Useful Links and Data
for sailing on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio River at Pittsburgh

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Weather Forecasts

These forecasts from weather.com, the National Weather Service and windfinder.com are pretty good 24 hours ahead. The forecasts are better on the direction of the wind, but the measured wind speed on the water will usually vary from 50% to 100% of the predicted speed. With a 5 mph forecast, there will be periods of calm on the water. They are least reliable when they forecast rapid changes of direction.

weather.com
Hour by hour winds at the Point.
Ten day forecast of winds at the Point
Weather records for the past week.

National Weather Service
Graphical forecast
Present conditions
Record of past three days

windfinder.com
Pittsburgh International Airport
The first screen shows a plot of winds over the past 24 hours.
Click the"Super Forecast" tab for the forecast.

Currents

The US Army Corps of Engineers report volumetric flow (cubic feet per second) at various dams on the rivers surrounding the Point. These can be used to determine the flow on the three rivers at the Point as follows. I link to the US Geological Survey presentation of the data since I find their charts easier to read. The NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is more useful, however, since it includes predictions of future flows.

Allegheny River

Flow at Dam at Natrona on the Allegheny (upstream of Point)
Very rough conversion: 10,000 cu. ft./sec. = 0.36 mph

Monongahela

Flow at Dam at Elizabeth on the Monongahela PLUS Flow at Dam at Youghiogheny at Sutersville (both upstream of Point)
These are added since the Mon at the Point is the combined flow of the Mon at Elizabeth and the Yough at Suterville.
Very rough conversion: 10,000 cu. ft./sec. = 0.47 mph

Ohio River

Flow at Dam at Sewickley on the Ohio (downstream of Point)
Very rough conversion: 10,000 cu. ft./sec. = 0.22 mph

1 mph = 1.47 ft./sec

For more on the conversion of volumetric flows (cu. ft./sec.) into linear speed (ft./sec.), look here.

Navigation Charts

These charts show the "sailing line," which is the approximate centerline of the navigation channel. Here is where you should expect barges to navigate. This page also links to sketches of the bridges that indicate vertical clearances. (There is ample vertical clearance for any sailboat likely to be sailed on the rivers.)

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Information on boating on Pennsylvania waterways.

Boating Courses and Safety Certificates.

Online boating handbook.

Sailors Getting Organized

Point of Pittsburgh Sailing League. "A group of Pittsburgh sailors and sailing enthusiasts is proposing to develop a youth-oriented, racing and community sailing program..."

www.boatpittsburgh.com aims to offer boaters "...a web site that they can turn to for all of their needs related to boating on the Three Rivers."