When you go kayaking, whether it be on a lake, river, bayou or bay, knowing what the weather, wind and tide forecasts are important for safety and fun.
We are finding that these forecasts are often wrong, meaning we stay home when we could have gone out and enjoyed God’s creation from our kayak. My suggestion to you is, plan ahead, be safe, have the right equipment-and-the right clothing. Then go for it. You never know what you might have missed by staying home based on info from an inaccurate weather forecast.
The technology available today is wonderful to help plan your kayaking outing. The internet is full of sites for weather forecasts, long range weather forecasts, wind forecasts, tidal charts and fishing forecasts. There are apps for smartphones, and there is NOAA weather radio.
- As a rule of thumb, we don’t like to paddle on open water in winds over 13/14 mph. Keep your eye on wind gust forecasts as well. For creeks, rivers and closed in areas wind speeds are not as crucial.
- Because our time is precious, it only makes sense to learn as much as possible about the wind, waves and weather conditions when planning a kayaking outing. It helps from a safety point and also to know what kind of clothing to bring.
- There are many websites that provide this information and listed below are some that I use regularly. Mainly because I can get forecasts for specific locations. Winds, gusts and temperatures could be very different on the Gulf Coast compared to an inland lake, bayou or river.
- Paddling, kayaking or fishing in one of the Gulf Coast Bays is great. But you have to keep an eye on the tidal changes or you could be dragging that kayak or get caught in a heavy outflow of water leaving the bay and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.
Internet Weather Sources
I use the internet to plan our outings. That way I have a pretty good idea how the weather is going to be for the place and date of our paddling adventure. It’s interesting to see that there can be a great discrepancy between different sources, so compare them all. You will find a source that you believe is reliable.
Weather Underground – http://www.wunderground.com this is a weather site that I like because of the accuracy and 10 day forecasts. You can see hour by hour wind speeds, temperatures, precipitation and barometric pressures. If you click on the day, it expands.
Wind Finder – www.windfinder.com This site gives detailed information on winds, directions, gusts and also includes temperatures. I also found that it provides information on typical wind speeds, gusts and directions for different months of the year based on past weather data records. This information is kind of cool to help make longer range plans.
Predict Wind – www.predictwind.com Another site for wind predictions.
Tide Forecasts (Texas and US) – this site gives detailed harbor, bay and coastal forecasts. This particular link is for the Galveston Bay area but you can search for a location in the US that you need. http://tx.usharbors.com/harbor-guide/christmas-bay/weather
The Weather Wiz – http://theweatherwiz.com – Long range weather forecasting. Choose your state and city. Then your date. They claim to be 88% accurate.
NOAA Weather Radio. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/ You must have a scanner or a radio that can receive NOAA frequencies (which are listed on their website). The forecast along the Gulf Coast of Texas (Galveston) includes information about wave height and frequency, tidal forecasts, winds and gusts, temperatures, barometric pressure, buoy reports and longer range forecasts.
Weather and Wind Apps
I have found the sites that I use give accurate information and have Apps for Android and iPhone. Some reviews have reported that some of the apps are not giving accurate information. So you will have to do a little digging.
Let me know what you use. Happy Paddling!