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Thread: Looking for PWS Weather Experience

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for PWS Weather Experience

    I am looking for help interpreting the NOAA weather reports and what hey mean to the greater PWS area. Can anyone tell how this weekends E and SE winds at 15 to 120 knots in PWS proper are going to impact the sea state of Passage Canal, Culross Passage, Cochrane Bay,and southern Port Wells? Is there a resources for more localized weather forecasts/conditions?

    Thanks in advance for sharing some local knowledge,


    Adam

  2. #2

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    A friend who used to live at one of the hatcheries in PWS told me something years ago about the weather in PWS. The best way to know what the conditions are: "Eyewitness reports". My experience is that is as close as you are going to get to the truth. I have been in Passage when it was flat as glass, come around Pigot and it's nasty confused seas and visa versa. The best bet is to actually get onto the NOAA site and look at the latest from the buoys. That will tell you what is up at that location. NOAA has also just started a new "experimental" page : http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?zoneid=PKZ125

    Unlike Dutch Harbor where I spent five years boating, PWS does have lots of places to hide when the weather gets snotty.

    Hope this helps a bit.
    Ruby at the end of a good day.

  3. #3
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Following the K.I.S.S. approach, if it is blowing in, in Whittier, stay in. If it is blowing out, go out. Once you hit the corner it generally lays down.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    You would be wise to listen to Spoiled One, I do beleive he has a fair amount of experience in PWS. I've seen Passage flat calm, then got tossed around like a rubby ducky in Wells, then flat calm again all the way to Naked. I despise Wells like no tomorrow. Reminds me a lot of Pt. Couverdden in SE, where Lynn Canal meets Icy Strts and Chatam strts.. Lots of confused water that quite frankly is just mean at times for no other reason than it can.

    There is a lot of very different water in PWS, but as others say, lots of place to duck-n-hide when times get tough.
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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    There is a good reason the locals and fishermen call it Port Swells.... Too bad the weather bouy at Pigot is down it was really my go to bouy for info.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    I would not go out if blowing 120 kts.

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    What kind of floaty do you have to ride in?

    That matters a lot. Spoiled one can most likely get out to knight on anything that the sound can dish out if he desired. Me on the other hand - well I don't like anything over 10 and 2 in the forecast.

    Wish we could put some pressure on NOAA about that bouy..........their schedule seems a bit lazidasical at best.

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post

    Wish we could put some pressure on NOAA about that bouy..........their schedule seems a bit lazidasical at best.
    Heck I would offer to give the technicians a ride out to the buoy and stay while they check it out if I thought they would take me up on it. It probably just needs a new battery or something simple.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    I look at the marine forecasted wave height, wind direction and speed, and then fetch.

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyrex13 View Post
    I would not go out if blowing 120 kts.
    I'm with tyrex on this one...

    As someone already stated, it depends on what kind of floaty your in. Mine is on the somewhat smaller side and 10 and 2' says to me it's a go. If its 15 and 3' I stay home. That said I have never experienced Port Swells. Either I have had luck on my side or I don't go often enough. I've only been to Whittier 1 time and not launched as the wind was blowing towards Whittier and was really nasty. From my experience fog has been more of an issue than wind. It's not fun getting lost in the fog and trying to watch a hand held GPS. A mounted compass and GPS with a decent screen makes it a little more bearable.

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    My Kids have a saying that rings true

    10 and 2 then I'm with you
    15 and 3 aint for me

    My seasport would easily take it, but I hate pounding with my kids aboard.
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Antother thing to consider is not just what the PWS forecast is, but what the forecast is for waters that get their weather before it reaches the sound.

    For instance heres Shuyak Island To Sitkinak:

    Synopsis...A NORTH PACIFIC LOW INTENSIFIES TO 999 MB FRI EVENING 200 NM SOUTH OF YAKUTAT AND MAINTAINS STRENGTH AS IT MOVES INLAND SAT MORNING NEAR CORDOVA. A 998 MB LOW FORMS FRI EVENING 50 NM SOUTHWEST OF KODIAK AND WEAKENS TO 1002 MB SAT AFTERNOON 60 NM NW OF KODIAK...AND THEN WEAKENS TO 1006 MB SAT NIGHT AS IT DRIFTS TO 120 NM SOUTH OF SEWARD.

    Today...SW wind 25 kt. Seas 11 ft. Rain and snow showers.

    Tonight...SW wind 15 kt. Seas 9 ft.

    Sat...SW wind 15 kt. Seas 8 ft.

    Sat Night...SW wind 15 kt. Seas 7 ft.

    Sun...W wind 25 kt. Seas 7 ft.

    Mon...W wind 15 kt. Seas 5 ft.

    Tue...S wind 15 kt. Seas 4 ft.


    Thus I'd consider the sound iffy for this weekend.
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  13. #13

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    I like the weather service at http://www.wetterzentrale.de/topkarten/fsavnnam.html
    Click on N-Amerika (10m Wind).

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    Following the K.I.S.S. approach, if it is blowing in, in Whittier, stay in. If it is blowing out, go out. Once you hit the corner it generally lays down.
    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    My Kids have a saying that rings true

    10 and 2 then I'm with you
    15 and 3 aint for me

    My seasport would easily take it, but I hate pounding with my kids aboard.
    I like those!!!
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    The forecasts are generally ok; however, I went to Whittier yesterday evening expecting E10 and 2 in the Canal. When I got there it was a completely different story. I didn't put the boat in the water; just turned around and had dinner in Girdwood on the way back home. I wasn't the only one that made that decision.

    The wind was blowing in from the East. As I looked out towards Shotgun Cove, the white caps seemed to get bigger and bigger. Just outside the small boat harbor the water was nasty with white caps.

    Had the bouy out in Port Wells been up, it would have saved me a trip; that's for sure.

  16. #16
    Member KenaiFly's Avatar
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    I came across this site...very good, and Alaska focused. It also shows any images that are available at some sites. This is the most comprehensive collection of observations I have seen, including bouy data. Also, check out the forecast component. This has become one of my favorite sites for weather because it is all in one place.

    Alaska Ocean Observation System

    Forecasts do not always hold true, so local knowledge and experience will help to asses the forecast. Always prudent to err on the side of being conservative, however preparation for the worst BEFORE it happens will lower your risk. There's nothing wrong with taking a look, as long as you allow yourself to turn around, despite any pressure your guests or crew may put on you. Good Luck.

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    I always found when they're forecasting a 1010 mb low that you may get wet but you'll have an easy ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesslr View Post
    I like the weather service at http://www.wetterzentrale.de/topkarten/fsavnnam.html
    Click on N-Amerika (10m Wind).
    It would help if it was in english!!

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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    I went out this weekend and lets just say it was snotty.
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  20. #20

    Default PWS Bouey 81

    Learned from a good inside source (CG) that Bouey 81 out in Wells Passage which was replace what 5 years ago, if you noticed the location changed then, is a deep water bouey and does not register the small wave heights very good. Still does the Temp, Wind Speed, Direction and all that just fine. (When it works I know) but being a deep water bouey it's not made to care about 4 foot waves. I do not know 100% what it's limits are, but I have wrote NOAA and asked what up with that.
    I have been going out into the PWS since 1979 and try to inturpet the weather, you can tell a lot from wind direction, if it's coming south out of Port Wells well it has 65 miles of open water to build waves with. If it's coming out of Whittier the waves might be bigger the closer you get to the Harbor. I have not seen 4-6 footers but 2 or 3 times (my limit to here I just go hide) I thought it was knowlage. LOL, luck is not a weather thing you should depend on, nor is luck a PPE,
    I would think that if more than one person questioned NOAA on that bouey would be better than 1.

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