Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sea Change at the Weather Office

Environment Canada has launched a new Weather Office Web page. If like many local kayaker's you liked to get the ocean buoy reports for up to the minute indications of what was happening in local waters you will not find them in the usual locations. If like me you had those reports bookmarked, your bookmarks will no longer work. Here's 101 lesson on how to navigate the new site.

1. Go to the marine weather web site
2. Click either on Pacific South Coast or Pacific North Coast on the map of Canada to access that region's web page and the area you are interested in.
3. Now, click the region you're interested in on the map to access the forecast. Note that the Pacific Georgia Basin area is very small and could be easily missed. Drag your mouse over the red areas of the map and the names of the areas pop up. After you click on the Pacific Georgia Basin area you are taken to a second more detailed map of the region. For some reason the Haro Strait area that separates Juan da Fuca East Entrance and the Strait of Georgia south of Nanaimo areas does not appear in red. If that's the area you are interested in click it.
4. The observations from the buoys are available by clicking on the "Weather conditions" tab. You'll see it just to the right of the Forecast tab. You'll get all the ocean buoy reports from Campbell River south for both the inside and outside waters. Note that there is now an extended forecast up to 5 days ahead and you can look at the observations for the past 24 hours. This is a quick and easy way to tell if the winds are increasing or dropping. It's also worth while to review the barometric pressure report from those buoys that record it. If you see a continuous drop or a rapid increase you know it's going to blow. If it's steady it'll be smooth sailing eh I mean kayaking.

The lighthouses reports and the Georgia Basin pressure slope forecast are only available on the Pacific region's web site:

When you reach this page ignore the connecting links to the North coast, South Coast and Georgia Basin Buoy reports they do not work (as of July 12th.

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