The current radar will be discontinued on Dec. 16, and then the new radar will be available on a permanent site at radar.weather.gov.
Just remember that the NWS radar network isn’t changing, the actual radar remains the same, it’s the way the radar data is displayed is changing — just the interface on the NWS websites. They are updating the radar to be more user-friendly, and also to provide higher resolution radar data, said Paul Kirkwood, a meteorologist in the Science & Technology Services Division of the NWS Southern Region in Fort Worth, Texas.
Everyday users will notice a change.
A key improvement with the new radar page is if your area radar was knocked offline due to storms or during routine maintenance, you won’t miss a beat, because you’d still get radar data, Kirkwood said. You will no longer see that former black screen that says “Radar is offline” because the nearest radar site will automatically kick in with the data. If you see a red dot, it means the radar is offline, like when the Lake Charles, La., radar was knocked out by Hurricane Laura. “But other radars will automatically kick in (providing nearby radar images) since it uses our mosaic radar (surrounding radars) to fill in,” Kirkwood said.
The radar scans update every 10 minutes.
The big change was needed because Adobe Flash will not be supported in 2021.
“Our current pages use Flash, so we knew we had to change. In addition, Flash doesn’t work on most mobile devices, which has led to complaints from the public. So, we needed something more user-friendly that worked on those pages,” Kirkwood said.
The FAA Weather Camera Program collaborated with the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) to complete the installation of 13 cameras in July. The state of Colorado hosts the first official weather camera systems in the lower 48 states and lays the path for other state DOTs to implement the service for their aviation communities.
Due to COVID-19 travel concerns, the team conducted virtual pre-engineering surveys and received technical details in photos of each site that were used to develop the installation plans. The FAA plans to use this same model for other state DOTs who wish to establish camera services in their states.
The camera images are publicly available on a new website https://weathercams.faa.gov launched this week with tutorials on how to use the information presented on the site.
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.
METAR and TAF Reports
Enter a 4 letter ICAO station ID for the airport TAF or METAR then click the Submit button.
Select a TAF or METAR report for a specific airport
Pilots should not use the information on this website for flight planning purposes.
For the latest information, call your local Flight Service Station at 1-800-WX-BRIEF.
Data on this page is courtesy of the Aviation Weather Center (aviationweather.gov).
TAF Report - Enter one 4 letter ICAO station ID for the airport then click the Submit button:
METAR Report - Enter one 4 letter ICAO station ID for the airport then click the Submit button: