How to read the weather forecast on Windguru?

For many water sports enthusiasts, Windguru is a must-see forecasting site. Kitesurfing is no exception, you have to be in the right place at the right time!

Yes, but you still have to be able to read the different forecast models easily. I must admit that for a novice, all these numbers and beautiful colours give an impression of incomprehensible numerical gibberish, but with a little practice Windguru will certainly become one of your favourite sites to anticipate your next kitesurfing sessions. 
Being present on the right kite spot at the right time is the basis! 

Let’s see together how to understand and interpret the data on windguru :

Logo Windguru

How to search for a kitesurfing spot in Windguru?

You want to know what the wind and weather forecast will be like on your favourite spot in the next few days.

The quickest way is to do a direct search in google by entering Windguru + the name of your spot. 
So when we want to know what the weather will be like in Tarifa, we usually search in google: Windguru los Lances or Windguru Valdevaqueros

It is also possible to search for different spots directly from the windguru website at the top left of the homepage on windguru website next to the logo.

Weather Models and Meshes on Windguru

No relation with the horizontal and vertical grid aspect when reading windguru. 
The models and meshes used on windguru correspond to the different tables that you can find when scrolling on the website or the application, you can notice notable differences on the forecasts for the same date, so how to see clearly and what are these different models used for ?

The Weather models :

The first points to distinguish on Windguru are the weather forecast models used. They are broken down into horizontal tables and each has a forecast target defined based on data, accuracy and time scale.

Reliability of weather models

A model is never more than a computer simulation. It simulates the behavior of the atmosphere and each model incorporates a large number of parameters and variables into its calculations. These are supercomputers that try to predict the meteorological future. Their reliability is not absolute, sometimes some “crash” as they say.

The ideal, as we will see, is to compare them to produce a reliability index closest to reality.

In Tarifa, when we take the spots of Los Lances or Valdevaqueros, we have on Windguru, no less than 9 forecast models. There are 5 for the general weather forecast (which we are particularly interested in for the wind) and 4 for the swell and tide forecasts.

The first WG table is not a model, but a weighted average of all the models listed on Windguru. Very practical to have a clear vision of the trends to come in the next few days, but not very fine in resolution.

General weather models.

GSF 13 km (Global Forecast System) 4WRF 3 km et 9 km (Weather Research and Forecasting)

ZEPHR-HD 4 km et 9 km (Modèle Zephyr) Spain – Portugal

ICON 7 km (Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic) Europe

HIRLAM 7,5 km (High Resolution Limited Area Model) Europe

Models for swell and waves.

GFS-WAVE 16 km

GWAM 27 km

EWAM 5 km

GDWPS 25 km

The Meshes (or Resolution)

Precision Vs duration? Is it to consume right away or for the days to come?

Each forecast model is marked by a resolution indicator expressed in km.

Basically, the mathematical model uses a ground cutting grid. The larger the surface, the more the calculator will be able to give a prediction over a long time, however it will be less precise than a model made on a smaller surface (higher resolution) but which will only offer a short prediction time.

For example, the 9 km WRF which gives a surface resolution of a 9 km square will have a large available forecast time (more than 3 days) but it will be less accurate than a more accurate resolution model like the WRF 3km which will only give it a forecast duration of 48 hours at most.

The key on windguru is to compare !

In summary, the larger the resolution the pattern observed, the more it can be interpreted as a trend. This is perfect when planning your trip to Tarifa and looking at the forecast a few days in advance. Conversely, the more we look at a high-resolution model, the more reliable the data will be, but over a shorter period of time.

If you’re there, I recommend looking primarily at Windguru models with resolutions below 7km to predict upcoming sessions for the same day or next day.

A model is never infallible, it is only the result of a big calculation that determines a forecast. The ideal is to always compare the different models with similar resolution. For example WRF 3km Vs Zephr-Hd-4Km.

This then makes it possible to determine the reliability of the forecasts, a kind of confidence index.

Model data on Windguru

Each table contains a set of data and is read in the vertical axis for the days and the hour and on the horizontal axis for the forecast data.

Wind Speed (in Knots):

This is the average wind forecast over a 10 minute sample. Basically, the wind is expressed in knots (1 knot = 1.852 km/h), it is possible to display other speed units by clicking on the “wind speed” line. The color gives a more intuitive speed indication. The more it pulls towards warm colors (Red, Purple,..) the stronger the wind will be.

The Gusts:

They are an indication of the difference between the constant average wind and an instantaneous maximum speed. In general, in Tarifa there is a greater difference when the wind comes from the East (Levante) while the Poniente is often ultra-regular.

The Wind direction:

Symbolized by direction arrows of the wind rose type (South is at the bottom) They allow you to define the direction of the wind on the spot, Side / side-On / side-Off / On / Off.

Temperatures:

Expressed in degrees celsius, evaluated at 2m from the ground.

Cloud Cover (High/Medium/Low):

Expressed in % it gives an indication of the amount of clouds present at different altitude levels.

Rainfall and Precipitation :

Represents a quantity of rain in mm/m² over a time scale of 3 hours.

With these few data, you are now able to read the wind forecast on windugu.

Note: Do not hesitate to consult the page of the best kitesurfing spots in Tarifa according to the direction of the wind.

Some models incorporate other additional data such as wave directions and periods as well as tides which can be very useful if you are a wave chaser.

Real time monitor on Windguru Tarifa

balise Campo Windguru

In Tarifa, as well as on many other kitesurf spots, there is a weather beacon which indicates the wind in real time, it is no longer a forecast but a real time display of the wind.

It is located at the football campo on the outskirts of the town. To access it, go to the top left of the Windguru Los Lances table. By clicking on the data of the campo de football beacon, you will access the graphic display of the wind and gusts in real time.
This tool is very useful to know what is happening on the spot at any given time. 
A second beacon is installed at the Spin-Out for Valdevaqueros. 

This connection to real time beacons is not exclusive to Tarifa but exists for many other spots, thanks to a service of purchase/rental of weather beacons to be installed on the spots. 

Other weather forecast websites for kitesurfing?

Of course, even though Windguru is probably one of the best weather forecasting sites for both kitesurfers and windsurfers, there are other weather forecasting sites that are also very interesting.

Windfinder

Also very well known among fishermen, paragliders, kitesurfers and surfers, Windfinder.com is a weather forecasting site that offers only two model view systems. Probably with the aim of making it easier to use. 

Windfinder Forecast :

The forecast block of Windfinder or forecast only shows the base of the GFS model with a resolution of 13Km, so it is impossible to access the other weather models we are used to on Windguru. 

Windfinder Superforecast :

This is the advantage of Windfinder, the superforecast seems to be a condensation of fine mesh models (7 km) but, we don’t know exactly on which models Windfinder bases its forecasts. 

Windy

Windy.com offers an interesting interactive map which includes forecasts from several weather models such as : 
ECMWF – GFS – ICON – NEMS

One of its main advantages is that it also offers rain radar integration and satellite data integration for cloud formations and hurricane tracking. 

Windy is a complete, interactive and easy to use site, its main drawback is that on the mobile application only the GFS27 model is available in a free version, a pro formula is proposed for a subscription fee of 59€/year.

Thus, Windguru, Windfinder and Windy seem to form the top 3 of the best weather forecasting sites and applications, there are of course other weather forecasting sites which have other advantages and disadvantages, they have not been mentioned much in particular: Ventusky; Weather-Forecast; AlloSurf and many others that are still to be discovered and explored. 

See you on the water 

Mat

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