Video: South Florida weather to call in sick for

The cold front that contributed to Wednesday’s washout moved through Palm Beach County overnight, leaving the area with 64-degree temperatures this morning, sunny skies and an expected high of 83 today.

While the daytime heating may lead to some clouds this afternoon, National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said the rain chances are too low to mention.

By Friday, the reinforcing north northwest winds will cool things down even more with temperatures struggling to reach 80 degrees and an overnight low that could hit 60 degrees on the coast and 50s inland.

“This might be the last time we see readings that cool for a while,” Miami meteorologists note in their morning forecast discussion.

Less than 48 hours ago, West Palm Beach hit a whopping 93 degrees – a temperature not seen since August.

Normal high temperatures for this time of year are 84 degrees with lows closer to 70 degrees.

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The pressure changes behind the cold front means winds will be sustained at up to 28 mph over coastal waters with seas near 7 feet. Forecasters have issued a small-craft advisory, which is in effect until noon.

Rip current risks are low today off Palm Beach County with the northwest winds.

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Preliminary rainfall totals from Wednesday, courtesy National Weather Service

The meteorologists at the NWS Miami office worked hard yesterday to keep up with the weather, which dumped nearly five inches of rain in parts of Miami-Dade County.

Part of the reason for our cool temperatures is a big dip in the jet stream, which is sending polar air into Minnesota, Michigan, and even some mid-Atlantic areas. Washington, D.C. is forecast to reach a high of 59 degrees today. That will leap to 70 Saturday as the jet stream starts to inch back to the north.

NWS meteorologist Kevin Scharfenberg has a tip this morning for the upcoming days.

“We are going to have a nice stretch of weather through the weekend so enjoy it!”

One thing to remember, there is a fire watch in effect through Saturday. Even though it rained heavily Wednesday, the saturation level of the ground is also considered. Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are in a moderate fire risk. Broward County hsa a high risk for fire, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Water vapor imagery shows cold front moving off the coast and drier air moving in.
Water vapor imagery shows cold front moving off the coast and drier air moving in.

Landmark hurricane project on back burner after decade with no storms

A landmark hurricane research project that improved forecasts by 20 percent in five years is facing more budget cuts as the federal government seeks to “slow the development” of the program after a decade with no major hurricane landfalls.

In its fiscal year 2017 budget request, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said it plans to reduce its investment in the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, which was launched in response to the record storm seasons of 2004 and 2005.

Pensacola—Annette Burton, of Pensacola, feels the winds of Hurricane Ivan, as she visited Wayside Park to see the power of the storm. Staff photo by Greg Lovett
Pensacola—Annette Burton, of Pensacola, feels the winds of Hurricane Ivan, as she visited Wayside Park to see the power of the storm. Staff photo by Greg Lovett

The program was originally given $13 million annually beginning in 2009. That was cut to $4.8 million last year and is expected to be further reduced to $3.8 million as focus turns to a broader array of prediction products that will refine all hazardous weather forecasts, said NOAA spokesman David Miller.

A $2 million reduction has also been requested to forgo future research and development for computing capacity as NOAA “reduces its investment” in the project.

“As noted in our Congressional Justification language, we are proposing to refocus research-to-operations efforts from separate regional and application specific modeling and forecast improvements — such as hurricanes — to an integrated holistic approach,” Miller said. “The benefits gained will affect all forecast products, including hurricanes.”

Before the project, hurricane track forecasts improved on average only a few percent per year with intensity predictions improving a fraction of a percent.

Since 2010 when research began with the project, or HFIP, track and intensity forecasts improved an average of 5 percent per year.

The National Hurricane Center referred calls about HFIP cuts to the National Weather Service, which falls under NOAA.

But in past interviews with The Palm Beach Post, James Franklin, chief of the center’s hurricane specialists unit, stressed the importance of the project and said cuts would negatively affect improvements.

“You go 30 years and no one wants to spend money on hurricane prediction and then you have all the 2004 and 2005 storms,” Franklin said last year in an interview for a story about forecast changes since Hurricane Katrina. “It would be a shame for the progress we are starting to make to be cut back and slow.”

Read the rest of this exclusive story in The Palm Beach Post. 

PUNTA GORDA - Damage from hurricane Charley in the Windmill mobile home community. Staff photo by Richard Graulich
PUNTA GORDA – Damage from hurricane Charley in the Windmill mobile home community. Staff photo by Richard Graulich

Three hurricane names retired after devastating, record-breaking season

The World Meteorological Organization has retired three hurricane names following a 2015 storm season where records were shattered and lives lost.

The three names are Erika, Joaquin and Patricia.

They will be replaced with Elsa, Julian and Pamela when the lists are reissued in 2021, according to a press release from the National Hurricane Center.

National Transportation Board photo of El Faro on bottom of sea floor.
National Transportation Board photo of El Faro on bottom of sea floor. El Faro sunk in 2015’s Hurricane Joaquin.

The WMO reuses hurricane storm names every six years, but removes names if storms have been particularly costly, deadly or if the future use of the name would be “insensitive.”

Read: How storms get their names.

Hurricane Joaquin, a powerful Category 4 storm that spun up in late September, took the lives of 34 people, including 33 crew members of the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during the storm northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas.

The storm, which intensified at an unexpected rate, also devastated Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador in the central and southeastern Bahamas.

2015's Hurricane Joaquin, Oct. 1.
2015’s Hurricane Joaquin, Oct. 1.

Once forecast to be a Category 1 hurricane with Palm Beach County in its path, Erika fizzled in the Florida Straits.

But it sent torrential rains down on the Caribbean island of Dominica where more than a foot of rain fell. The storm was directly responsible for 30 deaths there, according to the hurricane center. In Haiti, one person died during a mud slide.

Hurricane Patricia, a late October storm, had winds that were measured at 215 mph. The Pacific Ocean hurricane was well beyond the magnitude of a Category 5 storm. It was the strongest, most intense, hurricane on record, beating even 2005’s Hurricane Wilma for intensity.

Six lists of names are used on a rotating basis. 

Hurricane Patricia's winds reached 215 mph, the strongest on record.
Hurricane Patricia’s winds reached 215 mph, the strongest on record.

In just 24 hours, Patricia’s winds had ramped up from a modest Category 1 storm to 207 mph — a “remarkable” intensification no one had predicted, and a nightmare scenario for meteorologists entrusted with saving lives.

Patricia is the 13th name to be removed from the eastern North Pacific list. Erika and Joaquin are the 79th and 80th storm names to be removed from the Atlantic list.

New hurricane forecast calls for busiest season in years

Another unnerving hurricane forecast was released Friday, this one calling for 2016 to be the most active season in years as the global atmosphere adjusts to a fading El Nino.

The prediction from The Weather Company, which until recently owned The Weather Channel, is the third this month to predict a slightly above average storm season.

Friday’s forecast said to expect 14 named storms, eight hurricanes, including three major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher. The forecast also includes Hurricane Alex, which formed in January.

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An average hurricane season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

“Bottom line: The U.S. is due for another hurricane strike sooner rather than later, but it’s impossible to know if that will occur this season,” said a press release….

Florida has not been hit by a hurricane since Wilma in 2005 – a decade-long streak unprecedented in the history of known storms.

Two previous forecasts from Colorado State University and AccuWeather also called for the storm season that runs June 1 through November to have more storms than the 30-year historic norm.

CSU’s forecast, whose lead author is research scientist Phil Klotzbach, called for 13 named storms. AccuWeather’s forecast predicts 14 named storms. Unlike the other forecasts, AccuWeather also said to expect three hurricanes to make landfall.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane forecast is scheduled to be released May 27.

Despite the somewhat foreboding predictions, one Florida International University hurricane expert said forecasts this early in the year can be unreliable.

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Hugh Willoughby, who is a retired 27-year veteran of NOAA’s hurricane division, said April forecasts are made within the “spring predictability barrier.”

“That means no one has a clue as to what is going to happen over the summer,” Willoughby said. “The forecasts become more useful as we get into June, but right now, it’s really murky.”

No one, even those making the forecasts, seems to argue that there is a high level of uncertainty in hurricane predictions this early in the season.

This year, the biggest determining factors in trying to forecast the hurricane season is the waning El Nino, and whether a cold blob of water south of Greenland will drift down to the coast of Africa and cool sea surface temperatures.

Cooler sea surface temperatures can reduce tropical cyclone formation. At the same time, El Nino’s strong westerly wind shear that guarded against hurricanes is not expected to last through summer. La Nina, which creates a more favorable environment for storms, has a 70 percent chance of forming by fall, according to NOAA.

The Weather Company’s forecast stresses that the level of activity of a season doesn’t necessarily correlate with how many damaging storms occur.

In 1992, just six named storms formed, but one of them was the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew.

Compare that to 2010 when 19 storms earned names, but no hurricanes made a U.S. landfall.

Today’s forecast follows ones from Colorado State University and AccuWeather that called for near average or above average seasons.

 

Friday afternoon storms, repeat of last week?

It could be another stormy Friday afternoon this week as a cold front pushes through Florida, hinting of showers and blustery conditions.

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But forecasters at the National Weather Service in Miami aren’t expecting the same deluge of hail that pummeled Palm Beach County during severe thunderstorms that erupted near rush hour last Friday.

This week’s frontal system is weak and won’t bring cooler temperatures South Florida for the weekend.

But it will arrive around the time when daytime heating is at its highest on Friday, leading to air rising into the atmosphere that can clash with the descending different air mass.

Top 5 lightning strike myths and facts that can save your life. 

“A slight chance of thunderstorms,” is what Miami meteorologists are forecasting.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., also has Florida in its concern area for thunderstorms, but has not raised the alert level beyond just keeping an eye on the region over the next couple of days.

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Florida’s panhandle may not get off so easy, with western areas in a marginal risk for severe thunderstorms, including a 5 percent chance of severe weather.

 

Last Friday’s storms had been well forecast with hail and strong winds. Although the National Weather Service said it received no reports of hail damage, trained weather spotters reported golf ball-size hail in areas of Boynton Beach. Hail was also reported in Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

 

 

“We’re gonna kick somebody’s behind” weatherman says

A frustrated Houston meteorologist threatened to “kick somebody’s behind” Monday after hearing social media reports that people were afraid they would lose their jobs if they didn’t brave historic flooding to get to work.

Mike Iscovitz, a Florida State University graduate, has been covering the tragic flooding, which has lead to five deaths and hundreds of rescues.

Forecasters have been repeating the National Weather Service’s public service announcement: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

But Iscovitz said on air that people feared unemployment if they didn’t get to work.

“…we are going to kick somebody’s behind if they fire you because you didn’t head out on a deadly flooded street,” Iscovitz said.

“Call our news desk and we will expose that person on the air and in front of  millions of people and embarrass them,” he said. “I will do that. I’m serious.”

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Search resumes for clues in El Faro mystery

The search for clues into the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro resumes today as National Transportation Safety Board tries again to retrieve the vessel’s data recorder.

El Faro sank near the Bahamas during the Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin in late September early October.

All 33 crew members were killed when the 41-year-old ship went down.

National Transportation Board photo of El Faro on bottom of sea floor.
National Transportation Board photo of El Faro on bottom of sea floor.

The safety board initially halted searches for the data recorder earlier this year after they proved fruitless. But U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., asked that the search be restarted because of the need to understand what happened in the tragedy.

“The ship’s data recorder is just too important,” Nelson said in February.

In negligence lawsuits filed in federal court by families of the crew, maritime experts debate the path from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico chosen by El Faro’s captain and whether he followed early forecasts that proved faulty or purposefully drove head-on into the storm.

Hurricane Joaquin was a notoriously difficult storm to forecast.

“I don’t know what the captain was thinking, but maybe he did put too much faith in the initial ideas of what this storm was going to do and thought it would be long gone by the time he got to where it was,” said Dan Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist and hurricane expert with the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather. “Initially, we thought this thing would move northwest and not bother land at all, but it went southwest.”

Hurricane Joaquin was never expected to reach Category 4 strength
Hurricane Joaquin was never expected to reach Category 4 strength

The second El Faro search beginning today is being conducted with the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The research vessel Atlantis will search the accident site for 10 days carrying an autonomous underwater vehicle to search for the data recorder.

While the El Faro wreckage was found in November, the upper two decks of the ship, including the navigation bridge, were sheared from the ship’s hull. They were found about a half mile away on the ocean floor. The main mast of El Faro and the data recorder were not found.

Joaquin was unusual in that it evolved from a non-tropical, upper-level low-pressure system instead of a tropical wave more common during hurricane season.

That early quirk was key because it is rare for systems with non-tropical features to become major hurricanes. Meteorologists first noted the emerging system Sept. 8 west of the Canary Islands but, according to the NHC report, “forecasters were unable to recognize that tropical cyclone formation was even a possibility until 48 hours before genesis occurred.”

Hurricane Joaquin, Oct. 2 2015
Hurricane Joaquin, Oct. 2 2015

Severe thunderstorm warning cancelled for southeastern Palm Beach County

Update 7:40 p.m. The severe thunderstorm warning for southeastern Palm Beach County has been cancelled by the National Weather Service.

Forecasters in Miami say the worst of today’s storms have moved offshore, but a severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect until 10 p.m.

Update 7 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning for southeastern Palm Beach County is in effect until 7:45 p.m. Golf ball-size hail and 60 mph wind gusts could accompany this storm.

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Update 6:12 p.m.: Hail has been reported from Jupiter to Lake Worth as the storms continue to simmer along the Palm Beach County coast.

An areal flood advisory has been issued for southeastern Palm Beach County with torrential rains hitting Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach.

Hail in Lake Worth. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Thomas Cordy
Hail in Lake Worth. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Thomas Cordy

Update 5:55 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning for southeastern Palm Beach County has been issued and is in effect through 7 p.m.

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Update 5:49 p.m.: A significant weather advisory has been issued for south central Palm Beach County until 6:45 p.m.

NWS forecasters are watching a strong thunderstorm 19 miles southeast of South Bay moving southeast at 20 mph.

Up to nickel-size hail is expected with this storm and has already been spotted in Jupiter.

Update 4:50 p.m.: A significant weather advisory has been issued for northeastern Palm Beach County as a strong thunderstorm is being tracked over Jupiter Island moving southeast at 15 mph.

Update 4:37 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a significant weather advisory for nickel-size hail in northeastern Palm Beach County.

Forecasters are watching a line of strong thunderstorms near the Port of Palm Beach moving east at 10 mph. They are expecting hail, torrential rainfall and possibly funnel clouds.

Areas impacted include West Palm Beach, Wellington, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Riviera Beach, Greenacres and North Palm Beach.

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Update 3:15 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Palm Beach County until 10 p.m.

The watch includes seven counties.

While the radar appears mostly free of storms over Palm Beach County currently, forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center said scattered large hail up to 2 inches in diameter could fall as thunderstorms pop up through this evening.

A thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms and people should be on the lookout for worsening weather conditions.

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Update 3 p.m.: Storm Prediction Center forecasters issued their first localized discussion of today’s storms, saying “there is growing concern that initial severe thunderstorm development could be underway” before 4 p.m.

Palm Beach County is included in a an area where there is the greatest concern for large hail.

But forecasters noted that the coverage of the storms is unclear. Unlike a cold front, that marches through the state in a line, today’s storms are expected to pop up from daytime high temperatures interacting with extremely cold mid-level air. At the same time, a frontal boundary is stalled along Central Florida, which could add to the unsettled atmosphere.

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Update 12:43 p.m. The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded Palm Beach County’s risk for severe weather this afternoon.

The risk level of “slight” is one rung higher than the previous ranking of marginal, and was increased as warm daytime temperatures ramp up to clash with extremely cold temperatures in the upper atmosphere.

The storm risk escalates after 2 p.m. with thunderstorms expected to last through early evening. Lightning, hail, up to 60 mph winds are the biggest concerns. There is also a slight chance of tornadoes.

Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said measurements from this morning’s weather balloon triggered the increase in risk category.

Local weather forecasting offices send up weather balloons three times per day to measure data such as temperature in the mid and upper atmosphere and water content in the air.

“The thing that is really standing out to us today is the possibility for large hail and strong downburst winds,” Garcia said.

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Thunderstorms with whipping wind gusts of 40 mph and the possibility of hail are expected to break out across South Florida today.

Meteorologists at the Storm Prediction Center, which had downgraded storm threats yesterday for the area, have again put Palm Beach County at a marginal level for severe weather.

About 84,000 people in central and southeastern Florida are in the marginal risk level, which is the lowest on a five-tier threat scale.

Miami forecasters with the National Weather Service are also predicting afternoon thunderstorms as the heat-induced sea breeze confronts a boundary that stalled over Central Florida last night.

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Hail was reported last night by NWS trained weather spotters in Polk and Indian River counties as strong, but limited, thunderstorms bubbled up in the early evening.

“Yesterday, Central Florida experienced severe thunderstorms that produced hail reported to be the size of golf balls (or 1.75 inches in diameter) and today’s conditions over a good portion of the state will still be able to support such large hail if this afternoon and evening’s storms become strong enough,” said NWS meteorologist Robert Garcia.

Frigid temperatures in the upper atmosphere of just 10 degrees combined with today’s 80-degree high will help storms form as energy is created by the differences in temperatures with the rising warm air.

“Today’s environment seems supportive of at least some hail in the strongest updrafts over South Florida,” Miami forecasters wrote. “The best chance for robust convection is over Palm Beach County.”

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Small craft advisories have nothing to do with size of boat

A small craft caution issued Sunday morning to warn boaters of seas expected to reach 4 to 6 feet didn’t deter four people who set off from Stuart in a 24-foot Sea Ray. 

Three of them, including a 9-year-old boy, died. 

But what is considered a small craft? Calls to Fort Pierce tackle stores and local charter captains came up with definitions that ranged from 18 feet to more than 60 feet.

A 24-foot Sea Ray boat washes ashore south of the St. Lucie Inlet . Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy Fernandas Jones, 51, his 9-year-old son Jaden and Willis Bell, drown after the boat took on water and sunk. Robert Stewart, who was on the boat and was found alive Monday morning. (WPTV NewsChannel 5)
A 24-foot Sea Ray boat washes ashore south of the St. Lucie Inlet . Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy Fernandas Jones, 51, his 9-year-old son Jaden and Willis Bell, drown after the boat took on water and sunk. (WPTV NewsChannel 5)

In fact, the National Weather Service doesn’t define “small craft” and the terms have nothing to do with the length or width of the boat at all, according to a NWS spokesman.

See full coverage of Stuart boaters here. 

Susan Buchanan said she posed The Palm Beach Post’s question about the definition of a small craft to the NWS marine services team. Here’s what she got back:

“The phrases ‘Small Craft Advisory’ and ‘Small Craft Should Exercise Caution’ are not about the length or width of the vessel. They are in fact not about the vessel at all.  They are decision support notices, additional terms added to a forecast to allow the operator or captain of the vessel to pay closer attention to the information which will follow in order to decide if he or she should proceed, and know in advance what conditions are occurring and expected.”

It’s unknown if Fernandas Jones, the Palm Beach County sheriff’s corrections deputy and lifelong fisherman, checked the marine forecast before leaving at about 8 a.m. from Sandsprit Park in Stuart.

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The beach near where a body was found south of the House of Refuge at 301 SE MacArthur Blvd in Martin County on April 11, 2016. Three people died and one survived after a boating accident Sunday. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

But an hour later, his 24-foot vessel started taking on water in the stern.

“They went fishing at 8 a.m. yesterday morning, got outside to 80 feet of water and the boat swamped immediately,” said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder. “They clung to the boat for a period of time and one by one were not able to stay with the boat and drowned.”

The National Weather Service in Melbourne had issued a caution for small vessels on Sunday, an alert triggered when sustained winds are forecast to be 17 to 23 mph and seas are expected to reach 4 to 6 feet.

The caution is a lower warning level than an advisory, which is issued when winds are forecast to reach speeds of more than 23 mph and seas swell to between 5 and 7 feet.

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Still, David Knight, captain of a 65-foot charter fishing boat in Stuart, cancelled a trip he had scheduled for Sunday after reading the forecast. While his Lady Stuart I, at more than twice the length of the Sea Ray, can handle itself when caution alerts are issued, he doesn’t take it out when east winds are forecast to blow more than 20 mph.

“We don’t like to punish our customers,” Knight said. “With an east wind, it has time to gather energy, and the potential to build pretty big seas.”

Knight said he considers any boat under 64 feet to be small because larger vessels fall under different marine regulations.

The National Weather Service says in an explanation of a “small craft advisory” that “any vessel that may be adversely affected by small craft advisory criteria should be considered a small craft.”

Small boats warned to exercise caution Sunday as seas swelled

South Florida mariners awoke Sunday to an ocean simmering with a peril that cowed more than one experienced captain.

Light morning winds were forecast to veer east, blowing at sustained speeds of up to 23 mph. Seas were pushed to 6 feet and marked by steep troughs and peaky crests. A swift north current sped under it all.

How much that bluster is responsible for the deaths of three people, including a 9-year-old boy and his father, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy, is now part of the investigation into what happened in the deep blue water miles east of the St. Lucie Inlet Sunday.

Reports from a lone survivor found washed ashore south of the inlet on Monday are that the 24-foot black Sea Ray that carried the four on an ill-fated fishing trip sank around 9 a.m. after taking on water near the stern.

“They went fishing at 8 a.m. yesterday morning, got outside to 80 feet of water and the boat swamped immediately,” said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder. “They clung to the boat for a period of time and one by one were not able to stay with the boat and drowned.”

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder holds a press conference at Stuart Beach after three bodies and one survivor were found nearby from a boating accident on April 11, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder holds a press conference at Stuart Beach after three bodies and one survivor were found nearby from a boating accident on April 11, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

The National Weather Service in Melbourne had issued a caution for small vessels on Sunday, an alert triggered when sustained winds are forecast to be 17 to 23 mph and seas are expected to reach 4 to 6 feet.

The caution is a lower warning level than an advisory, which is issued when winds are forecast to reach speeds of more than 23 mph and seas swell to between 5 and 7 feet.

Still, David Knight, captain of a 65-foot charter fishing boat in Stuart, cancelled a trip he had scheduled for Sunday after reading the forecast. While his Lady Stuart I, at more than twice the length of the Sea Ray, can handle itself when caution alerts are issued, he doesn’t take it out when east winds are forecast to blow more than 20 mph.

“We don’t like to punish our customers,” Knight said. “With an east wind, it has time to gather energy, and the potential to build pretty big seas.”

While the worst of the weather was not expected until late morning or early afternoon as warming temperatures bolstered winds, many boaters decided early Sunday not to venture into the Atlantic’s watery wilderness.

Boaters at Sandsprit Park, the public boating ramp where the victims left Sunday morning in their 24-footer, said weather conditions were bad enough to keep them from going out of the inlet.

“The east wind was blowing 20 knots. The waves on the ocean had to be at least 5 feet. I wasn’t going out there,” said Vincent Sabia, who was trailering in his boat Monday.

Like the Jupiter Inlet, taking boats in and out of the St. Lucie is a challenge. Especially on crowded weekends, boaters need to be experienced, said Jonathan Earhart, a captain with Chaos Fishing Adventures in Stuart.

“Even with my 40-footer, those conditions can be tough,” Earhart said.

The National Weather Service doesn’t define what a “small craft” is, saying in an explanation of a “small craft advisory” that “any vessel that may be adversely affected by small craft advisory criteria should be considered a small craft.”

“To me, 64 feet and under is a small craft,” said Knight. “I got up at 5:30 in the morning Sunday, looked at the forecast, went outside, and made my decision not to go out.”

Robert Stewart, the survivor of the boat incident off St. Lucie Inlet, is taken to Martin Memorial Hospital. (Courtesy Martin County Sheriff’s Office)
Robert Stewart, the survivor of the boat incident off St. Lucie Inlet, is taken to Martin Memorial Hospital. (Courtesy Martin County Sheriff’s Office)