Posts Tagged ‘nws’


An Early Start

in Weather  •  0 comments

I am off to an early start at the Florida Sea Base.  I woke up at 05:00; too late to try to get back to sleep before my 06:00 alarm and too early to be motivated to do much.  I have perused the various weather sites.  Alex (whether Tropical Storm or Cat 1 Hurricane) is still bound for Brownsville, Texas.  It appears the storm surge will be in the 3′ – 5′ range.  We suffer that here with Hurricane Wilma and it’s a scary phenomenon with which to deal.

Locally, the National Weather Service (NWS) divides the Florida Keys into several smaller areas for forecast purposes.  One of the dividers is Craig Key which is about a mile southwest of the Florida Sea Base.  For all practical purposes we straddle the line of the areas described as “Ocean Reef (extreme far north Key Largo) to Craig Key” and “Craig Key to the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge”.  For today, the eastern part of the our forecast area is NOT forecasted for small craft warnings but the western part is.  But the wind forecast is the same in both sections.  NWS uses the wind forecast to decide if small craft warnings should be issued.  So they are using detailed wind info for their small craft advisory that they are not sharing with us publicly.  What is suggested from reviewing the data is that it may be a better day for our dive boats to go to the east rather than to the west.  The official NWS marine forecast for the Florida Keys is:

Today…Southeast winds 15 to 20 knots early…decreasing to near 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef subsiding to 3 to 5 feet. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy…becoming a moderate chop. Isolated showers and thunderstorms.

The official NWS terrestrial forecast is:

Today: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 92. Southeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

So our participants will enjoy mostly sunny conditions, a high of 92º, brisk southeast winds on the reef near 20 knots, and three foot seas with occasional five foot “rollers” possible.  Three feet seas may not sound like much, but I guarantee that there will be a few folks feeding the local reef fish today.  But don’t worry about the fish.  We only use “fish friendly” food products at the Florida Sea Base.  So if we do make any offerings to the ocean, the fish can feast without worry.  Plus I guess it’s a form of recycling.  We use the food then the fish get to use the food.  Very nice.  We are good environmental stewards.

Yesterday was Paul Beal’s birthday (our General Manager).  Cheryl Ferreri (our entire Human Resources Department) and Capt. Dennis Wyatt celebrate birthdays.  The stone table that served as my birth certificate finally crumbled for old age so I  don’t have a birthday anymore.

It’s time to shower, dress, and make the 07:30 staff meeting.  The BSA Explorer is fueled and generally ready for today’s dive trip.  We will be back in time for lunch.  The view from the bridge is much nicer that the view in my office.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape