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Old 06-07-2009
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I have lived in the Tampa Bay Area for 34 years.

A long time ago I used to ride a motorcycle and for sport in the summer I rode East until I started to get wet. Then the sport was to turn and try to stay dry. Lots of fun.

Generally in the summer one can watch the storms build in the East and traverse westward. Some days they travel faster than others, but not that much. This is in the "normal" pattern days. We have not had them yet this year, by the way. And in the past 5-10 years the "normal" is not as regular nor as consistent. To this I attribute humans and concrete.

If you don't want to just practice then the i-phone idea or a laptop with a wireless card could keep you with up to date (15 min.) radar.

NWS radar image loop of Composite Reflectivity from Tampa Bay Area, FL

This way you can be sure of bearing and speed at all times.

There is, of course, the chance of a small one "popping up", but if you keep alert you can see this happening.

I used to sail an 18' Westerly Nimrod (trailer sailer) in the upper bay, Ft. Desoto or Tarpon Springs area. Day sails would be going out earlier and as the storms were observed the afternoons would be spent closer to the ramp. On overnights we either got hit or did not.

We did sail less in the summer though because of the heat and lack of wind in the day and the storms in the afternoon.

I don't know where your mooring is. This has a lot to do with it as within the bay area itself there are differences in the patterns. (patterns within patterns??)

You might figure some of them out by just sitting on the boat in the mooring and watching a few "normal" afternoons to see what it looks like.

A long ramble, sorry.
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