There's an interesting article on gCaptain discussing how the Mariner's 1-2-3 Rule could be updated based on improved forecasting. Not that I have to worry about this too much since our boat is not qualified to be an ocean-going vessel. But it reminded me of the Navy's 3-2-1 Rule I learned years ago from my favorite skipper (then) CAPT "Wild Bill" Evans.
No, I didn't serve on an aircraft carrier but we did learn to steam in formation and formation steaming, no matter how impressive it looks, is dangerous business. The math is the same though whether you want to stay 1000 yards away from another ship or a just lighthouse. As most of the wardroom consisted of Mustang Officers (former enlisted) we missed our Naval Academy desk years so "Wild Bill" taught us those things. Then drilled us.
Standing watch as Officer of the Deck was always a thrill for me. "Hours of boredom interspersed with moments of shear insanity" as they say. My favorite watch was the "Balls to Four" or Midnight to 4AM. Not so much that is was a particularly quiet watch, as there was much to do, but, because the Skipper normally slept, I could believe it was "my ship". As far as the crew was concerned, when I had the Deck and Conn, it was.
One night somewhere offshore the Philippines, sneaky bugger that he was, I hear the Skipper's voice from over my left shoulder, "Papi, calculate a course and speed to pass that point by 2000 yards in 3 minutes time." He did things like that. As he settled down into his (oh, so comfortable) Captain's Chair, in less than a minute I had the wrong answer. Then he proceeded to teach me. Storm avoidance was much the same technique. How far away do we have to be from the storm center to avoid greater than 34kt winds and big waves?
Up to that point my naval background was submarines. We didn't worry too much about storms - even hurricanes. When bad weather approached we "grabbed a fix" from the satellite then flooded the ballast tanks to hunker down at a safer depth. At the very worst we might rock a bit at 400 feet but certainly didn't have to do much to avoid bad weather. But those days are long past and watching the weather is a daily evolution now at sea or ashore.
There's a proliferation of websites providing varying degrees of weather prognostication. I have my favorites listed below. I also delve a little deeper into how the forecasts are developed, learning as I go. I'll never be a meteorologist but as a Sailor, I always have my eye on the weather, rain or shine.
Weather Underground Co-Founder Jeff Masters Great blog with lots of followers providing their own advice or observations.
Weather Underground Graphics. Charts, forecasts, tracks etc.
Tropical Tidbits. Levi does some of the best tropical forecasting I've yet seen. Out of Alaska no less!
Ibis Eye. For current storm graphics, this is nice.