Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What's In A Name

Hopefully the last weather-related post for a while.  Tomorrow is the start of the dreaded "H" season (as superstitious sailors, I guess we don't actually utter the "H" word). It is the when and why I needed to be north of Cape Hatteras.

The reason we left Southport rather quickly was a tropical low that was threatening to become a "named storm" for which I would not be covered if I sustained damage while there after June 1. Of course after we left, the storm rose to the level deserving the name"Bonnie," then pretty much fizzled out after it made landfall and caused a little havoc in South Carolina. This wasn't exactly a surprise.

Latest track of "Post Tropical Depression" Bonnie.
While we wanted to play it safe and abide by our insurance, most indications were that the storm wasn't expected to develop into anything too serious where we were in North Carolina.  The weather guessers on the local news generally just regurgitate what the National Weather Service says and their information is only half the picture at best.  To get a better idea, I look at several sources of weather data.

One that I've started using more is the service Windity (https://www.windyty.com/). When this site was first brought to my attention a while ago, I thought it was kind of cute, but didn't really see how useful it could be.  Since that time I've slowly determined that I can get a much better idea of the overall weather picture. Look at the winds, the waves, and weather. With data from their two different models you can get an idea of how things might play out over a several day period.  Naturally, these are models and reality doesn't always follow the script, but I've found that this site can be quite a helpful tool. Recently I downloaded their Android phone application and found it to be equally useful and well set up for mobile use.

The Windity model when the above forecast claims "Bonnie"
will be here. You can see the low (even without a giant L)
and the wind estimate for my current location.
Clicking on the eye-catching graphic shows you the wind, wave, or weather data and an option to bring up a detailed forecast for that point. Running the slider at the bottom moves you around in time (the Android application controls are slightly different, but all the same data is there). For pilots there are even icons for airports that bring up the latest weather data there (regardless of where the time slider appears to be, the airport data seems to be current) I still have no idea how to pronounce the name of the site...but it is helpful.  If you don't use it, you might want to check it out sometime.

So, as a name, Bonnie looks to be a non-event for us.  Windyty, however you pronounce it, is a weather tool worth keeping in your weather prediction arsenal.


  1. Gotta try the Storm app on iPad. It has tense wind graphics but oh do much more. Love it.

    SV Kintala

    1. Sorry, but after many years in the software industry and mobile devices, I don't use Apple products. But for those reading that do, is this iOS app just called "Storm"? I assume it is a suitable substitution and that is cool since there isn't a Windyty option for iOS.