New NOAA Pacific coastal weather forecast a step closer

NOAA forecaster Jeffrey Lewitsky and his team of meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center (Miami) are getting closer to having  their new forecast ready for official distribution (for a description of its basic form, see here).

There is now an experimental version of the forecast which will soon be released on a daily basis. The very first one gives an idea of the way the coast from San Diego to Ecuador will be covered by a number of new zones. You’ll see that the outside of the Baja is divided up into three zones, as is the Sea of Cortez.

Another zone extends from Cabo San Lucas down to Cabo Corrientes, which is sort of like an “extended southern crossing”, which for the duration of the experimental phase is identified as PMZ 021, “ENTRANCE TO THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA INCLUDING CABO CORRIENTES-“.    If you click here you’ll see the entire range of proposed zones. However, thanks to initial input from several cruisers, the Sea of Cortez has now been divided into three zones.

Below,  the first forecast for discussion purposes only;  and after that, a brief discussion by Forecaster Lewitsky on some of the practicalities and scheduling of the forecasts.

Here is the text of the forecast – remembering that it is an experimental document only and not to be used for navigation.

EXPERIMENTAL…OFFSHORE WATERS FORECAST
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

…THIS MESSAGE IS FOR EXPERIMENTAL PURPOSES ONLY…

OFFSHORE WATERS FORECAST FOR THE E PACIFIC WITHIN 250 NM OF
MEXICO

SEAS GIVEN AS SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT…WHICH IS THE AVERAGE
HEIGHT OF THE HIGHEST 1/3 OF THE WAVES. INDIVIDUAL WAVES MAY BE
MORE THAN TWICE THE SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT.

PMZ001-090930-
SYNOPSIS FOR THE E PACIFIC WITHIN 250 NM OF MEXICO
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.SYNOPSIS…

$$

PMZ011-090930-
US MEXICO BORDER TO PUNTA FALSA-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 10 TO 15 KT…BECOMING N 5 TO 10 KT
LATE. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT.
.SUN…N TO NE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT.
.MON…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 9 FT.
.MON NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 7 TO 9 FT.
.TUE…NW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 7 TO 10 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…NW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT…DIMINISHING TO 5 TO 10 KT
LATE. SEAS 6 TO 9 FT.
.WED…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.THU…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT.

$$

PMZ013-090930-
PUNTA FALSA TO CABO SAN LAZARO-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT.
.SUN…N TO NE WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.MON…NE TO E WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.MON NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 9 FT.
.TUE…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 7 FT.
.WED…NW TO N WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.THU…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.

$$

PMZ015-090930-
CABO SAN LAZARO TO CABO SAN LUCAS-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 7 TO 8 FT.
.SUN…NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING W TO NW LATE.
SEAS 6 TO 7 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…W TO NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING NW
LATE. SEAS 5 TO 6 FT.
.MON…NE WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.MON NIGHT…N WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.TUE…N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 6 TO 7 FT.
.WED…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.THU…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.

$$

PMZ017-090930-
NORTHERN GULF OF CALIFORNIA-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…NW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT…INCREASING TO 20 TO 25 KT
LATE. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.SUN…N WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…NW WINDS 20 TO 25 KT…BECOMING NW TO N 10 TO 15 KT
LATE. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.MON…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING NW LATE.
SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.
.MON NIGHT…SE TO S WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING S TO SW 10 TO
15 KT LATE. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.
.TUE…SW TO W WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING NW 10 TO 15 KT
LATE. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.
.WED…NW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT.
.THU…NW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.

$$

PMZ019-090930-
SOUTHERN GULF OF CALIFORNIA-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…S TO SW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING W TO NW 10 TO
15 KT LATE. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.
.SUN…N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…SHIFTING TO SE LATE.
SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.
.MON…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING NE LATE.
SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.
.MON NIGHT…NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…BECOMING W TO NW
LATE. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.
.TUE…SW TO W WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…SW TO W WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.
.WED…NW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT.
.THU…NW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.

$$

PMZ021-090930-
ENTRANCE TO THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA INCLUDING CABO CORRIENTES-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…W TO NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…DIMINISHING TO LESS THAN
5 KT LATE. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.SUN…W WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…W TO NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.MON…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.MON NIGHT…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.TUE…N WINDS 10 TO 15 KT…BECOMING NW TO N 5 TO 10 KT
LATE. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.WED…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.THU…N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.

$$

PMZ023-090930-
MEXICO – MICHOACHAN AND GUERRERO-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…N WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.SUN…NE WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…SE WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT…SHIFTING TO N
LATE. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.MON…NW TO N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.MON NIGHT…NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT…INCREASING TO 10 TO 15 KT
LATE. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.TUE…NW TO N WINDS 10 TO 15 KT…BECOMING NW 5 TO 10 KT
LATE. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…NW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.WED…NW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.THU…N TO NE WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.

$$

PMZ025-090930-
MEXICO – OAXACA AND CHIAPAS INCLUDING THE GULF OF TEHUANTEPEC-
421 PM EST SAT MAR 8 2014

.TONIGHT…NE WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.SUN…NE WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.SUN NIGHT…N WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.MON…N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.MON NIGHT…W TO NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.TUE…W TO NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.TUE NIGHT…W TO NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.
.WED…NW WINDS LESS THAN 5 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.
.THU…N TO NE WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS 7 TO 10 FT.

$$

THIS IS AN EXPERIMENTAL MESSAGE. DO NOT TAKE ACTION BASED ON
THIS MESSAGE.

$$

FORECASTER LEWITSKY

***

And here is Jeffrey’s explanation about the nuts and bolts of the process. Please let me know if you want to get regular forecasts.

Note a few things about the forecasts…

1) They will be running automatically on a cron, every 6 hours for now.
Forecasters will not be QCing the data on a routine basis until closer to
the planned official implementation date of Dec. 1st.  This is because we
are in the process of adjusting our “work flow” / deadlines / etc. to be
able to accommodate this new service.

2) A synopsis section describing weather conditions during the next 5 days
will be provided when forecasters start issuing the product (when the cron
is permanently disabled).

3) In addition to the individual zones you see in the sample text, we are
subdividing some of the zones into smaller areas which will be included
*if* criteria is met.  For example, the zone that contains the Gulf of
Tehuantepec will have a special “local effect area” so that if a Gale is to
occur there it will be broken out into more detail separately (GULF OF
TEHUANTEPEC…), with the remainder of the zone labeled as ELSEWHERE…
This will capture special areas quite nicely (e.g. Gulf of Papagayo, near
Cabo Corrientes, Gulf of Panama, etc.).

4) Currently the forecasts will be labeled in the ET time zone.  These
proposed forecasts will cross (5) different time zones total so ideally we
would be sending them with UTC time labels, however currently they default
to the issuing offices local time (Miami).  Stay tuned for developments on
that issue.

I will look in to the source of the paragraph that you provided me about
the Gulf of California and get back to you with what I find.

Thanks for the feedback as always,
-Jeff

***

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