What Is The National Weather Service Looking For?
Marine Observation Platforms on the Great Lakes continue to expand on a daily basis, not only from the National Weather Service, but many of our Partners as well. However, Lake Erie covers an area of nearly 10,000 square miles with a shoreline of nearly 900 miles. Lake Ontario covers nearly 8,000 square miles with a shoreline nearly 800 miles long. It is obvious that no observation network could completely monitor the conditions over such large areas.
As all mariners know, conditions on these massive inland seas can change in an instant. That is why our marine spotters are such a valuable source for weather information.
If conditions in your area do
not match the latest forecast, it's time to give us a call. That
information will be used to update forecasts if necessary and may even be
relayed on our NOAA Weather Radio as an hourly update from our spotter network.
Reckoning is easiest: eg. I am 6 miles offshore of Dunkirk
Lat/Lon: eg. I am at 42.74 N 79.35 W near Pt. Colborne
If we don't have it covered in the
forecast, call it in.
eg. heavy rain now, forecast only had cloudy conditions.
Fog is a real problem on the lakes, especially when warm air moves over
the cool water. It can be very localized and can occur in between our
observation sites. It should always be reported. Try to use
units of fractions of a mile or yards.
Usually not too critical except for the sailing community. Local
winds on the lakes are very difficult to predict. Therefore, it is
valuable for us to know if lake breezes may have "kicked in" during
hot summer days. However, we cannot cover all of the conditions that occur
This is critical information and if the forecast does not adequately cover
wind conditions, we must know.
Another critical piece of information. Human observations often
overestimate wave height, so if you have a chance, go to the link from the
main page to
learn more about the term "Significant Wave Height".