information will be posted at, and (3) information will be posted at this site.  I understand that you may have concerns, but calling the Florida Sea Base won’t help.  It will tie up the phone lines, but all we can tell you is we are monitoring the situation, we will contact you if the conditions warrant and we are operational at this time.  The current weather conditions are unrelated to Invest 97.  The current weather conditions are not life threatening, just too bumpy to safely get divers on and off the boat at the reefs.  Everyone here will have a good time today.  In many ways it’s not much worse than getting rained out at a camping event.