Southbound Evening Net is undergoing a make-over and we’d like to hear from you.
With news from the National Hurricane Center at NOAA that the East Pacific Offshore Forecast (EPOFF) is getting more development effort, it now becomes more a focus for the evening transmission. We’re reading the forecast nightly on 8122 kHz at 0200 UTC and asking cruisers to compare what kind of weather they are experiencing against what the EPOFF forecast predicted.
Due to popular demand (Robert on SV Harmony and Jaime of SV Tardis) we are going to explore getting SB Net going again.
First, we’ll look for a new time and frequency. Starting on Dec 14, 2015, we’ll be haunting some old nostalgic frequencies to find a nice, new home for the net, starting at 8.122 mHz at OOOO Z (UTC). Depending where you are in Mexico, this could be either 5pm or 6pm local times.
It’s very interesting the way NOAA is approaching the launch of its new East Pacific forecast service. And the map at the left proves it.
The revised map shows three zones for the Sea of Cortez – a result I believe of feedback from cruisers to the original proposed zones which had the Sea broken into two zones.
As one cruiser put it (and I am paraphrasing), “The flaw in existing forecasts which have a “Northern Sea” above 27 degrees North latitude and another “Southern Sea” below 27 is that cruisers experience a very different reality,” he said.
Many cruisers suggested that three zones would be more useful and NOAA responded.
Now the Sea is divided into three sections – the Northern Gulf of California, Central, and Southern. As well, all the zones have had a “WFO” identifier associated with each zone which will make it easier for Saildocs to begin to distribute the forecasts.
Note: Below is a briefing note I prepared for Jeffrey Lewitsky at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL. We’ve sent emails back and forth about the preparation of the EPAC coastal forecast from San Diego to Ecuador. One thing that was missing in my conversations with him was a sense of what keeps cruisers moving about on the Pacific coast of Mexico and south. NOAA has been producing a similar product for East Coast pleasure craft for years, and given Jeffrey’s base there, I wanted to make sure he and his team had a sense of the “particularities” of life aboard over here, in the most general way. If you have any comments to add, or stuff you think is just wrong, please let me know by filling out the comment box below!
Looks like Saildocs (a service of SailMail Association) will be able to distribute the new forecasts by April 1, 2014. Jim Corenman and his team have been in contact with NOAA and hopefully all will be ready by April 1, 2014.
The experimental bulletins will be automatically pushed out every 6 hours (230am PDT, 830am PDT, 230pm PDT, and 830pm PDT) just as soon as all the technical elements are in place, Southbound Evening Net has been informed. What this means for the SBEN is that volunteer net controllers will have very fresh WX information to relay every evening, and all other nets will also benefit.
Technical Discussion of NOAA process
For those of you who are technically-minded, here is an overview of the NOAA process (by Jeffrey), between the experimental phase, and formal adoption as an official NOAA product:
“During the period from May 1 to Dec 1 we will be working to adjust our
workflow and deadlines for current products for the forecasters that would
be issuing the Pacific Offshore Waters Forecasts once they would become
official Dec 1. Until that point, the text output will be generated
automatically on the crons that I mentioned and they will not be QC’d on a
routine basis until Dec 1, at which point they will ALWAYS be QC’d prior to
transmission. That being said, please keep in mind that these text
forecasts are being generated off our 10km by 10km gridded database and the
forecasters ARE QC’ing and updating that underlying database every 6
hours. As part of that process, the forecasters constantly examine current
observations, satellite, radar, and evaluate the latest global model runs
(GFS, ECMWF, UKMET, NAM, etc.) to construct and update the gridded
database. We are even in the process of taking those forecaster
value-added winds to run our own local wave model so that the 2 parameters
(winds and waves) are completely coordinated. Partitioned wave data will
fall out of that local wave model giving us a better picture of all wave
groups (wave height, direction and period per wave group) which will one
day soon also be included in the text forecasts. The text formatters
(software) that we use to then generate the text products which you would
receive during the trial period are not 100% perfect. Thus the caveat that
the output will not be always QC’d should be applied until Dec 1.”