After a relaxing week of vacation in the Out Islands of the Bahamas, it’s now time to head home. The good news is your Cirrus SR22 is a capable machine, and you should be landing in Ft. Pierce to clear customs about an hour and a half after takeoff. The bad news is your secluded beachfront villa is totally disconnected from the outside world. While that was ideal for getting away from the stresses of work, it means your cell phone doesn’t work and the landline isn’t very reliable. You did manage to get a fax with the raw briefing text, though, so you’ll have to make the call based on that and your eyes.
Your proposed departure time is 1330Z on the 2nd of May. You’ll be taking off from a private strip but landing at North Eleuthera Airport (MYEH) to clear customs on the way out of the Bahamas. From there, your intended arrival airport in the US is Ft. Pierce (KPFR).
Read the briefing below, then tell us if you’re flying or staying another night at the beach.
"AIRMETS - Miami Forecast Center" Updated 1245 UTC 02 May - 13 MIAT WA 020845 AIRMET TANGO UPDT 1 FOR TURB VALID UNTIL 021500 . AIRMET TURB...SC GA AND CSTL WTRS FROM LGC TO CHS TO 20SSE SAV TO CRG TO 30WNW TLH TO LGC MOD TURB BLW 080. CONDS ENDG 12-15Z. .... MIAS WA 020845 AIRMET SIERRA UPDT 1 FOR IFR AND MTN OBSCN VALID UNTIL 021500 . AIRMET IFR...NC SC GA FL AND CSTL WTRS FROM 20ENE HMV TO 20NE ECG TO 70SSE ECG TO 40S SAV TO 30W TRV TO 30S RSW TO 20W CTY TO 100SSE SJI TO 40W CEW TO 50SW PZD TO GQO TO 20ENE HMV CIG BLW 010/VIS BLW 3SM PCPN/BR. CONDS CONTG BYD 15Z ENDG 15-18Z. . AIRMET MTN OBSCN...NC SC GA FROM 40SE PSK TO CLT TO ATL TO GQO TO HMV TO 40SE PSK MTNS OBSC BY CLDS/PCPN/BR. CONDS CONTG BYD 15Z THRU 21Z. .... MIAZ WA 020845 AIRMET ZULU UPDT 1 FOR ICE AND FRZLVL VALID UNTIL 021500 . AIRMET ICE...GA FL AND CSTL WTRS FROM LGC TO 30S SAV TO 140ENE OMN TO 130ENE PBI TO 20E TRV TO 20SE PIE TO 70W PIE TO 90SSW TLH TO 60SSW CEW TO 40W CEW TO 50SW PZD TO LGC MOD ICE BTN 120 AND FL240. CONDS CONTG BYD 15Z ENDG 15-18Z. . OTLK VALID 1500-2100Z...ICE GA FL AND CSTL WTRS BOUNDED BY LGC-50ESE MCN-50S SAV-200ENE TRV-170ENE PBI-80SW CTY-80SW TLH-20ENE CEW-40WNW TLH-LGC MOD ICE BTN 120 AND FL240. CONDS DVLPG 15-18Z. CONDS CONTG THRU 21Z. . FRZLVL...RANGING FROM 100-130 ACRS AREA 120 ALG 90WSW PIE-50S CTY-20NNW ORL-30NE TRV-80ESE PBI 120 ALG 40SSE PSK-20WNW GSO-40S SPA-30WNW IRQ-20N ATL-40S GQO ....
"Eastern Region Convective SIGMETs" Updated 1225 UTC 02 May - 13 MKCE WST 021155 CONVECTIVE SIGMET 13E VALID UNTIL 1355Z FL AND CSTL WTRS FROM 70E TRV-40SW TRV DVLPG LINE TS 30 NM WIDE MOV FROM 27010KT. TOPS TO FL450. OUTLOOK VALID 021355-021755 AREA 1... FROM AMG-70SE SAV-200ENE TRV-170E PBI-70E PBI-150SE MIA-80WSW EYW-60WSW PIE-50E SRQ-AMG WST ISSUANCES EXPD. REFER TO MOST RECENT ACUS01 KWNS FROM STORM PREDICTION CENTER FOR SYNOPSIS AND METEOROLOGICAL DETAILS. AREA 2...FROM CEW-80WNW PIE-60WSW PIE-170S CEW-CEW WST ISSUANCES EXPD. REFER TO MOST RECENT ACUS01 KWNS FROM STORM PREDICTION CENTER FOR SYNOPSIS AND METEOROLOGICAL DETAILS.
"6 Hour Wind/Temp Aloft Forecast - Florida" Updated 0505 UTC 02 May - 13 DATA BASED ON 020000Z VALID 020600Z FOR USE 0200-0900Z. TEMPS NEG ABV 24000 FT 3000 6000 9000 12000 18000 24000 30000 34000 39000 EYW 1709 2412+13 2315+08 2220+02 2425-09 2536-20 233236 264745 265755 JAX 0827 1015+10 1308+06 1312-01 1226-11 1620-21 171537 192548 232860 MIA 1615 2215+12 2321+07 2324+01 2730-10 2638-20 244836 244946 263956 MLB 1214 1512+11 2114+06 2216+01 2318-11 2521-21 242336 242247 262258 PFN 1230 1417+10 1510+05 1507+00 1908-12 1620-23 182739 183549 232856 PIE 1414 1914+11 2012+06 2107+01 2214-10 2320-21 232438 202247 232555 TLH 1126 1016+10 1214+05 1116-01 0907-12 1721-23 192538 192749 222358
"Florida PILOT Reports past 3 hours" Updated 1240 UTC 02 May - 13 CTY UA /OV 50SW CTY/TM 1215/FL230/TP B737/IC LT RIME/RM CWSU ZJX = CTY UA /OV 50SW CTY/TM 1215/FL230/TP B737/IC LT RIME/RM CWSU ZJX= FLL UUA /OV FLL /TM 0952 /FLUNKN /TP A320 /RM LLWS +10KT 50 FT AGL DURD 1/2 MI FAP RWY 10L FLL= FMY UA /OV FMY /TM 1203 /FLUNKN /TP M20P /SK OVC003-TOP010= GNV UA /OV GNV /TM 1142 /FLUNKN /TP SF34 /SK OVC005-TOP050 /RM DURC= HST UA /OV ZQA150130 /TM 1157 /FL370 /TP LJ35 /TB LGT-MOD= HST UA /OV ZQA240100 /TM 1140 /FL320 /TP B763 /TB MOD 320-330 /RM OVER URSUS INTXN= ORL UA /OV ORL /TM 1217 /FLUNKN /TP LJ35 /SK BKN006-TOP014 /RM DURD RWY7 /SK HYR LYR ABV=
"Convective Outlook" Updated 0655 UTC 02 May - 13 ACUS01 KWNS 020509 SWODY1 SPC AC 020506 DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK 1206 AM CDT THU MAY 02 2013 VALID 021200Z - 031200Z ...NO SVR TSTM AREAS FORECAST... ...SYNOPSIS/DISCUSSION... AN ATYPICAL PATTERN FOR EARLY MAY WILL ENVELOP THE CONUS AND RENDER MINIMAL SEVERE POTENTIAL TODAY. A COLD UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH WILL REMAIN ANCHORED ACROSS THE GREAT PLAINS. STRONG LOW-LEVEL FLOW WILL STAY COMPLETELY CONFINED TO THE COOL SIDE OF THE ASSOCIATED COLD FRONT...WHICH AT THE SURFACE WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY DIVORCED FROM THE LOCATION OF THE BOUNDARY AT 850 MB. THE NET RESULT WILL BE A COMBINATION OF BOTH WEAK BUOYANCY AND VERTICAL SHEAR ALONG THE SURFACE FRONT WHERE ISOLATED AFTERNOON TSTMS ARE EXPECTED FROM WRN LOWER MI TO AR/LA. PERSISTENT MID-LEVEL LOW CENTERED OVER THE LOWER MS VALLEY WILL GRADUALLY DISSIPATE BY EARLY FRI AS IT SHIFTS SLOWLY EWD ALONG THE GULF COAST. ABUNDANT CONVECTIVE OVERTURNING ON WED ALONG WITH RENEWED TSTM DEVELOPMENT IN OFFSHORE AREAS INTO EARLY THU WILL RESULT IN LARGELY MEAGER BUOYANCY EXCEPT PERHAPS IN PARTS OF SRN FL. BUT PROSPECTS FOR ORGANIZED SEVERE TSTMS APPEAR LOW HERE AS WELL...AS MID-LEVEL WLYS DIMINISH COMPARED TO WED AND VERTICAL SHEAR BECOMES WEAK.
Area Forecast - Miami Forecast Center" Updated 1245 UTC 02 May - 13 MIAZ WA 020845 AIRMET ZULU UPDT 1 FOR ICE AND FRZLVL VALID UNTIL 021500 AIRMET ICE...GA FL AND CSTL WTRS FROM LGC TO 30S SAV TO 140ENE OMN TO 130ENE PBI TO 20E TRV TO 20SE PIE TO 70W PIE TO 90SSW TLH TO 60SSW CEW TO 40W CEW TO 50SW PZD TO LGC MOD ICE BTN 120 AND FL240. CONDS CONTG BYD 15Z ENDG 15-18Z. . OTLK VALID 1500-2100Z...ICE GA FL AND CSTL WTRS BOUNDED BY LGC-50ESE MCN-50S SAV-200ENE TRV-170ENE PBI-80SW CTY-80SW TLH-20ENE CEW-40WNW TLH-LGC MOD ICE BTN 120 AND FL240. CONDS DVLPG 15-18Z. CONDS CONTG THRU 21Z. . FRZLVL...RANGING FROM 100-130 ACRS AREA 120 ALG 90WSW PIE-50S CTY-20NNW ORL-30NE TRV-80ESE PBI 120 ALG 40SSE PSK-20WNW GSO-40S SPA-30WNW IRQ-20N ATL-40S GQO .... MIAS WA 020845 AIRMET SIERRA UPDT 1 FOR IFR AND MTN OBSCN VALID UNTIL 021500 AIRMET IFR...NC SC GA FL AND CSTL WTRS FROM 20ENE HMV TO 20NE ECG TO 70SSE ECG TO 40S SAV TO 30W TRV TO 30S RSW TO 20W CTY TO 100SSE SJI TO 40W CEW TO 50SW PZD TO GQO TO 20ENE HMV CIG BLW 010/VIS BLW 3SM PCPN/BR. CONDS CONTG BYD 15Z ENDG 15-18Z. . AIRMET MTN OBSCN... NC SC GA FROM 40SE PSK TO CLT TO ATL TO GQO TO HMV TO 40SE PSK MTNS OBSC BY CLDS/PCPN/BR. CONDS CONTG BYD 15Z THRU 21Z. .... MIAT WA 020845 AIRMET TANGO UPDT 1 FOR TURB VALID UNTIL 021500 AIRMET TURB...SC GA AND CSTL WTRS FROM LGC TO CHS TO 20SSE SAV TO CRG TO 30WNW TLH TO LGC MOD TURB BLW 080. CONDS ENDG 12-15Z. .... MIAC FA 021036 COR SYNOPSIS AND VFR CLDS/WX SYNOPSIS VALID UNTIL 030300 CLDS/WX VALID UNTIL 022100...OTLK VALID 022100-030300 NC SC GA FL AND CSTL WTRS E OF 85W . SEE AIRMET SIERRA FOR IFR CONDS AND MTN OBSCN. TS IMPLY SEV OR GTR TURB SEV ICE LLWS AND IFR CONDS. NON MSL HGTS DENOTED BY AGL OR CIG. . SYNOPSIS...UPR LVL TROF FAR NE US CSTL WTRS THRU OTLK. HI PRES RIDGE NRN APPALACHIANS THRU PD. OTRW..CLDS UPR LOW S CNTRL DEEP S THRU PD WILL APCH SE DEEP S-NE GULF MEX DURG OTLK. NLY FLOW NE PTN..ANTI CYCLONIC FLOW NW PTN..WSW FLOW S CNTRL PTN..WLY FLOW RMNDR SRN PTN. LOW PRES N CNTRL GULF MEX WILL APCH SW FL DURG OTLK. OTRW.. HI PRES RIDGE NE US-CNTRL APPALACHIANS WILL DMNT RMNDR. . NC MTNS... BKN-OVC015-025 TOPS 060. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. BECMG 1417 BKN-OVC025 TOPS 100. ISOL -SHRA. OTLK...MVFR CIG SHRA. PIEDMONT...BKN-OVC010-020 TOPS 080. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. ISOL -SHRA. BECMG 1719 SCT020 BKN035. ISOL -SHRA. OTLK...VFR. CSTL PLAINS...BKN-OVC010-015 TOPS 070. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. ISOL -SHRA. BECMG 1618 SCT020 SCT-BKN035 TOPS 050. OTLK...VFR. . SC MTNS...BKN-OVC015-020 TOPS 040. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. BECMG 1416 BKN-OVC020-025 TOPS 080. ISOL -SHRA. OTLK...MVFR CIG SHRA. PIEDMONT...OVC010-020 TOPS 035. OCNL VIS 3-5SM -RA BR. BECMG 1719 SCT020 BKN040 TOPS 100. ISOL -SHRA. OTLK...VFR. CSTL PLAINS... BKN010-015 TOPS 030. OCNL VIS 3-5SM -RA BR. BECMG 1619 SCT025 BKN040 TOPS 060. OTLK...VFR. . GA N HLF...BKN-OVC010-020 TOPS 040. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. BECMG 1618 SCT020 BKN035 TOPS 060. ISOL -SHRA. WND E G25KT. OTLK...VFR. S HLF...OVC010-015 TOPS 080. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. WDLY SCT -SHRA/ISOL -TSRA. CB TOP FL280. BECMG 1618 BKN-OVC020-025 OVC040 LYRD FL240. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. WDLY SCT -SHRA/ISOL -TSRA. CB TOP FL300. OTLK...MVFR CIG SHRA BR. . FL...UPDT PNHDL...OVC015-025 LYRD FL240. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. WDLY SCT -SHRA/-TSRA. CB TOP FL340. OTLK...MVFR CIG SHRA TSRA BR. NRN-CNTRL FL PEN...BKN-OVC010-020 OVC040 LYRD FL260. OCNL VIS 3-5SM BR. WDLY SCT -SHRA/ISOL -TSRA. CB TOP FL320. BECMG 1618 BKN-OVC015-025 OVC050. WDLY SCT -SHRA/ISOL -TSRA. CB TOP FL340. WND E G25KT. OTLK...MVFR CIG SHRA TSRA. SRN FL PEN...SCT025 BKN040 LYRD FL250. WDLY SCT -SHRA/-TSRA. CB TOP FL380. BECMG 1618 SCT030 BKN050 TOPS 120 BKN CI. ISOL -SHRA/-TSRA. CB TOP FL380. OTLK...VFR SHRA TSRA. . CSTL WTRS ATLC WTRS... NC WTRS... SCT-BKN025-030 TOPS 040. ISOL -SHRA. BECMG 1517 SCT035 BKN CI. OTLK...VFR. SC-GA WTRS...BKN025 TOPS 050. ISOL -SHRA. WND E G25KT. BECMG 1416 BKN035 TOPS 060. ISOL -SHRA. WND E G25KT. OTLK...VFR WND. FL WTRS...SCT025 BKN-OVC060 LYRD FL270. WDLY SCT -SHRA/-TSRA. CB TOP FL400. OTLK...VFR SHRA TSRA. GULF WTRS E OF 85W... PIE-NWD...BKN015-025 BKN120 LYRD FL260. ISOL -SHRA/-TSRA. CB TOP FL360. BECMG 1416 BKN020 BKN140. ISOL -SHRA/-TSRA. OTLK...MVFR CIG SHRA TSRA. S PIE...SCT025 BKN100-120 LYRD FL240. ISOL -SHRA/-TSRA. CB TOP FL400. OTLK...VFR SHRA TSRA.
METARs and TAFs
KFPR 021241Z 07007KT 1 1/4SM VCTS +RA BR BKN034 BKN044 OVC055 21/20 A2994 RMK AO2 LTG DSNT ALQDS TSE23B41 P0062= (SPECI) KFPR 021224Z 07004KT 1SM +RA BR FEW005 OVC028 21/20 A2994 RMK AO2 LTG DSNT E-SW TSE23 P0047= (SPECI) KFPR 021210Z 05004KT 3/4SM +TSRA BR FEW009 BKN015 OVC030 21/20 A2994 RMK AO2 LTG DSNT E-SW P0025= (SPECI) KFPR 021153Z 00000KT 1SM +TSRA BR FEW009 SCT014 OVC022 21/19 A2994 RMK AO2 LTG DSNT E-SW RAB1055 SLP138 P0018 60084 70153 T02060194 10239 20206 53015= KFPR 021147Z 36005KT 2 1/2SM +TSRA BR SCT009 BKN014 OVC020 21/19 A2994 RMK AO2 LTG DSNT E-SW RAB1055 P0010= (SPECI) KFPR 021142Z AUTO 02003KT 4SM -TSRA BR FEW009 SCT014 OVC020 21/19 A2993 RMK AO2 LTG DSNT E-SW RAB1055 P0006= (SPECI)
TAF KFPR 021132Z 0212/0312 VRB03KT P6SM VCTS BKN015CB OVC040 TEMPO 0212/0214 2SM TSRA BKN010CB OVC020 FM021400 09010KT P6SM VCSH SCT020 BKN100 TEMPO 0214/0218 3SM SHRA BKN020 FM021800 10012KT P6SM -SHRA VCTS SCT020CB BKN035 OVC080 TEMPO 0218/0222 3SM TSRA BKN025CB FM030100 10008KT P6SM BKN035 BKN080=
So are you going or canceling? The weather on the island is pretty good VFR from what you can see, with just a few puffy cumulus clouds. Your Cirrus does have XM Weather on board, which should work not too long after takeoff. One option would be to “go take a look,” but there is the hassle of Customs notification if you can’t make it.
Add your comments below. In a few days, we’ll share the actual radar picture from this flight.
- From the archives: What it takes to fly the President - March 15, 2023
- From the archives: The Airphibian - August 19, 2022
- Go or no go: how much ice is too much? - April 1, 2022
TAFs for ETA @ KPFR look decent.
Convective Sigmet for area worrisome.
I would go to MYEH …get up to date info…stay if not good.
If good clear customs and file to KPFR.
Head out for KPFR but return to MYEH or other Bahamian POE if route blocked by Convective activity.
Having flown in that part of the Bahamas quite a bit, the plan would be pretty straight forward. Fly over to MYEH, checkout the radar, get a full weather briefing and then make a go no-go decision.
If you decide to stay, it’s a five minute taxi ride from MYEH to the harbor and about 10 minute water taxi ride over to Harbour Island. A wonderful pink sand beach, plenty of places to stay and great restaurants on Harbour Island. Not a bad place to get “stuck” for another day or two while the weather moves through FL.
I agree – hop over to MYEH, get a decoded briefing and make the go/no go decision there. Of course the point of this exercise is… can you read the raw text. I can’t – at least not all or enough of it. Then again my math sills without a calculator no longer cuts it either.
Here’s what you would have found at MYEH on the radar: http://bit.ly/10TVXDq
What do you think now?
Well, if I really wanted to get home I don’t think that I would have any problem with the small tomato colored areas.
I assume that you are not witholding significant information about the up-to-date weather at KFPR.
Having enlarged the picture, I now see significant problems at KFPR, and if corroborated by METARs and new TAFs I would problem stay in the Bahamas.
I’d definitely use an evening in Harbour Island as the alternate. What’s another night on a beautiful island with great restaurants and a “Briland” layed back attitude! The weather will be better in the morning.
Seriously, this flight is potentially doable – I’d want to have XM, ADS-B. or radar on board. Also as others have suggested, choosing an airport of entry to the south might also be a good idea.
I fly to MYAT and MYAM and back to FPR many times during the year, so I am familiar with this kind of weather in this area. The flight would be doable, but not enjoyable. Not worth the risk. Making this flight would break my rule: Don’t be anxious in an airplane. Wait another day and it would be an enjoyable flight. And you can look forward to the hamburger at the Tiki Hut after all that conch and fish you have been eating.
Hope that in a few days, you will be kind enough to provide a tutorial on reading the text weather report. Excerpt and “translate” the key lines relevant to this decision. Great study aid for student pilots!
We’ll go over the highlights section-by-section.
AIRMETs – nothing much here that should concern us. The turbulence AIRMET is for an area north of your route (it covers northern Florida and Southern Georgia). The IFR AIRMET is obvious, because your destination is IFR. The Icing AIRMETs are all for higher altitudes (12,000 and above), so they aren’t a concern on this flight.
Convective SIGMETs – there’s a lot here, but not much detail. The only active one (“from 70E TRV-40SW TRV…) is right along your route (TRV is Vero Beach), but it expires shortly after your takeoff. However, the outlook statements basically say more are coming. There are two areas, and area 1 is right on your flight path. Again, though, not much detail–just an advisory to be on the lookout.
Winds Aloft – Winds are generally out of the southwest, but not too strong (MIA/Miami and MLB/Melbourne are the most useful for this flight). Temps are well above 0 at 6000 and 9000 ft, so icing shouldn’t be a concern for you.
Pilot Reports – the only one that’s very close to your route is the one for Fort Lauderdale (FLL), where an Airbus reports windshear of 10 knots on final approach. The FMY and ORL reports might offer some information, basically suggesting that while ceilings are low, the tops are low too (1000 to 1400 ft.).
Convective Outlook – This is a general discussion of the threat for severe thunderstorms–which is slight. There’s rain and storms, but the upper atmosphere doesn’t look like it will support major organized lines.
Area Forecast (this has been split out now so it’s easier to read) – This is probably the most useful, and lacking a radar picture we have to use this to construct some sense of the thunderstorm threat. The first thing to do in an Area Forecast is to find the part that applies to your flight, and ignore the 90% that does not. The first part just rehashes the AIRMETs, so you can skip that. About 1/3rd of the way through you can read the SYNOPSIS, where the forecaster shares the big picture. Towards the end you can see the Florida coastal waters area: FL WTRS…SCT025 BKN-OVC060 LYRD FL270. WDLY SCT -SHRA/-TSRA. CB TOP FL400. OTLK…VFR SHRA TSRA. Basically, there is a scattered lower level of clouds, ceilings around 6000 with numerous layers above all the way to 27,000 ft. On top of that there are widely scattered showers and thunderstorms.
METARs and TAFs – These are pretty ugly at your destination, with heavy rain, mist and low visibility (due to the rain most likely). On the good side, winds are light and the ceilings are pretty high–and forecast to stay that way. Basically, there is a very scattered layer of scud down low, with the real ceiling around 3000 ft. As long as the thunderstorm isn’t over the airport, you should be able to make an instrument approach.
The real decision today is thunderstorms. Destination weather is otherwise OK, there’s no threat of icing, winds aren’t too bad, etc. It’s all about deciphering the thunderstorm threat, which the FBO computer at MYEH could help immensely with.
Being at a remote off-the-grid island airstrip is where having XM Wx (especially on a portable sat Wx receiver and GPS display) comes in real handy. With the satellite transmission one can get extensive and up to date weather info just about anywhere in North America including the Bahamas. Sat Wx includes most of what you need for a good weather briefing (Nexrad, METAR, TAF, lightening, cloud cover, cloud tops, and storm tracks).
(I know some commercial fishermen in the Bahamas and they all carry XM Wx on their vessels)
Spend maybe 10 minutes or so reviewing everything before making your flight plans. I’d want to get my XM Wx download before ever going wheels up for MYEH or any other destination, whether Bahamas or direct to stateside.
In this case, using John’s Nexrad data, the safest route home is probably more or less due west to South Florida – Fort Lauderdale Executive (KFXE) is a good place to do the customs entry for GA aircraft. If conditions at home base are not looking good, then stay in Fort Lauderdale for awhile.
Or better yet, spend another day in the Bahamas and leave early in the morning when t-storm development is usually less extensive. Flying your own airplane and claiming a safety issue makes for a pretty good excuse to extend your vacation!