Living as we do, depend heavily on the weather forecast. As you can imagine, we spend a fair amount of time each day listening to the weather band. We keep a weather radio handy in the “weather station,” a letter holder that hangs next to my place at the table, which includes tide books, a wind gauge, weather reference sheets, and sunrise/sunset tables. The wind up/solar radio in the outhouse is usually tuned to the weather band rather than the local radio station.
We understand that the science of weather prediction is constantly improving, and that significant advances have been made recently. Perhaps so, but they have yet to master predicting weather in Alaska’s Lynn Canal, which is, admittedly, a big place. The marine forecast is our primary interest, as it predicts wind speeds, helping us decide how to manage our wind generators and power usage. All we really get from it, however, is a general idea of what might happen.
For instance, recently the forecast steadily predicted rain—not showers, not sprinkles, not light rain, but rain—all day long. We had sunshine almost all day. Rain finally did fall, but only after about 10:00 p.m. that evening. The next day, they predicted 25 knot winds from the south, diminishing to 15 knots in the afternoon. That morning we got almost enough wind to drive the wind generator (about 10 knots) from the north!
We’ve learned to adjust weather forecasts for Haines and Lynn Canal to our local observations. As a general rule we get more wind, less precipitation, particularly less snow in the winter, and warmer temperatures. We’ve also learned that if predicted conditions do occur, they’ll usually arrive earlier than the forecast predicts, sometimes by as much as a whole day. The other general rule is that these rules can be completely wrong at times!
It keeps us on our toes, and tuned to the weather band, with an eye on the sky. In that position, it’s sometimes hard to get any work done.