Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Hey, What's The Weather Goning To Be?"

Where I get my weather updates. O.K. Let me tell you a bit about my weather dependency and how I keep an eye on conditions.

As you may have figured out by reading my profile, I am a year-round commercial lobsterfisherman. Weather has a lot more effect on what I do than just comfort. Where I fish from there is very little sheltered waters. A couple of miles from my harbor and I'm in open ocean. To give you a better idea, I do most of my fishing 2 - 12 miles or so from my harbor. Whether I'm near shore (a mile or less), or offshore (2 - 12 miles out), weather is a constant factor.

There are several variables to what I consider when I check on the weather. Wind is probably the key factor, as it can have a great deal to do with sea conditions. Wave heights and frequency are another major player. Fronts and storms, of course, are the most important things I look for, but are not a daily consideration. However, they are more common elements in the winter.

I rely on forecasts and bouy reports from NOAA. NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. You can learn more about them from the NOAA website. There is lots of information there. Very interesting stuff, from land weather, to marine weather, to climate observations, to the various research they do, as well as severe weather alerts. They even have a link for student and teacher resources.

If you find something at NOAA that you would check on a regular basis, you can do like I have done and place a shortcut to the exact page you'd check, right on your desktop. Whenever you open the link it will take you to that page with the most updated information. For example, I have four different shortcuts for my weather, all through NOAA. Marine forecast, land forecast, and two separate bouys. My marine forecasts and bouy observations are from the National Data Bouy Center.

I get up in the morning, get a cup of coffee, go to the computer and click on the bouy links, and I can find out what the conditions are offshore. It even has the historical data right there so, fro example, I can see what the wind did during the night, allowing me to determine if its getting better or worse.

As most people know weather can change pretty quickly. Being offshore you want to know well ahead of time if conditions are going to worsen, in order to plan accordingly. The marine radios, called vhf's, have presets on them that allow you to get weather updates from NOAA on demand, and they also have severe weather alerts. Many people have said to me that with the technology available today, it must be easy to stay informed of the weather. Well it is easier, but when it comes to weather for me, I still rely on what most traditional fisherman use. Instinct! I always keep an eye on the sky, taking note of changes in the clouds, or the feel of the air, or a change in the color of the water on the horizon.

Well, I hope I have given you some insight to my observations of the weather. As a commercial lobsterfisherman there's a tremendous amount of variables as the weather relates to what I do. Probably enough to write a book about. Maybe I will post more in the future about the conditions and there effects on a fisherman's day at sea. I hope you find something from this post helpful.

I will leave you with a downeast reply to a tourist that complains about the weather...
"If you don't like this weather, wait a few minutes!"


Brandi said...

Interesting information. We do not fish on a daily basis as you do, but we do need a type of weather forecast we can rely on. Thanks for the links to the NOAA. This might help us out a bit.

Being out on a lake in a huge wind storm is bad. I can only imagine what it would be like in the ocean (I really don't like being in the ocean anyway).

Anonymous said...

I checked out our recipe box and i tried that lobster salad recipe and it was the best thing that i have ever had.

I also tried lobster casserole and it was very good.



One day, Jacque and Pierre went moose hunting in the north Maine woods. After a large breakfast and several hours of hunting, Pierre developed a problem. Miles from camp and the trusty outhouse, he told Jacque his dilemma.
Jacque calmly told Pierre, "Just go over there behind those bushes, and do your 'business".
"But Jacque, I have no paper to wipe with!", said Pierre.
Jacque told him, "no problem Pierre, just take a dollar from your pocket and use that."
After some time, Pierre returns, and Jacque exclaims, "Pierre, your hands are covered in sh@# , what happened man?!!!"
"Oh Jaque, I had only four quarters!"