Weather plays a huge part in hot-air and gas ballooning. Below, you can find helpful links and information to assist you in securing weather information and forecasts for ballooning.
Weather Forecast Sites:
BalloonCast online forecast (operated by Blastvalve.com): This site provides current and future forecasts and allows pilots to choose their own reporting stations within the state chosen. Also includes radar and winds aloft forecasts. This site was created specifically for balloonists.
AviationWeather (affiliated with the NOAA): This site, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provides current and forecasted weather, radar and satelitte reporting, prog charts, TAF and Area Forecasts, Pilot Reports and more.
Winds Aloft Forecast (provided by the National Weather Service): This site provides collective winds and temperatures aloft forecasts for the United States.
Weather Underground: This site provides great radar reports and images, local forecasts and aviation related weather.
Weather Briefing Information:
Balloonists can also get local weather briefings via phone (recorded or live) by calling Flight Service at 1-800-WX-BRIEF (1-800-992-7433) and following the prompts. When you dial the standard 1-800-WX-BRIEF from a cell phone, it connects you to the Flight Service Station (FSS) associated with your cell phone’s area code — not necessarily to the FSS nearest to your actual position. If using a cell phone outside your normal calling area, check the airport/facility directory to find the specific telephone number for the specific FSS. Flight briefers provide the latest weather conditions and forecasted conditions for a particular area. Be certain to inform the briefer that the weather is for balloons and have your registration number ready, as they will request it.
Internet access to weather and aeronautical information, flight plan filing and automated services is also available at no charge to pilots at www.1800wxbrief.com. To continue to receive free services, users are encouraged to register with www.1800wxbrief.com.
Colorado Hot Air Balloon Forecast:
Hot-Air Balloon Forecast for Colorado (Provided by the National Weather Service Denver/Boulder, Colorado): Regional weather synopsis with METAR, TAF and other data from several states. The data is updated automatically at approximately 10, 30 and 50 minutes after each hour, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Additional Weather Information and Resources:
Please click the links below for more information about weather and obtaining a flight briefing.
Weather to fly: Provides an in-depth review of how to get the best possible weather briefing for aviation. Includes definitions and acronyms, and a "how-to" guide on receiving and posting weather.
Prevailing Winds(provided by weather.gov): Winds in the upper levels will blow clockwise around areas of high pressure and counterclockwise around areas of low pressure. The speed of the wind is determined by the pressure gradient. The winds are strongest in regions where the isobars are close together.
Understanding Wind Flow(avweb.com)The movement of the air in our atmosphere has significant impact on our flight planning and in-flight decisions.
Free Text Messaging METAR, TAF, Adverse Condition Update
Pilots are able to request and receive METAR, TAF or Adverse Condition Update (ACU) reports via text message from Leidos Flight Service (1-800-992-7433) using the following key words: ACU, METAR, TAF.
Text METAR KDEN to 358-782 (FLT-SVC) and you will get the current METAR for KDEN.
Text METAR KDEN PT to 358-782 (FLT-SVC) and you will get the current METAR for KDEN in Plain Text.
You can combine combine key words:
Text MT KDEN to 358-782 (FLT-SVC) and you will receive current METAR and TAF for KDEN.
From the March/April 2015 issue of the FAA Safety Briefing magazine.