Wind Forecasting - Craig care to share your knowledge?

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Wind Forecasting - Craig care to share your knowledge?

Postby Kenny » Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:07 pm


I am curious which sites you check each day and what indicators you are looking for. I would like to gain a better understanding. This would especially help during the winter months.

I read your posts every day, even when I cannot ride. I find that it is also helpful for everyone to post on the wind log. It gives me a better idea of what is going on.

Once again, I really appreciate this great service that you provide.

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Re: Wind Forecasting - Craig care to share your knowledge?

Postby Craig Goudie » Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:54 am

Hi Kenny,

Briefly, I check for any fronts or short waves which are going to pass by or near sailable
areas. You can check those out with The Weather Channel on-line, NOAA and the Weather Underground.
Fronts coming from the West tend to pump wind up DC and enhance the thermal a little
earlier and a little stronger. Once passed, a West to East moving front then provides good
potential for North at UL. Fronts coming from the North tend to enhance West wind
at Sulfur just after the front passes, and they also seem to indicate an AM Grantsville Sesh.
Occluded fronts tend to pretty much kill any wind associated with them.

I also check the Weather Channel on TV every morning to see what the prevailing wind is likely
to be during the day.

I check the Jet Stream, but it's mostly a good indicater during the Spring and Fall, as that's when
it typically is over us, and coupled to the ground.

I check where the high and low pressure systems are (weather channel on-line).

I check the wind gradient (isobars) using both the Mesonet, and Iwindsurf. Iwindsurf has
a particularly good predicitive pressure gradient chart for every hour clear out to about 48 hours.

I check the NOAA, and Mesonet forecasts for the area I'm interested in.

I use a fair amount of experiential information since I've been sailing here for so long.

For example. What and when will DC blow.

Watch the Weather Channel 10 day forecast for days when the temp bumps up 5 or more
degrees between 1 day and the next. This is an indicator that a low pressure is approaching
and maybe a cold front. Air circulation around the low pressure is counterclockwise in our
hemisphere, so an approaching low slurps up warm air from the South and bumps up the
temp from 1 day to the next.

As that day approaches, look for a big temp variation between the night before, and the day of.
If you've got 30 degrees or better, you've got good potential for a thermal.

Is the Jet lined up South to North (better yet SW to NE) over Utah? This will enhance the thermal.

Is there a cold front the day of, this will bring the wind up earlier and stronger.

Does the front pass quickly and when? Stalled fronts can pumnp 6.5 wind up to DC for days.
A fast passing front will have great wind just before, and the become very gusty/holey afterward.

High pressure over Colorado tends to kill DC wind (so does high pressure, or a thermal inversion in or
near the SL valley) even with an approaching front. So do t-heads and clouds (unless they get wedged
in just the right place).

The time of year makes a big difference also. Spring winds come up earlier at DC
Fall winds come up later.

Finally, I check the Sundance indicator. If its 15 MPH or better (average not peak) by 8 or 9 AM (and there
are no clouds in the area) it's likely to be a pretty good day at DC.

That's just DC.

One of my favorite sites is the Mesonet surface site ... site=C0974

This gives you wind indicators all over Northern Utah. If you set it to 75 Mile radius, you can
see the Bluffdale indicator (precursor to UL North wind, The Sundance indicator (precursor to DC
wind), The Penny's, Toole, and Lake Point indicators (precursor to Rush wind). Most of the Mesonet
sites also give a wind direction and amplitude graph. You can use these to see if
wind is trending up/down, or is just erratic.

I have specifics I follow for UL, Rush, Gville, Sulfur, Pineview, Mona, Mohave, and to a lesser
extent Jordanelle, and Yuba.

As I've said before, I don't really understand the Winter weather makers as well,
Marty seems to understand that better than anybody I know.

That's probably enough for today.

Craig Goudie
Sailing the high desert lakes of Utah on my:
150 Sumo, 8'6"RRD TT, 8'2"Cross M
with Sailworks/Naish Sails

Sailing the Gorge on my:
8'4" Open Ocean, 7'9" Open Ocean Slasher, 8'0"Hitech
with Northwave Sails
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Re: Wind Forecasting - Craig care to share your knowledge?

Postby Kenny » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:01 pm


Thank you for taking the time to not only share the information that you review, but more importantly the knowledge that you have gleaned from your experience. I appreciate your insights into forecasting DC wind. You have given me a better understanding of how you are able to forecast not only if it will blow, but also the time and how long it will blow.

I am learning more about the winter wind. The winter of 07/08 was excellent because we had so many storms pass through. The storms brought much needed snow and plenty of wind to boot. It was easy to predict the wind under that scenario (south winds ahead of the front, north just behind it). It is more difficult to predict the wind when the storms are farther apart. The jet stream plays more of a factor during the winter months because the best riding locations are up high and are thus impacted.

Once again, I appreciate the eduation.

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Re: Wind Forecasting - Craig care to share your knowledge?

Postby KyrkWright » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:44 am


Thank you for taking the time to post some of your strategies. I am only a one year old to the wind riding addiction and before now never liked it when the wind blew because it made my bike rides less pleasant. Now I so interested in the wind that I want to be able to predict it a little better. On the non-wind days I can go out for a stroll on my little bicycle, and on the wind days eat up the power with the kite. Thanks for sharing these tips.

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Re: Wind Forecasting - Craig care to share your knowledge?

Postby RickHeninger » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:38 pm

Awesome Craig! I moved the topic to this forum also... Valuble info. Teach a man to fish AND give him a fish!

Much appreciated!
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