Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Caribbean Summer - Hurrican Season

This is our first time in the North Atlantic with Crystal Blues, and also our first time to be watching for hurricanes. Here in Tobago we are below the "normal" track of these storms, and at a latitude of 11.19 degrees north we are below the 12 degrees 7 minutes north navigation limit imposed by our insurer for the summer months.

So we can cruise in Trinidad, Tobago and southern Grenada, but the rest of the island chain is off limits from June 1st to November 30th.

Friends and family back in Australia have asked how much warning we would get and how we know if we are in the path of a storm. The answer is shown here - the US Government NOAA National Hurricane Center publishes an excellent information site with data updated every six hours. Weather disturbances and low pressure systems are shown clearly, with detailed analysis and probability of storm formation in the forecast period (5 days).

If we hover our mouse cursor over one of the identified disturbances a complete analysis is provided, as shown at left here.

Of course this is only one of the forecasting tools available to us, which include regular HF radio broadcasts from experienced forecasters. However this is the one we turn to each morning and evening for an update of activity in the region.

Outside of these reports we still download daily GRIB files from the Sailmail "saildocs" server that give us a seven to ten day forecast based on standard weather prediction models. In theory these various services give us the information we need to decide on staying put or moving, if a tropical low does develop.

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