Useful links to weather forecasts in the Channel Islands UK
Weather forecasts for sea kayaking in Jersey and around the Channel Islands UK.
I am often asked how I select the best kayaking places when organising sea kayaking tours and offshore trips in Jersey and the Channel Islands. Here are some tips and links.
We don’t seem to get as many long periods of stable weather as in the past (well that’s my feeling) and at times the forecasts seem to bounce around from day to day. This rapid change is both good and bad. It makes trip planning tricky, hence the need to sometimes wait until 24 hours -or less- before selecting a venue. However, this rapid change can also mean that a day of bad weather may soon pass producing some good paddling conditions.
I chuckle when standing on a warm Friday evening in the queue at my local supermarket as shoppers load BBQ items onto the checkout. Little do they know the forecasts are giving rain and wind for the weekend. They should be buying soups!
Have we lost touch with the weather?
Today, many people seem to have lost touch with the weather. The only time some people notice the wind is when they dash from the house into the car and then from the car into work. We complain of the cold while standing at the bus stop wearing indoor clothing and footwear. A quick look a the thermometer would be enough to remind us to wrap up well. People write off a day because they see it is raining when they get up. Yet the old saying “Rain before 7, clear by 11” often applies.
Equally worrying people often dress inappropriately for the weather. It may be a warm sunny day in April but just offshore it will be cooler and the sea is still cold.
If we lose our connection with the weather, the outdoors becomes a more worrying place.
Weather changes so if we know what is forecast we are in a better position get out paddling.
The key message is to look at the forecasts to grab the best moments. This can only happen if you make the weather forecast a key part of your pre trip planning and don’t leave the decision to paddle until the day of the trip.
My first step is to use the long range weather forecasts. Modern internet weather sites give me a huge amount of information and it is easier to spot the approach of both good and bad weather. This enables me to identify the best sea kayaking venues around Jersey. At times you can almost hear the thud of a persons jaw dropping as they arrive at a calm bay having thought they were going to experience a maelstrom of rough water. That’s not to say I get it right every time though!
Even a week before I may be checking the long range forecasts to get an idea of how things are looking. I’ve noticed that about two or three before a trip some long range forecasts have a “wobbly moment” and then revert to the pattern previously forecast.
You do get local variations around the coast. I’ve often found better conditions than forecast on les Ecrehous and les Minquiers which may be a result of their land mass once they dry out.
Nearer the time
As the day of the trip approaches I’ll check the local 24 hour forecasts more. When making the final decision I will go with the local Jersey Met forecast as this forecast is produced locally. I doubt if I’d get any prizes if I ignored their forecast on the day. I also use mark one eyeball. Weather can still change rapidly so it is useful to keep an eye on the sky in case things are changing faster than forecast.
Here are a few of my favourite sources of weather information for sea kayaking in the Channel islands.
Long range weather forecasts for Jersey and the Channel Island area
Weather online. I use this site frequently and with a he amount of data (though you may need to search around a bit). Actual data and even a live rain radar feeds which is very handy when drying kit.
XC Weather has an hourly forecast which is also good
Meteo France. Naturally it’s in French. I use this when checking conditions for the offshore trips especially for Chausey and les Minquiers.
Norwegian forecasts in English. This is a very detailed site but the wind speeds are in m/s. Tends to suddenly have pages in Norwegian though! I quite like this site.
Magic Seaweed. Good wave height predictions
Nearer to the day of the kayak trip or tour I switch to these short range forecasts.
Short range forecasts for Jersey Channel Islands UK
I tend to be a bit careful with printed forecasts in the JEP as they can be quite a few hours old once the paper is printed and delivered.
Jersey Met. If you decide to trust the free online forecasts and ignore this site when making the final decisions you are taking a risk. Some suggest Jersey Met is a bit on the high side for wind speeds but remember they forecast the maximum gusts.
I tend to use the inshore coastal forecast around Jersey and even out to les Ecrehous. The Channel island shipping forecast covers a very large area so it is not surprising the information can be different between the northern and southern areas of the forecasts.
Telephone weather forecasts. Land based Tel.0900 6690011
Shipping forecast Tel 0900 6690022
Weather consultancy service with the duty forecaster 0905 8077777 (charged at premium rates).
BBC Radio Jersey has regular coastal weather forecasts at 07.25, 08.25, 17.25 Mon – Fri and 0725, 08.25 Sat and Sun.
Jersey Coastguard Channel 82. Shipping forecasts for the Channel islands area at 0645,0745,0845, local time and at 1245,1845,2245 utc. This has a very wide coverage and can be received on the French coast. I’ve got this on a hand-held VHF while paddling at Ille de Brehat.
Jersey Coastguard website. Coastal and offshore forecasts. A one stop shop for marine information around jersey. This site has live data feeds for wind speed and swell heights.
Weather data and other information when sea kayaking in Jersey
Roger Brugge. If it is not here it probably does not exist: