Offshore Conditions

An orange sun casting its rays through clouds as it sets over a calm sea.

Before you head out to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, get the most up-to-date information available about weather, sea state, and water conditions.

Weather Forecasts

Offshore Waters Forecast for the Gulf of Mexico (KNHC) - Offshore forecast, including Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The first listing is for NW Gulf including Stetson Bank. The second listing is for SW Louisiana Offshore Waters including Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Be sure to scroll down the page to see both.

Coastal Waters Forecast for High Island, TX to Matagorda ship channel, TX (KHGX), out to 60 nautical miles, including Galveston and Matagorda Bays.

Coastal Waters Forecast for Lower Atchafalaya River, LA to High Island, TX (KLCH), out 60 nautical miles, including Sabine and Calcasieu Lakes and Vermilion Bay.

Coastal Waters Forecast for Pascagoula, MS to Atchafalaya River, LA (KLIX), out 60 nautical miles.

Current Sanctuary Conditions

Wind, Waves, and Water Temperatures

You can get an idea of current sanctuary conditions by looking at real-time data from the Sofar Spotter buoy installed at East Flower Garden Bank in June 2023. This buoy collects wave height and wind speed data, as well as temperatures from the surface and at reef cap depth, providing important information for both staff and visitors to assess current offshore conditions. 

Sofar Spotter Buoy Dashboard

Installation of this buoy was supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Dr. Xinping Hu from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi.

Sanctuary staff holding yellow SoFar buoy and cable on the deck of R/V MANTA
Sanctuary staff installed the new Sofar Spotter buoy at East Flower Garden Bank in June 2023. Credit: Taylor Philip/CPC
Chlorophyll-a, Sea Surface Temperature, Suspended Sediment, Algal Bloom Index, and More

Additional remote sensing data for the northwestern Gulf of Mexico is available via satellites and data buoys outside the sanctuary. This has been compiled into a handy dashboard where users can focus in on individual banks within the sanctuary, as well as identified zones between the sanctuary and the Texas and Louisiana coastlines.

FGBNMS Early Alert Data Dashboard

In addition to current conditions, this dashboard shows time-series data from the previous two years.

Texas Automated Buoy System

The Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS) funded two buoys in the vicinity of the Flower Garden Banks, TABS Buoy N and TABS Buoy V, until 2017 and 2019 respectively. Historic data from those buoys is still available on the TABS website. The Sofar Spotter buoy, installed in 2023, fills the data void left by the loss of the TABS buoys.

There are still three functioning TABS buoys closer inshore, buoys B, F, and R, that may be of some help to visitors heading out to the sanctuary.