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ArrowheadPaddler
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09/01/2019 08:12AM
I returned a couple weeks ago from a trip on the Bloodvein River in eastern Manitoba. I had a Garmin inReach device with and used the weather forecast feature on a daily basis. The temperature and wind forecasts were largely accurate, but the precipitation forecasts were terrible. When I clicked on the hourly details for the day/night, the probability of precip fluctuated between 0-10%, even when it poured rain for hours on a couple of occasions. Has anyone experienced similar problems? Maybe the problems were due to location? Have weather forecasts worked well in other areas, like the BWCA?
 
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09/01/2019 09:11AM
I’ve only used mine a few times but always accurate. Maybe there were no stations nearby so you were getting the wrong report? Or the report station was far enough away it affected the precipitation accuracy? 30 miles can occasionally make a big difference in weather.

T
 
jillpine
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09/01/2019 09:42AM
I bought an InReach this summer.

Opposite experience - impressed with the accuracy with respect to precip, wind and temps ("basic" not premium).

n=6: 3 BWCA area (EP's: sawbill, baker, cross bay EP's and associated areas) and 3 NW Wisconsin (Washburn, Bayfield and Polk counties).

Maybe it's location?


 
Jaywalker
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09/01/2019 10:02AM
Do you happen to know he location for the forecast you were receiving, probably a nearby town with a reporting station? Also wonder, and this may be a stretch, if your precipitation may have been influenced by your proximity to Lake Winnipeg?
 
09/01/2019 11:53AM
Sometimes rain be very localized, especially this time of year. Rains here but not on the other side of town, etc.
 
09/01/2019 01:47PM
I don’t think you get a forecast for your actual position. Rather, it’s taken from the nearest station. That could be 1 mile or 30 plus miles. My forecasts have been mostly correct on my inreach.
 
09/01/2019 01:50PM
I do think they are a fairly reliable source, but I can not count the number of times when I have gone through some horrific storms when there was a 0 to 10 % chance of rain . Doesn’t surprise me anymore, that’s why my rain gear is always in the canoe.
 
ArrowheadPaddler
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09/01/2019 08:31PM
Thanks for the responses everyone, sounds like most of you have had positive experiences. I am not sure what location it was drawing the forecasts from. I was updating my position for every weather request, but maybe as some of you mentioned, the forecast was for a specific location that may not have been nearby. I will look into it some more, perhaps will send an email to the company.
 
Marten
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09/01/2019 09:04PM
We just returned from just north of the Bloodvein River in Manitoba. InReach weather was right on for three weeks. We had the same experience using it last year in the same area. Rains can be very localized in that Boreal Region. Often you will see the sun shining on the edge of a passing storm. Next time note what the forecast says about actual rain amounts expected. That can be a good hint on what to expect too.
 
ArrowheadPaddler
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09/02/2019 07:34AM
Marten: "We just returned from just north of the Bloodvein River in Manitoba. InReach weather was right on for three weeks."

Well, I guess that settles the question as to location. Sounds like it was largely just luck of the draw with the bad forecast. Otherwise, the device performed flawlessly. Thanks for the tip on precip amounts Marten, hope you had a good trip.
 
jillpine
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09/02/2019 12:07PM
ArrowheadPaddler: "Thanks for the responses everyone, sounds like most of you have had positive experiences. I am not sure what location it was drawing the forecasts from. I was updating my position for every weather request, but maybe as some of you mentioned, the forecast was for a specific location that may not have been nearby. I will look into it some more, perhaps will send an email to the company."

Other than a really long wait time (like half-hour), the phone support I received was outstanding - resolved the issue immediately (stuck synchronization with iPhone). After solving the issue, the rep then went on to suggest some additional helpful tips and resources for using the device. Maybe that route may help your question.

 
WhiteWolf
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09/02/2019 12:08PM
Interesting topic especially being a weather professional. Here in the states Nation Weather Servive probability of precipitation is based on a grid system, ( I believe between 25sq miles (( urban areas)) and up to 100+ sq miles or more in remote areas of the US. What the probability of precipitation means is that if their is a 50% chance of showers or whatever - that the forecaster expects roughly 50% of the grid system to receive at least measurable amount of (in this case rain) - measurable mean more than a Trace. If roughly 50% of the grid received measurable rainfall the forecast is considered to have been very good. But for that 50% of the grid that saw Trace or nothing are left wondering what happened. So it's more a coverage thing and not so much amounts. The 0-10% chance sounds a little low but maybe the grid system (if used by Inreach ) is so large in the above examples that it was just an unlucky 10% of the grid. Like pop up thunderstorms in FL, but something seems amiss, POP ( Probability of Precipitation ) is probably the one weather forecast element that depends most on human interaction. My .02


 
WhiteWolf
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09/02/2019 12:36PM
From the NWS..

PRECIPITATION PROBABILITY
The probability of precipitation forecast is one of the most least understood elements of the
weather forecast. The probability of precipitation has the following features:
..... The likelihood of occurrence of precipitation is stated as a percentage
..... A measurable amount is defined as 0.01" (one hundredth of an inch) or more
(usually produces enough runoff for puddles to form)
..... The measurement is of liquid precipitation or the water equivalent of frozen
precipitation
..... The probability is for a specified time period (i.e., today, this afternoon, tonight,
Thursday)
..... The probability forecast is for any given point in the forecast area
To summarize, the probability of precipitation is simply a statistical probability of 0.01" inch of
more of precipitation at a given area in the given forecast area in the time period specified. Using
a 40% probability of rain as an example, it does not mean (1) that 40% of the area will be
covered by precipitation at given time in the given forecast area or (2) that you will be seeing
precipitation 40% of the time in the given forecast area for the given forecast time period.
Let's look at an example of what the probability does mean. If a forecast for a given county says
that there is a 40% chance of rain this afternoon, then there is a 40% chance of rain at any point
in the county from noon to 6 p.m. local time.
This point probability of precipitation is predetermined and arrived at by the forecaster by
multiplying two factors:
Forecaster certainty that precipitation will form or move into the area
X
Areal coverage of precipitation that is expected
(and then moving the decimal point two places to the left)
Using this, here are two examples giving the same statistical result:
(1) If the forecaster was 80% certain that rain would develop but only expected to cover 50% of
the forecast area, then the forecast would read "a 40% chance of rain" for any given location.
(2) If the forecaster expected a widespread area of precipitation with 100% coverage to
approach, but he/she was only 40% certain that it would reach the forecast area, this would, as
well, result in a "40% chance of rain" at any given location in the forecast area.
 
TechnoScout
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09/02/2019 06:45PM
WhiteWolf...very nice. Thanks
 
ArrowheadPaddler
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09/02/2019 08:32PM
Thanks WhiteWolf, good info. Jillpine, if I have time, I will contact Garmin for more info on forecast details-good to hear they were responsive.

With rain in the forecast tonight for Duluth, I did a little test this afternoon comparing the National Weather Service and inReach forecasts. The NWS had 100% probability of rain overnight, and the inReach 70% heavy rain. Although they didn't agree precisely, the two forecasts were similar in a general sense. The NWS is calling for about 1" and the inReach about 1.75". Radar now shows a huge blob of precip moving towards Duluth.

Along with others' experiences, this gives me more confidence in the device. Must have been luck of the draw, or lack thereof on our trip. Still had a wonderful trip, beautiful area.
 
TechnoScout
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09/02/2019 08:58PM
When I am out, I am gonna text my son with the inreach and ask him to check the radar and see if rain is heading my way.
 
Marten
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09/03/2019 09:58AM
I know some still are resisting using a device such as an Inreach but my group has really embraced them. We were out for three weeks and life goes on at home so it is great to be reachable (no pun intended.) I have found the InReach weather to be accurate and more so than the Intellacast reports my wife used to send via a text on the satellite phone. This year we used the wind reports to have a nice tailwind to move our camp 4 miles down the lake. We used the InReach to contact our pilot when we changed the pick-up point. The pilot had our info so he could inform us if any fires threatened our route. We again used the wind report to travel to the pick-up point with a stiff tail wind. Cheating, maybe but so much more enjoyable.
 
gravelroad
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09/05/2019 07:44PM
WhiteWolf: "Interesting topic especially being a weather professional. Here in the states Nation Weather Servive probability of precipitation is based on a grid system, ( I believe between 25sq miles (( urban areas)) and up to 100+ sq miles or more in remote areas of the US. What the probability of precipitation means is that if their is a 50% chance of showers or whatever - that the forecaster expects roughly 50% of the grid system to receive at least measurable amount of (in this case rain) - measurable mean more than a Trace. If roughly 50% of the grid received measurable rainfall the forecast is considered to have been very good. But for that 50% of the grid that saw Trace or nothing are left wondering what happened. So it's more a coverage thing and not so much amounts. The 0-10% chance sounds a little low but maybe the grid system (if used by Inreach ) is so large in the above examples that it was just an unlucky 10% of the grid. Like pop up thunderstorms in FL, but something seems amiss, POP ( Probability of Precipitation ) is probably the one weather forecast element that depends most on human interaction. My .02

"


Actually, the probability being expressed is something different:

“The "Probability of Precipitation" (PoP) describes the chance of precipitation occurring at any point you select in the area.
How do forecasters arrive at this value?
Mathematically, PoP is defined as follows:
PoP = C x A where "C" = the confidence that precipitation will occur somewhere in the forecast area, and where "A" = the percent of the area that will receive measureable precipitation, if it occurs at all.
So... in the case of the forecast above, if the forecaster knows precipitation is sure to occur ( confidence is 100% ), he/she is expressing how much of the area will receive measurable rain. ( PoP = "C" x "A" or "1" times ".4" which equals .4 or 40%.)
But, most of the time, the forecaster is expressing a combination of degree of confidence and areal coverage. If the forecaster is only 50% sure that precipitation will occur, and expects that, if it does occur, it will produce measurable rain over about 80 percent of the area, the PoP (chance of rain) is 40%. ( PoP = .5 x .8 which equals .4 or 40%. )
In either event, the correct way to interpret the forecast is: there is a 40 percent chance that rain will occur at any given point in the area.”

Explaining “Probability of Precipitation”
 
WhiteWolf
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09/05/2019 10:43PM
 
WhiteWolf
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09/05/2019 11:07PM
In-Reach weather is provided by Dark Sky . They seem to be quite big with I Phones, and most recently Androids, as a weather app. While doing some research on Dark Sky and how their weather info/forecasts is gathered and made for an In-Reach - (too detailed for here, but it starts out much different than most other apps) I stumbled across this site -- Forecast Advisor-- that will also show you the accuracy of the major weather forecasters, including Accuweather, The Weather Channel, WeatherBug, Weather Underground, CustomWeather, Foreca, and the National Weather Service. ( Dark Sky also)--- kind of cool to play around with though I would really like to see an examination of forecasted snow/rain amounts from 1-3 days out compared to what actually accumulated. I think most of the apps in that regard what fall well below NWS accuracy - but that is just me.



Forecast Advisor
 
andym
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09/06/2019 12:55AM
That Forecast Advisor site is cool. It reminds me of the forecast game we played during atmospheric physics class in college. My proudest accomplishment was leading the league in 5-day rainfall!

The "persistence" forecast is pretty good for San Francisco. It is downright lousy for Ely. Giving credence to the bring your rain gear into the BW no matter what advice.

For both areas, the Weather Channel (which provides the weather for the default iphone app) beats Dark Sky, sometimes by a meaningful margin.
 
mpeebles
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09/07/2019 07:37AM
I used my new InReach this year on two occasions. One was a two week trip into Quetico and one a three week trip into WCPP. On both occasions the weather forecast was accurate. I'm more interested in the wind direction/velocity as it seems to impact my plans more than precipitation. I've have only good things to say about the Garmin InReach Explorer so far. Handy tool in the tool box!

Off topic a little, it's a great communication device and I love the Earthmate app.

Safe travels........
 
ArrowheadPaddler
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09/08/2019 07:42AM
WhiteWolf: ") I stumbled across this site -- Forecast Advisor-- that will also show you the accuracy of the major weather forecasters, including Accuweather, The Weather Channel, WeatherBug, Weather Underground, CustomWeather, Foreca, and the National Weather Service. ( Dark Sky also)--- kind of cool to play around with though I would really like to see an examination of forecasted snow/rain amounts from 1-3 days out compared to what actually accumulated. I think most of the apps in that regard what fall well below NWS accuracy - but that is just me.

Forecast Advisor "


Interesting site, although I wasn't expecting the NWS to be so low on the list. They seem to be the most accurate of weather prediction sites, or maybe that is just my perception.
 
AmarilloJim
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09/09/2019 07:16AM
OT question. Do you have to send messages to an e-mail or can you text a mobile phone?
 
ArrowheadPaddler
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09/09/2019 07:28AM
AmarilloJim: "OT question. Do you have to send messages to an e-mail or can you text a mobile phone?"

You can send messages to either a mobile phone or email address. If desired, you can send and receive the messages from your own phone with the inReach app. It requires a bluetooth connection. I just use the device itself. If you were composing long messages, the smart phone app would be more convenient.

You also can download high resolution maps view on your phone to use with the GPS function on the device. There is a built-in GPS, but the resolution is a little low. For most uses, though it is just fine.
 
AmarilloJim
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09/12/2019 11:37AM
Do you get additional charges for using the weather forecast on this device?
 
mpeebles
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09/12/2019 04:46PM
I think it depends on the plan you sign up for. There are about three different plans and two different weather reports, one is "basic" and one is "premium". I used the "expedition" plan and it included daily basic weather. I think premium weather was $1/per. Garmin Inreach web site has some good info on this.

Safe travels.........
 
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