“Jordan! Stop shredding things!”

Weather Data For Garmin Inreach and Others

If you are using sailmail or winlink email systems, I do not recommend you use this service. See our other weather page for services that are more compatible with larger text and gribs.

Garmin and other companies have a few text based email devices that are good for retrieving short messages. This service is primarily for InReach users, but it will work from any email device with no access to grib or normal long text messages like email.

This is a FREE service. As such it might break at any time and Garmin might shut down my access since they do not respond to my requests for developer access. It is unknown how long I can keep this service working for Garmin devices. Use at your own risk!

What is this?!

This is a tool for you to send extremely short requests and get extremely short messages of 160 characters each back. It caters to the Garmin Inreach device, but there might be others out there that find it useful.

Here is an example of an InReach device getting a weather response from wx@svsarana.com

InReach device using this weather service

Some inreach devices allow for direct tethering so you can use your phone interface to send email messages. In this case the follow image illustrates what that would look like

Phone Tethered to Garmin Inreach


Basic Features

Send an email to wx@svsarana.com using the basic commands in the message body:

catalog
spot
gfs
oscar
rtofs
ww3
roms
gfdl
lat,lon
                

If your message contains anything that is not a command like "Sent from my iPhone" then it will generate an error. Message bodies must contain just valid commands.

With the inreach system your GPS position is reported and can be used to generate a forecast (however only gfs model will provide data if you are on or close to land). If sending from InReach, you can send a blank message to get the 24 hour forecast using the SPOT model.

Sending lat,lon will provide a 24 hour SPOT forecast for that location. For example 25.3N,155W or you can use any deliminator like [space][comma][colon][pipe] – see “command options” below for more information and as a quick example, the lat,lon option could be expressed as:

12.3N 155W
12.3N,155W
12.3N:155W
12.3N|155W

Command Options

Some keyboards like on the InReach, using a space or comma might be most convenient for separating options. For rtofs, gfs, oscar and spot commands you can follow them with the Lat,Lon and some other options and you can use any of the following characters to separate the options so all the following examples with latitude and longitude values are valid:

General Form: spot:lat,lon|hours|heading,speed|utc=offset|stats
Deliminators: [space][comma][colon][pipe] ==> [ ][,][:][|] 

spot 10N 155W 
spot:10N:155W 
spot:10N 155W,utc=-7 
spot|10N|155W|utc=-7|stats 
spot,10N,155W,utc=-7,stats

HOURS option

In general if hours is not specified it assumes a 24 hour time period and does it’s best to just send a single message back. Sometimes it doesn't all fit in one response, but in general the default 24 hours will try to produce the most compact result. You can set hours to 24 up to 96 in 6 hour increments. Remember that the longer the forecast the more messages required to send the information

HEADING,SPEED option

This ONLY works for the SPOT model, right now. You can request a forecast along a path using the heading as true degrees and the speed in knots. The forecast will then use your time interval specified by HOURS (or if not specified, 24 hours is assumed) and will compute a series f latitude and longitude points and provide a forecast along that line. So if you plan on sailing at 150 degrees at about 5 knots, you would follow this example. Here spaces were used as delimators but you can use [space][colon][comma][pipe] as separators:

spot 12n 150w 150 5 utc=-10
                
NOTE: this option has to be used in pairs and do not mix up the order of HEADING,SPEED

UTC Option

To convert the dates and times to your local zone, use the UTC option to tell the forecasting software what your time zone is. For example Mexico is -7 or -8 depending on daylight savings and your time zone. Hawaii is -10

STATS option

The "stats" provides a statistical average from the forecast, which is good for just getting a long term overview in 24/48/72 hours.
spot,10N,155W,utc=-7,stats  -- produces the following response for wind predictions:

24hrs: max/avg/min 12-17/11.2-15.4/10-14 @ 17.8
48hrs: max/avg/min 12-17/10.2-13.9/8-11 @ 11.4
72hrs: max/avg/min 12-17/9.2-12.6/6-9 @ 7.5

The ranges represent the values found during any given prediction interval.  So for max wind 12-17 this means there were some forecast values that only had max winds to 12 knots, whereas there were some other forecast results that had 17.  For example if a forecast had the following characteristics:

hour 1 - 10-12
hour 2 - 14-17
hour 3 - 15-16
The STATS shows max ranges from 12 - 17 for this time interval.  The @ direction in degrees represents the geometrical average of the wind direction over that time frame.

INREACH SPECIFIC OPTIONS

The Inreach device sends your GPS position of the unit to our severs automatically. If you want to get forecasts for your current location you can exclude the lat,lon options and just send one of the commands like these: [blank message will default to spot model and use current inreach reported lat, lon]

  • spot
  • gfs
  • gfdl
  • oscar
  • rtofs
  • ww3
  • roms
And the location for the forecast will make some assumptions about the length of forecast (24 hours), and use your Inreach device’s location.  Remember many of these models don't work on land or very close to the shore.

Background of Models

catalog -- produces a list of possible text forecasts from NOAA's meteorologists. This only works for Mexico/Central America region and can be 6-7 messages long. This command returns a list of single word commands you can use to get the specific region’s forecast.
spot is a virtual buoy model based on a composite of things. It contains wind (gfs) and sea state (ww3). gfs works on ocean or land and provides temperature, wind, experimental precipitation estimates (see GFS)
gfdl is a climate model with cloud coverage and wind. It’s low resolution and only once a day. oscar is ocean surface currents data in text format (see OSCAR)
rtofs is also ocean surface currents in text format but using a different model from oscar (see RTOFS)
ww3 is an ocean wave model with global coverage and is considered the standard for wave data. (see WW3)
The ww3 response appears like the following:

-----MESSAGE 1-------------------
03/13 23 Pk: 9.1' NNW 13s, S: 7.6' N 13s, WW: 4.9' ESE 7s
03/14 02 Pk: 9' NNW 12s, S: 7.1' N 13s, WW: 5.5' ESE 7s
-----MESSAGE 2-------------------
03/14 05 Pk: 9.1' NNW 12s, S: 6.4' NNW 12s, WW: 6.2' ESE 6s
03/14 08 Pk: 9.2' NNW 12s, S: 6' NNW 12s, WW: 6.9' ESE 7s
-----MESSAGE 3-------------------
03/14 11 Pk: 8.9' NNW 12s, S: 5.6' NNW 12s, WW: 6.9' ESE 7s
03/14 14 Pk: 8.6' NNW 12s, S: 5.2' NNW 12s, WW: 6.9' ESE 7s
-----MESSAGE 4-------------------
03/14 17 Pk: 8.5' NNW 11s, S: 4.9' NNW 12s, WW: 7' ESE 7s
03/14 20 Pk: 8.7' NNW 11s, S: 4.7' NNW 11s, WW: 7.3' ESE 7s

Pk: This is the total peak wave composite of swell + wind waves.  Height in feet, Direction and period
S:  This is the SWELL with height in feet, direction and period
ww: This is the Wind Waves with height in feet, direction and period
                

roms is a Hawaii Ocean Current model with coverage only for state of Hawai’i (see: ROMS)
New models are added from time to time as requested or as I want to use them.

CATALOG Options

Sending the "catalog" command will return the following list of specific catalog codes you can request.  These responses can be long and might take up to 8 messages to get the full text response. Mexico Catalog commands available:

code => description
PMZ001 => 'SYNOPSIS FOR THE E PACIFIC WITHIN 250 NM OF MEXICO',
PMZ009 => 'MEXICO BORDER S TO 29N WITHIN 60 NM OF SHORE',
PMZ011 => 'MEXICO S OF 29N TO PUNTA EUGENIA',
PMZ013 => 'PUNTA EUGENIA TO CABO SAN LAZARO TO 250 NM OFFSHORE',
PMZ015 => 'CABO SAN LAZARO TO CABO SAN LUCAS TO 250 NM OFFSHORE',
PMZ017 => 'NORTHERN GULF OF CALIFORNIA',
PMZ019 => 'CENTRAL GULF OF CALIFORNIA',
PMZ021 => 'SOUTHERN GULF OF CALIFORNIA',
PMZ023 => 'ENTRANCE TO THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA AND CABO CORRIENTES',
PMZ025 => 'MEXICO - MICHOACAN AND GUERRERO TO 250 NM OFFSHORE',
PMZ027 => 'MEXICO - OAXACA AND CHIAPAS INCLUDING TEHUANTEPEC'.

Currently these are the only reports available and they are pulled from http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/experimental/epoffshores/data/WRKOFFPZ7
Sending code "pmz021" in a message would produce a series of messages like this:

-----MESSAGE 1-------------------
PMZ021-120415-
Southern Gulf of California-
806 AM PST Sat Nov 11 2017

.TODAY E winds less than 5 kt, shifting to NW in the
afternoon. Seas 4 to 5 ft in SE to 

-----MESSAGE 2-------------------
S swell. Period 15 seconds. 
.TONIGHT NW to N winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 4 ft. Period
15 seconds. 
SU:NW to N winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 4 ft. Period 18 seconds.
-----MESSAGE 3-------------------
SU:NIGHT NW to N winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 5 ft. Period
17 seconds. 
MO:NW to N winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 5 ft. Period 17 seconds. 
MO:NIGHT NW to N winds 10 to 15 
-----MESSAGE 4-------------------
kt. Seas 4 to 5 ft. Period
16 seconds. 
TU:NW to N winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 4 ft. Period 15 seconds. 
TU:NIGHT NW winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 4 ft. Period 14 seconds.

-----MESSAGE 5-------------------
WE:NW to N winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 3 to 4 ft. Period
17 seconds. 
WE:NIGHT NW winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 3 ft. Period 16 seconds.
                            

The days are abbreviated to cut down on message size (TU:  is Tuesday:, etc.)