International Forecaster Weekly


I’m really hopeful that by the time you are reading this, the picture has changed, Irma’s been steered hard right, back into the Atlantic and we dodged this bullet.

Bob Rinear | September 5, 2017

It’s Monday morning. I’m sitting here looking at the spaghetti string models of Hurricane Irma. I have to tell you, I’m not warm and fuzzy with what I see. Yes it’s a week away. However, on this particular day, 4 of the “better” models have Irma hitting Southern Florida and coming right up the center of the state. Only one has it putting in a really hard right turn late in the week and sending it up into the Carolina/Virginia area.

I don’t want to send it to Carolina. I’m not one of those that prays that it spares us, and who cares about the other folks. No, I’m praying that it gets sheared off, turned out to sea and only the fish get bounced around. As I said, I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy about it. From where I stand, someone’s going to catch hell.

For this thing to hard right and escape out the back door and stay in the sea, a LOT has to go right. So, we’re pulling for that outcome. If the steering high backs off a tad, and the “pulling” low sucks on it hard enough, there’s still a shot that this thing hooks wildly and goes into the Atlantic.

I don’t know how many of you out there are weather geeks. I don’t think I’ve ever brought this particular topic up before, but then again, I don’t remember so good any more. Getting old is for the birds. But my point is that when we lived on the Jersey Bayfront, you get a knack for being an amateur weather forecaster. You had to if you spend a significant amount of time in the bays and ocean. We did just that.

As some of you might know, parts of my family have been involved in the seafood industry for many years. Most of it concerning the harvest and cultivation of hard clams. So it goes without saying that if you’re waking up each day to catch the proper tide, and you’re going to be making a 5 mile run by boat to “little bay” for instance, you want a good eye on the weather. There’s not a lot that’s worse than being 5 miles from home, immersed in a warm saline solution (baywater) and the thunderstorm from hell breaks out. You discover quite quickly just how small and insignificant you are.

Between watching the weather for microbursts, thunder storms, gale winds, etc, so that my kid didn’t get killed trying to make a days pay, I had a habit of liking to go well offshore in the hunt for tuna, swordfish and Mako shark. The issue however is that the best “canyons” for catching such creatures is about 100 miles offshore.

As you might imagine, if you’re going to take the 4 hour run out to the middle of nowhere, to set up for an overnight of chunking for tuna, you really really really want a good picture of the weather for the next 24 hours. I’ve been out there, one time in particular in Tom’s Canyon, when a horrific storm popped up out of nowhere. 50+ MPH winds and lightening crackling all around you while you’re in the pitch of night 108 miles out…makes for some very tense times. Seeing an eerie green “glow” around your outriggers and Tee top, will raise the hair on most parts of your body.

So, most of us old baymen tend to be fair to middlin weather forecasters. Some of it is just experience, some of it is knowing where to look. So I want to dedicate today’s commentary to giving you all some pretty good resources to help with your weather decisions.

There’s an outfit called “” that you might be interested in. They give out some good “free” stuff, and then they have a premium area that you pay for. The premium side is often frequented by hedge funds, farm conglomerates, etc, people that have a lot riding on how the weather will impact their crops, etc. But again, they give enough freebies out that you can get a pretty good glimpse of what’s coming your way.

Joe Bastardi is one of their forecasters and Joe’s one of the best. His dad was in weather and he took it up as a teen. Now in his early 60’s he’s about as good as it gets. Does he get them all right? Of course not. But I don’t know of anyone who’s any better. So, visit weatherbell now and then for some good analytics.

If you want to look at the tropics and get a really inclusive view of what’s out there, what’s coming and where it might be going, then a site you should visit is The people running that, pull charts, satellite photo’s, tracks, cones, and official statements from all the agencies and puts it in one place. It’s a great site, and one I use quite often.

Another in your arsenal has to be Here you will find the latest tracking models, and allows you to pick what the models look like in different hour stages. In a way, it’s a scary site. For instance if you go to their home page, then hit “forecast models” you’ll get the list of models. Right now if I click the EFS model, and then advance through the hours starting at say 144 hours out, you see Irma parked over the Dominican Republic. Then at 162 hours it comes ashore at the southern tip of Florida.

Advancing through 174, then 180, 186, 192, and 198 hours out, you see this monster climb right up the center of Florida. With Florida only about 250 miles wide, the entire state, from coast to coast is underneath this behemoth.

I’m really hopeful that by the time you are reading this, the picture has changed, Irma’s been steered hard right, back into the Atlantic and we dodged this bullet. But on Monday morning, this is one model that I truly hope is not even close to coming true.

If you’re in Florida, don’t wait until the weekend to prepare. Get your water flashlights, candles, batteries, toilet paper, now. Sure, if the models adjust and send it away, okay good! But if they don’t you know that by Saturday everything will be gone.