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Blizzard

Great Lakes/CONUS Surface Chart - FTP by Email

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I have been trying to prep for the Mackinac races this summer, and want to have as many options for weather forecasts as possible. We have an Iridium Go, and a PC running Expedition. GRIB's are great, but I like to see the big picture weather happenings. Does anyone know of an FTP by email server that has North America surface forecasts in low-res images? Better yet, are any of them available as a recurrent subscription?

My favorite are the NDFD WPC charts. I found one option for a current North American Surface Analysis available by FTP, but it seems to be only available now and not in the future. Most of the other options are for Atlantic and Pacific, but not the Midwest.

My favorite NDFD and the PYAA98 Surface Analysis are attached. If anyone knows where I can find more than the 00HR image by email, that would be perfect.

 

94fndfd.gif

 

PYAA98.gif

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First - I entirely agree with your desire to look at the surface analysis and surface forecasts. I always do this on offshore races.., or any offshore trip for that matter. In general, these are made by meteorologists looking at all the models and then using their forecasting experience, and knowledge of individual model biases, to come up with a forecast. it's always useful to see how they differ from any model forecast you might download.

the one caveat is that NWS is changing the way the make some of the analyses and forecasts - i think, for example, that some of the upper atmosphere analyses and forecasts are not made by humans anymore, but come unmodified from model outpout

anyway.., i haven't done much sailing in the great lakes.., and am not that familiar with what human graphical analyses and forecasts are available there

on the ocean.., NWS produces "weatherfax" images for the atlantic, pacific and tropical regions.., plus some others

as you say, many of these are available by the NWS FTP mail

but i think most people are getting them via email from saildocs

there are two ways to get emailed images from saildocs:

1) you can send an email requesting any URL and it will get returned to you as an email attachment. for an image.., you want to find the URL of the image.., not of the web page containing the image

so - for those WPC forecasts .., the link to the thursday 00Z forecast is 

http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/basicwx/98fndfd.gif

and if you send an email to query@saildocs.com with the message: 

send http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/basicwx/98fndfd.gif

you will get that image returned as an attachment. the problem is that those images are big files - some seem to be 50 kb.., and some 200kb. 200kb is to big to get over iridium...

2) saildocs maintains a library of the weatherfax images.., and you can request them by their code.., and they will get returned to you as a compressed image - typically about 20-25kb.., a good size for iridium. note that those WPC forecasts are not weatherfax images, so they won't be in the library, and can only be obtained by using the URL request as above

i guess  your problem is that NWS doesn't make weatherfax images for the great lakes - nevertheless..,  many of the atlantic weatherfax images do cover the great lakes.., and that's what you should use

The atlantic weatherfax images are produced by the NWS Boston office - here is a link to a list of them

http://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/fax/marsh.shtml

click on them and decide which are useful

most of these are in the saildocs library and compressed versions can be obtained directly from saildocs

for example, the 12z surface analysis part 2 40w to 95w - it's available in 3 formats: gif, tif and color - you need to request the tif - PYAA06.tif.., as that's the file in the library

send an email to query@saildocs.com.., nothing in the subject.., with this in the body:

send pyaa06.tif

you will get an email in return with the tiff file attached - it's less than  20kb, and can easily be downloaded by iridium

this is all explained on various documents you can download from saildocs

 

 

 

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PocketGrib is a great app that makes it simple to download gribs to your phone/IPad. I think these days they come from sail docs and sailmail...give it a try! 

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the pacific weatherfax from pt reyes are  here

http://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/fax/ptreyeslatest.shtml

and the tropical weather fax  - from new orleans are here

http://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/fax/gulf.shtml

most of these images are in the saildocs library, and can be obtained directly as compressed images

your file - PYAA98 is not in the library..

but the tropical weatherfax list has a similar 0Z analysis - just with a larger domain.., it's even produced by the same forecaster.., that is in the saildocs library

PYEB86

you can get it from saildocs by sending 

send pyeb86.tif 

to query@saildocs.com

if you need a tiff viewer - i use irfanview - it's free

PYEB86.gif

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3 minutes ago, fufkin said:

PocketGrib is a great app that makes it simple to download gribs to your phone/IPad. I think these days they come from sail docs and sailmail...give it a try! 

he knows how to get gribs...

he's trying to get images - via email - over iridium

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Thanks US...just re read the OP. Cheers!

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Thanks! This is all excellent stuff. I was not aware that I could request the URL for an image from Saildocs. 50kb should be tolerable in email format, and some level of compression is available through the Iridium email client.

Although the Atlantic images include the Great Lakes, the trouble is that they don't show what I should expect in the future. Since our weather typically comes from the west, these images give me a better idea of what has happened than what will happen.

In my experience, the forecast available on the morning of the race is pretty accurate. The pressure systems move pretty close to the forecast, but will typically vary north or south just a bit. If I can see how oncoming pressure systems might effect the overhead pressure system, it will help greatly to determine the accuracy of any GRIB. 

FWIW, there are lots of options available through the NWS FTP by email service, too. Send an email to NWS.FTPMail.OPS@noaa.gov with various commands in the body for an automated response with the requested image or text. The library seems larger than what is available from Saildocs, but there are many dead links, and many of the instruction pages no longer exist.

For anyone interested, you can get open waters or nearshore text forecasts the same way. Details are here: http://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/fax/ftpmail.txt. I imagine these are available through Saildocs as well, but I haven't done enough digging to find them.

 

 

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the problem with ftpmail is the image sizes are big - two or three times as big as the exact same image from the saildocs library. the saildocs images are a bit fuzzy because of compression, but still fine.

I basically never use ftp mail 

do not count on any compression with the iridium software - in fact you shouldn't use the iridium software.., you should get a low bandwidth email account from GMN.., and install their iridium dialing software and email client- it's called xgate

http://www.globalmarinenet.com/product/xgate/

a 50kb file is certainly doable.., but 20 is much better...

i understand what you are saying about some of the images not extending far enough west to be ideal for you - i would really look through the weatherfax images - some of them do go far enough west - some are conus.

on the east coast, i rarely need anything  that isn't in the saildocs library of compressed weatherfax images

 

 

 

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another option is to get the owner to rent a fleet broadband...

then you don't have to worry about it - unless you are the owner!

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I have also found saildoc to be a great source for offshore weather faxes and data.    The file sizes are small and the turn around is quick, I have a Iridium Go and Sailmail is an approved app so the combo of sailmail and saildoc works great for me.   

  

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I will look through the Saildocs library to find something that will work.

I see that there is an Xgate option for internet connection in Expedition. Will this allow Expedition to direct import YB Tracking and C-MAN bouy data through the Iridium?

Fleet Broadband looks pretty sweet, but man, that's pricey!

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17 minutes ago, Blizzard said:

I see that there is an Xgate option for internet connection in Expedition. Will this allow Expedition to direct import YB Tracking and C-MAN bouy data through the Iridium?

i have fiddled with the xgate connection in expedition.., but i haven't gotten it to work yet.  i just use the xgate email and import the gribs.

i was using an iridum Go when i tried

i understand it does work though... and you are correct in thinking that it would be a good way to get the yellowbrick reports and buoy data. getting yellowbrick reports by email, and importing them, is cumbersome

for a big race, renting a fleet broadband is worthwhile - it makes the navigators job much easier - you don't have to worry about any of the stuff we are discussing in this thread.

even with FBB 150, you can just open a browser and get the images..,, and of course, you can use all the direct download features in expedition

i don't know when the new iridium "Next" system will be operational.., but that might be an alternative to FBB at some time...

 

 

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You guys take this shit way too seriously.....

1987 Chi-Mac we lost all instruments east of Milwaukee....won IMS Div 1......

Don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.......

:rolleyes:

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Liberty from Traverse City won their section in the Chicago Race (and the Pre Huron race if I remember correctly) just a couple of years ago with a complete electronics failure before the start.

Definitely some truth there.

But I'm a gear-head and weather nerd. There's no saving me.

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