Forecast Fatigue

By , July 26, 2010

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.

2 Responses to “Forecast Fatigue”

  1. Guys, I am really enjoying your blog. I have for some time wanted to get one going on my website and use it as mostly a fishing journal/place to keep others posted about what my river is up to at the time. What are you doing for internet access? I did have GCI wisp/wireless but they moved the tower and I cannot see the antenna any longer and will be going to Hughesnet satellite for this service.

    I am also interested in you renewable energy and would love to hear about this with photos.

    The squirrel video was awesome, good job on the editing.

    I had a friend that had a barge service across Lake Iliamna and he would watch weather maps on line. He got so good at reading the maps and watching the weather that he was his own meteorologist.

    George

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    George, we’re very glad you like the blog! It helps to know that someone’s out there reading it. I started it primarily for family, but I don’t think any of them actually look at it much.

    We connect to the Internet by satellite using Starband. In fact, tomorrow’s post is already written and ready to go on this very subject. They just changed a policy that lessens the value of the connection for us. How can I whine about that? Hey, I’ve got a blog!

    I’d definitely encourage you to blog about your life up there. I really enjoy looking at your Web site, and, all kidding aside, there really seems to be a large audience interested in what it’s like to live outside the “normal” American dream. Current river and fishing conditions would pull in a lot of viewers, I think, and help promote your business. You’d have a ready-made audience if you have emails from past clients–just let them know you’re blogging, they’ll love hearing the latest from the lodge they enjoyed, and will show their friends as well. Even though I post every single day (for the first year at least, to build readership. Probably after that, too–I obviously can’t shut up!) it’s not strictly necessary, so it needn’t be time consuming.

    For more posts on our renewable energy, click the “Off-the-Grid Power” button at the top of the blog page. You’ll only get two posts per page, so you have to keep clicking the “Next Page” button at the bottom of the screen to cycle through them all. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs with renewable energy. Overall it’s been rewarding, but a lot of my thoughts on the wind generator are negative, because of problems with the company and its product. Some of the posts touch on that but I have yet to really “let fly” and talk about my true feelings! Part of it’s superstition–right now, all is well, and I’m reluctant to jinx that! Eventually, I’ll add more.

    Mark

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