Marine Forecast-at-a-Glance


If you obtain your local National Weather Service forecast from the forecast-at-a-glance page, the marine version of the forecast-at-a-glance will be familiar to you. In fact, you may not even notice you moved from a forecast over land to a forecast over the marine area due to their similarities. The marine forecast-at-a-glance is experimental and is not yet available for all locations.

Access to marine point forecasts are available via the maps found at the relevant forecast office. At some offices clicking on the map will link to the zone forecast and then allow further zooming to the point of interest whereas at other offices the first link is directly to a point forecast with the further option to link to the zone forecast which includes that point. We seek your comments on this forecast presentation.

Look for the 'body of water' to determine if this is a marine forecast.How do you tell the difference between the land and marine forecast-at-a-glance pages? The most obvious way to tell you are at a Marine forecast-at-a-glance page is by looking at the top banner. Marine forecast will always have two (2) lines describing the location of the forecast.

The top line will be the distance and direction from a nearby point of reference; just like the land version. However, the marine version, has a second line of text to tell you in which body of water the forecast point is located; Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, or one of the Great Lakes.

In the marine Forecast-at-a-Glance you will be provided with...

  • A quick overview of the expected weather, wind speed and direction, and wave height for the next five days.
  • A detailed, five day marine forecast.
  • Links to the latest weather hazards in the area.
  • Current weather conditions from a nearby buoy or C-Man Station with links to weather history for the buoy/station and other observation sites.
  • A quick glance (click to enlarge) of your local Doppler radar image.
  • A quick glance (click to enlarge) of a satellite image.
  • A link to your local NWS Forecast Office as well as links to other information provided by that office. 
A word of caution: These forecasts are for a single point locations. For your safety, you need to be aware of the weather over the larger area. Forecast information for larger areas are found within the zone forecast and the NDFD graphics. Also, forecast conditions at any particular point may not exceed the criteria of a Small Craft Advisory, Gale, Storm etc. These watches/warnings/advisories are issued for the entire zone in which the point resides and you should act accordingly.

Marine Forecast-at-a-Glance Features

Marine Point Forecast

Point forecastsIn this age of digitized forecasts, you can get a weather forecast from the National Weather Service no farther than 2¾ nm (5 km) of your desired location.

What does this mean for you? Your forecast are now relevant to your location and no longer necessarily across regions that could exceed 2500 nm2.

This is where you can jump to the local National Weather Service office that issued the forecast and the longitude and latitude (in hundredths of degrees) of the point you selected.

Forecast-at-a-Glance

Location of the Forecast-at-a-Glance sectionOne of the first things you will notice will be icons along with a wind and wave forecast for your location of interest. This is intended to provide you a quick glance at the forecast.

Primarily, the icons will be a picture of the expected weather. However, if there is no weather expected (forecast is for fair skies) but the wind/wave forecast is greater than 20 kt/9 ft (32 km/h / 3m). respectively then an image of a breaking wave is displayed.

Also, you will occasionally see some advisory/warning icons below the forecast icon for up to the first five forecast periods. These are included to indicate when hazardous marine weather is imminent, occurring or highly likely over part or all of the forecast area meeting or exceeding local warning criteria.

View description of these icons and the local warning criteria.

Should you see hazardous weather mentioned, check the detailed forecast for complete information below the icon(s).

Hazardous Weather and the Detailed Forecast

Location of the detailed text forecast sectionThe marine point forecast section serves two purposes. First, links are provided for all hazardous weather watches, warnings, advisories, and/or outlooks for your location. This section also provides the full text of the weather forecast for the next five (5) days.

For each forecast period, the expected wind speed and direction is mentioned first then forecast weather conditions followed by the wave forecast.

Depending upon the location of the forecast, the wave forecast may be combined seas or divided into wind wave and swell. If the swell is mentioned, the forecast will include the direction FROM which it is coming and the period between crests.

Learn more about waves.

Current Weather Conditions

Location of the current weather conditions section The latest weather condition from the closest buoy or C-man Station near your selected location is displayed along with the time of observation.

The buoy/station may not be equipped to report all elements listed nor is every element displayed. View the complete observation from this site by selecting the Past Observations link at the bottom lower right of this section.

The Nearby Observations link, at the bottom center of this section, provides you with a table of weather and sea conditions from observations within 50 nm of the displayed observation.

Learn more about these buoys and C-Man Stations from the National Data Buoy Center.

Doppler Radar and Satellite Images

Location of the Doppler radar and satellite image thumbnailsThese thumbnail images give you a quick glance at any weather on your local Doppler radar and an overview of the infrared Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) covering your region. Clicking either thumbnail will show the full image.

Due to the physical properties of radar waves moving though the atmosphere and your distance from the radar site, the Doppler radar image may not accurately depict your weather.

Learn more about how radar waves move though the atmosphere.

Google™ Map Locator

Location of the Doppler radar and satellite image thumbnails This map indicates the grid (red box) for which the weather forecast is valid. Clicking anywhere outside of the red box produces a new weather forecast for that grid.

For additional forecasts, you can move the map using your mouse by left click and hold then dragging the mouse. Zooming into or out of the map can be accomplished using your mouse's scroll wheel. Alternately, you can reposition the map and/or zoom using the navigation arrows in the upper left corner of the map.

Below the map is a link to a "kml" file to display the forecast and forecast area in a GIS program such as Google Earth.

Remember: These forecasts are for a single point locations. For your safety, you need to be aware of the weather over the larger surrounding area.

Graphical Forecasts

These are seamless mosaics of digital forecasts from NWS field offices working in collaboration with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).

The advantage to viewing expected conditions in this format is you can visually see the marine forecast across a much larger area and not at just at the point you selected.

Additional Information

Location of the additional information section These are links to provide additional relevant information. The number of links and information provided vary with each weather forecast office and are adapted to the needs of the local area.

Among the links will be one for the Marine Zone Forecast which are the expected weather conditions within a given area (zone) in which the requested point forecast resides. For more info see U.S. coastal marine zone map.

Here you can find the forecast is various other formats, the Forecast Discussion (the reasoning behind the forecast), and Local Climatology (past weather information for the area).

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