web gives you access to a lot more weather information than the VHF
broadcasts, analysis of what is behind the forecasts and
graphical presentations of the data.
Here are the sites we found useful
during this year's Squadron Weather class. If you find any of these
links broken please let the
Your comments are welcome too.
Current Reported Conditions:
Washington NWS reported conditions map or click in table for details
gradients that drive the winds
Ferry wind reports
Radar short-range base reflectivity
British Columbia current conditions
Automated Buoy Reports
Forecasts and Big Picture:
Forecaster's Discussion Seattle
provides a few unvarnished paragraphs about the big picture and any computer model uncertainties
(2) Pacific weather maps: scroll
down to surface maps, current and 24, 48 or 96 hours out from NOAA
(computer models plus human review)
(3) University of Washington local forecast simulation maps, each
with a large table of options:
has a WRF-GFS 4 km Domain out to 84 hours. Scroll
down to the 4 km Surface and try 10m wind Speed for Western WA which is the tightest coverage of Puget Sound up to
Nanaimo. Select either a LOOP or the forecast hour you would like.
(There is a new 1.3km set which you may want to watch too; it came off experimental status 2/12.)
NAM Link Try scrolling down to the MM5-NAM 12 km Domain
section, find the SLP, 10 m winds, topography or 925 mb temp
or Surface wind speed row, then select LOOP or
the forecast hour. This will cover a larger area but with less
resolution than the 4km GFS.
Ensembles to compare a collection of computer models
Note: the first frame of the simulations is the initialization; the model becomes effective in frames 2 or 3.
(4) The University of British Columbia has made their 4-km
simulation available at
This is a research simulation and carries "No guarantee on accuracy,
usability, or reliability.", so use it as a supplement to other sources.
Try clicking Open in the Grid@4 km and MM5N cell of the selection table,
then pick the latest initialization, the Colored Surface Winds or Colored
Wind Speeds, and either Show Movies or the time desired.
(5) Marine forecast text from NOAA as read over the VHF for
Text forecasts by Environment Canada for
(6) The UW Boaters Information System had provided forecasts in a nifty graphical
format on maps for tides, winds, etc however its funding has gone away.
You can take a look at their recommendation for an alternative at
Boaters Information System
or you may want to go directly to the UW GFS charts in item (3).
NDFD forecast grids to 5 km
resolution prepared by NOAA regional centers, accessible in XML or
graphical form (source for XM and Sirius satellite radio plots).
Forecast maps of wind, pressure and waves for the world's oceans offering
0.5 degree GFS and some NAM computer models.
Salish Sea Wx App:
P/LtC Bill Ray has developed a WebApp covering the Salish Sea (Olympia to Nanaimo) which
pulls the best of the resources above together and makes them easy to use for boaters.
Works with all web devices from smartphones to desktops.
With all the usual disclaimers from the Power Squadrons please have a look at:
These two excellent general weather sites access lots of other
resources and some explanations. If a link is broken above you might be
able to find its new location though one of these pages. Or check them out
when you just want to do some weather web surfing:
National Weather Service NW Forecast Center at Sand Point
Washington resource list