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Santa Rosa Beach Weather / 30a Florida Weather

How to understand the weather channels and weather forecasts. 

When renting a pontoon rental boat with 30a Pontoon Rental it's important to understand the weather.  The National Weather service has multiple techniques to determine weather patterns. The employees of the NWS gather data from satellites, Doppler radar, buoys, computer models, and high-speed communication systems. Even with the most sophisticated weather equipment there is no way to accurately predict weather, in particular, along oceans, and major bodies of water like the Gulf of Mexico.


When Most people search for WEATHER in DESTIN or Weather in SANTA ROSA BEACH two different forecasts show up. One is the 7 Day weather forecast. The other is a doppler type radar. When a person searches "7 Day Weather Forecast" you get a graphic like the one below. In this graphic the weather channel puts a variety of images to represent the potential weather of that day. For example a sunshine, cloud, drops of rain, or a lightning bolt. The problem is, a storm in the Destin / Santa Rosa Beach / Panama City Beach area may only be 20 minutes. So putting a lightning bolt over TUESDAY is accurate because it may happen at some point throughout the day, but doesn't remotely represent the weather for the day. In most cases, 75% of our day is sunny and clear even when a storm is on the forecast.


weather forecast santa rosa beach.jpg



Let me explain this way. In Indiana when you see 75% chance of rain like above above it's likely to rain most of the day or even 75% of the day. However, when you see 75% of chance of rain in Destin or Santa Rosa Beach, there may be a 75% chance that there is storm throughout the day. However, that storm may only last 15 minutes and be gone.


DAILY SMALL STORMS- Coastal areas are notorious for daily small storms. We may have a very heavy storm at 1:15 in the afternoon, but it may be totally over by 1:45.

This is one reason we don't cancel pontoon boat rentals.   The storms are so quick to come and go, you can typically move the pontoon rental boat away and avoid the storms. 

REGIONAL- Again, when you type in "Santa Rosa Beach Weather" or "Destin Weather" you will see either a weather forecast or a 7 day outlook like above. However, that map or that forecast represents a REGIONAL area. A regional area may be 45 miles from location you are searching. For example; if you type in "Santa Rosa Beach Weather" that forecast may include DESTIN to the west, Panama City to the East, Freeport to the North, etc. So, if the weather says 75% chance of precipitation, it's possible all of that precipitation lands north of us in FREEPORT and Santa Rosa Beach has 100% sunshine. Actually, on the coast, the wind often blows the storms inland or out to sea, and the first few miles of the coast get nothing. So, the lightning bolt, cloud, or rain you see on the forecast may not even impact you if you are within a couple miles from the gulf of Mexico. if you've ever flown over the coastline on the Gulf of Mexico you can see this clearly. The gulf of Mexico may be clear and the first few miles may be clear, but you'll notice 5 miles inland it may be raining.



santa rosa beach weather radar.jpg

THE ACTUAL WEATHER RADAR- The best way to find out what's going to happen is the actual weather radar (like above), not the 7 day outlook. If you type in SANTA ROSA BEACH WEATHER RADAR or DESTIN WEATHER RADAR and go to THE WEATHER CHANNEL you will see a map like this on your phone or on your computer. WHY is this the best way to determine the weather for your area? When you look at the radar, you can see the actual storm patterns, wind directions, wind speeds, etc. The colors for a radar are the following


The colors are typically a spectrum.

GREEN-The greens indicate light or moderate rainfall. The darker green, the heavier the rainfall. The lighter the green may just mean overcast

YELLOW OR ORANGE- Indicate heavier rainfall and possible light storms

RED- Heavy storms, possible lightning, and possible heavy wind.

TIME- If you look at the bottom of your screen, you can scroll through times of the day to determine the direction of the storm and when it will arrive or leave.


WIND- Pay attention to wind. Wind is a critical factor in determining storms. Let me give you an example; You may see a heavy storm heading our way from the West. However, if you see the wind is blowing North and from the west it's likely the storm may blow over and not hit us at all. 

UNDERSTANDING WINDS- You would think 10 mph winds coming out of the North are the same as 10 mph winds coming out of the South.   When you are on a pontoon rental boat, wind direction makes a huge difference.   Let me explain.   The Choctowatchee bay is around 30 miles east to west, but only about 3-4 miles North to South.  When winds come out of the South, the land blocks the wind from making an impact on the current.  The current on the south side of the bay can be calm, but as the winds cross to the north, the current gets stronger.  The same is true if winds come out of the west.  Because there is over 30a miles of water to the west of us, Winds coming out of the West can be alarming at times.   The can churn up the water.  So winds out of the West are typically the worst.  A 12 mph west wind is more like a 14-15 mph south wind.  

30a Pontoon Rental will also not put your pontoon rental boat out if winds are constantly above 12 mph or more.

Click this link for weather radar. 


GULF WINDS- Gulf winds are typically stronger than winds on land. What do we mean by that? A gulf wind will blow a storm inland or out to see faster than what you'd expect to see on land. For example; if you are in Tennessee and you see a storm coming, it's likely the storm will last longer than a storm if you are on the Gulf of Mexico. Again, we frequently have storms that last 30-60 minutes.


CONSTANTLY CHANGING- The weather in our area is constantly changing. Storms can come and go quickly. In addition, weather patterns often develop on coastal areas with little or no notice. A storm may not show up on the radar and develop within minutes. In addition, a storm may show up on the radar, and be gone in minutes.


BOAT AND YACHT CHARTERS AND WEATHER- Due to the ever changing nature of a weather forecast, 30a Pontoon Rental and 30a Yacht charters waits until the morning of the rental before determining if a cancellation or delay is necessary. We've seen heavy storms on the radar the day before completely leave our area in less than a few hours. As a result, we wait until 9:00 a.m. to determine if a cancellation or delay is necessary.






  4. DON'T MAKE MAJOR CHANGE IN PLANS UNTIL THE DAY of you event because of the quick change in weather.

If you want more information call 850.220.6400


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