Spring and fall thunderstorms are just one of those weather issues we have to deal with. But storms at the beginning of the year tend to be more predictable since they’re more cold or warm-front related.

Late summer and early fall is an entirely different situation.

Sure, weather forecasters can predict the possibility of afternoon and evening weather based on heat and humidity. But storms this time of year can pop up rapidly and right out of the blue. If you’re on land or in a vehicle, things can be bad enough. But being on a boat, possibly miles away from port, can be an extremely dangerous situation.

We’ve all been there, done that.

I remember coming into Lynnhaven after a day of near-shore wreck fishing, chased into the Chesapeake Bay by three water spouts and a wall of fast-moving wind and rain. Luckily, it was only the latter that caught up with us.

Seas can kick up, blinding rain can make it difficult to see – it can get really ugly super fast.

Lots of vessels these days are equipped with radar and captains are more able to see bad conditions on the horizon. Many smaller craft, though, have to depend on their eyes. Old-timers can tell you they can smell weather coming, and I’d have to agree.

Checking the forecast before you is a must, even though things don’t always end up like predicted. That’s kind of the point here: storms can pop up at any time and anywhere. So be alert, be safe, and take precautions.

And maybe get one of the old salts to teach you about that smell.

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