We are in the process of updating parts of our Weather Trainer software and ran across an article we wrote in 2009 that we refer to frequently. And sure enough there are parts that needed updating (which this note addresses), and surprisingly much is probably still new to many mariners. The “workhorses” have changed a bit, but the “secret source” is still more or less secret! It first appeared about sometime in 2009, but without any announcement, as far as we could tell at the time. It is hidden right under our noses—I mean mouse cursors—in the same place online many of us check every day to see what clothes to wear to work. But let’s come back to this jewel in a moment.
Once underway on inland and near coastal waters, the NOAA Weather Radio on VHF is likely to be the main workhorse for inland waters. It gives observations every 3 hours, forecasts every 6 hours, and synopses every 12 hours. The broadcasts are continuous, 24-hr a day. A typical broadcast is about 10 minutes long, which includes some inland and mountain weather. The NWR site has many resources about each of the stations, from which you could piece together a picture like the one below that we made for our Modern Marine Weather, 3rd ed text, which has an extended discussion of this resource.