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6/12/2017 8:51 am  #1

Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

Anyone else obsessively check the weather forecast starting a full 15 days before their trip starts?

I don't know why I do it because I'll pretty much go regardless (I'll pull out if it's going to be torrential rain for the entire trip or something extreme). But I can't seem to stop myself from checking the forecast every day leading up to a trip.

Anyone else have this affliction?

In a similar vein, anyone know what the wind reports mean? For instance, if it says winds will be 15km/hr, is that normal paddling, white caps on large lakes, wind stayed until it calms down? I have no concept of the scale of km/hr relative to what the paddling will be like (obviously I know it depends on wind direction, I can figure that part out http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


6/12/2017 9:01 am  #2

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

I'm the same. I'm constantly checking 14 days before any trip.
Not sure what the winds mean but checked before my trip on the weekend and it said winds of 27km from the SW yesterday. All I know is that it was crazy windy with whitecaps on the water. When it was in our back it felt like we were in a motor boat and when it was in our face (what felt like the majority of the time) it was like we were not even moving.


6/12/2017 9:16 am  #3

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

  I do start checking to get an idea. But they are never right. 2 weeks ago I'm sitting in the Magnetawan drop off listening to the radio at 7:45am. Again they said might be a chance of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon, sun and cloud for the rest of the day. As it's already raining. lol. And it poured every hour the whole day till 8pm. Up there you have to be ready for and deal with anything.............
Don't even get me going on their winter forecasts...LMFAO, not even close

I'm just gone Fishin!

6/12/2017 9:59 am  #4

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

Wind, as far as waves and paddling, is dependent upon the reach it has across the water.  The longer the reach the larger the affect.  A wind of 2-3 MPH (3-5 Km/Hr) you will feel while standing in an open area and tell direction, can kick up some low swells over a wide open large lake.  Conversely, a 15 to 20 KM/Hr wind will do the same on a small somewhat protected lake (low swells) but would be a bear to solo paddle into.  My personal take on it is that you have to work from some gathered experience to determine what you might encounter.  While you are home/work... try to find out the wind speeds and learn to judge them.  (I fly stunt kites and have to judge the speed and adjust which kite I might use.)  With the wind to my back, if I can feel it, can tell its direction but my hair is stationary its approx 2 mph.  Hair moving 5+ MPH...  That sort of thing, then when you are on trips take note of the days you are struggling or concerned about.  Approximate the wind speed and take notes, so that the wind reports have some meaning to you, and your planned trip.  Like you said the direction, and the reach makes all the difference.  That is IMHO.

Last edited by Doug.Singlemann (6/12/2017 9:59 am)


6/12/2017 10:16 am  #5

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

I used to check the weather obsessively in the weeks, then days leading up to a canoe trip. 

I stopped once I realized the weather will be what the weather will be, regardless of how many times I check it out. It's just best to be prepared for anything (weather wise). I find I stress out a LOT less when I not constantly checking the weather. 


6/12/2017 10:49 am  #6

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

Every day, multiple times a day, but I think this year's Spring trip may have finally cured me of that. After all, the forecast called for two days of torrential rain, followed by two days of snow, with at-or-below freezing highs, and I still went. 

So if I'm going regardless, why am I obsessing over the forecast? 


6/12/2017 11:15 am  #7

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

I always check the weather 7 days before I leave and write it down to take with me.

I also take a small radio that I can always get a weather station close to where I am interior camping and know what the forecast is for the next day, and sometimes the next two days.  If it it close to what I had written down, no problem.  If not I BURN the weather forecast paper I took in with me and just rely on the radio forecasts.

Last edited by boknows (6/12/2017 11:15 am)

Tripping in Algonquin Park is not about seeking shelter from a storm, tripping in Algonquin Park is about dancing in the rain!

6/13/2017 6:01 am  #8

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

The desktop of my work computer is a well curated collection of weather forecast links! Yes I check constantly before a trip, but the funny thing is it never really stops a trip and even though I usually print the last forecast I never actually check that paper. Maybe we will redirect to the Adirondacks from Algonquin or vice-versa, but we still go.

For longer trips or shoulder season trips we bring a weather radio though. Finding out that it's supposed to start raining the next morning on a late November trip, has up early and tent packed before its wet.


6/13/2017 7:35 am  #9

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

Even when I used to obsess over the forecast leading up to a trip - it has never been grounds for cancellation - go anyway and worst case just switch up a couple items in my pack, or add an item if its to be cold.


6/13/2017 8:23 am  #10

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

CanoeClaire wrote:

Anyone else obsessively check the weather forecast starting a full 15 days before their trip starts?



6/13/2017 8:31 am  #11

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

I still do it but it never stops me from going...just helps me to be in the right frame of mind.  "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and deal with what you get" is my mantra.

We have about a 9 hour drive so cancelling and re-scheduling is not an option.  Folks that are 3 or 4 hours away will often cancel or delay a trip because it's easy to do so but that's not an option for us.  I have generally come to expect that the weather forecast is good for up to about 72 hours or 3 days, after that, it's a crap shoot.  I've actually printed the two-week forecast and then re-printed it four or five days later and they don't look very similar so take it with a grain of salt.

As far as wind causing waves and whitecaps, the term for the distance that wind blows over open area is called the "fetch".  Longer fetch over open water leads to larger waves.  Usually a wind of 10 km/hr even over a long fetch will gradually build waves and maybe even the occasional whitecap but you typically need sustained winds of 15 or 20 km/hr or higher over a long fetch to get "good" whitecaps and rollers.

The advice above of "pay attention" is the very best you can do...build a sense of wind speeds just like you do with driving a car, walking or biking; it takes time and effort to consciously be aware of the pace/speed of these activities.  The process of building that knowledge can be broken down as such:

unconsciously incompetent - you aren't aware of what you don't know 
consciously incompetent - you are aware that you don't know (the stage you are in now)
consciously competent - you have to think about being aware or knowing or doing something
unconsciously competent - you are so good at something that it appears to come naturally and you don't even have to think about it any more.


6/13/2017 8:45 am  #12

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

Oh Dear Lord...  I finally don't feel so obsessed and alone.   I tend to start watching extended forecasts about 5 weeks out from any trip!
On my weathernetwork notifications, I have it update me on Canoe Lake and Brent every day, all year around.
Now, I know the forecasts aren't always accurate even 3 days out and that I don't really need, nor sometimes want to know how cold the weather is at Brent in January.  But sometimes, it's just awesome to think about life going on in the park while I'm not there.


6/13/2017 6:31 pm  #13

Re: Aggressive Weather Forecast Checking

I check the weather well in advance not so much to decide whether I should go, but to figure out how to sell the proposed trip to the person/people I'm trying to go with (or keep on board if it's already planned). Just for myself I'd just check the weather shortly before the trip to get an idea of what to expect, though I'd monitor a little farther out if I was planning an early spring or late fall trip and wanted to see how the season was progressing.

Another reason I monitor the weather is that a significant drop in temperature seems to mean bad fishing for a couple of days, and you wouldn't necessarily know that just from experiencing it if it happened just before your arrival. Though the bad fishing period usually coincides with winds from the east so you get a hint.

CanoeClaire, to your question about wind speeds, see this Beaufort Scale table, which has km/h conversions and qualitative descriptions of what it means at sea and on land... though what it means on a lake, of course, depends on the size of the lake and how far downwind of the lee end you are.


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