National Weather Service's (NWS) Internet data source. You can find in-depth Forecast Discussions on the weather,
not just cute little icons of clouds & smiling suns. These often offer
guidance from the local NOAA weather office as to which computer model
(AVN, RAP or NAM etc) they feel is most accurate for the current conditions. State Forecasts and the more area specific Zone
Pick your area from the list of all 50 states by List
examples: GA ...
TN ... AL
Example Forecast Discussions: GA
Example Zone Forecasts: GA [search for Peachtree City]
... TN ... AL
Example State Forecasts: GA ... TN ... AL
National Weather Service
Southern Region, Huntsville,
NWS Hourly Forecasts, mixing height is close to thermal height: Warm Springs, GA,
NOAA GA Graphical
Forecast, National Graphical Forecast, Preview Graphical Forecast, CWSU National
TAF Metar Maps, ATL
Weather Channel Forecasts: Morning
Forecast Examples: Atlanta
.. Warm Springs,
GA .. LaGrange,
GA .. Cordele,
GA .. Huntsville,
AL .. Auburn,
AL .. Chattanooga,
TN .. Knoxville,
TN .. Benton/Chilhowee,
city forecasts include forecast winds. examples: Warm Springs, GA .. LaGrange,
GA .. Atlanta,
GA .. Monroe,
GA .. Cordele,
GA .. Peachtree
City, GA ..Birmingham,
AL .. Montgomery,
AL .. Huntsville,
AL .. Knoxville,
TN .. Benton,
TN .. Chattanooga,
TN .. Greenville
has City forecasts too.
Precipitation Image see how much rain has fallen over
your thermal sources in the last 24 hours, or weekly
Air Sports Net CHA
**** High Resolution Rapid Refresh HRRR
High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) THE latest high resolution rapidly updated model. These forecast out 15 hours, however they are good for about 6 hours then "diverge from reality". The next 6 hours have very accurate and detailed information, great to look at prior to flying, or as has been done for some record wave flights, a ground based meteorologist can refer to these and guide the pilots to the best conditions. These are available for increments of a hour or 15 minutes. These are well used in combination with RAP below. HRRR SouthEast ... Experimental SouthEast . . . College of DuPage HRRR, RAP, NAM...
Parameters to pay particular attention to:
LCL Lifted Condensation Level = Base of clouds
Max 10m wind speed
1 hour Total Precipitation
Mean Layer Vertical Velocity - good for wave
Max Updraft Velocity
Cloud cover - Total Cloud cover (cirrus, mid and CUs), High level (Cirrus), Low level Cloud especially animated.
PBL Planetary Boundary Layer - thickness of the convective layer and the tops of the thermals, makes a good animation - gliders will stop climbing lower than this, Dr Jack's Critical Updraft Height would subtract 200 foot per minute to predict where gliders would stop climbing as you won't go all the way up. The PBL appears to not be available consistently.
Aviation Flight Rules
**** Rapid Refresh RAP & North American Model NAM
RAP MAPS RAP Rapid Refresh
analysis/forecast images - good images that are updated frequently.
Parameters to pay particular attention to:
PBL Planetary Boundary Layer - thickness of the convective layer and the tops of the thermals, makes a good animation - gliders will stop climbing lower than this, Dr Jack's Critical Updraft Height would subtract 200 foot per minute to predict where gliders would stop climbing as you won't go all the way up.
Cloud cover - Total Cloud cover
Outgoing Longwave Radiation Flux - how much the energy that the ground will be putting into the atmosphere.
Incoming Shortwave Radiation = Infrared, the incoming solar heat that will heat the ground and create thermals - the darkest black areas are best.
Range NAM Forecasts ... Short
Range GFS Forecasts
4 Panel Plots
Weather: GFS/Avn 4 Panel Plots These are a great
source for many different sides of the weather forecast picture. Winds,
Precipitation, Instability.... These go from 6 to 72 hours. Examples:
hr ... 24
hr ... 3
day ... also 500mb plot
NGM MOS Meteograms
Weather: NAM MOS Meteograms These are a great forecasting
resource 3 hour increments.
A meteogram is a 60 hour time cross-section of NAM data for a specific
surface reporting station. The data plotted include temperatures, winds,
pressure, clouds and present weather. These plots are updated once every
12 hours at around 12:45 EST. The winds data are very useful for Ridge
Soaring. The graph showing how and when the pressure changes
is very telling for Thermal forecasting.
GA ... Birmingham
AL ... Nashville
TN ... Greensboro
Analysis Meteograms are the same idea but they look
at the PREVIOUS 25 hours in 1 hour increments. A good way to review what
happened on your last flight.
Winds & Jet Stream
WindyTy *** graphical winds animated several hours forward with additional parameters at various altitudes. Based on GFS model updated 4X daily. See FAQ, if you wait a little it will download higher resolution data. Examples: Ridge height winds, Surf wind & Temp, Jetstream & Pressure Wave Height1, Wave Height2
Earth.nullschool.net winds ** graphical winds controls on bottom left.
Windmapper SouthEast FL
Weather station reporting from the Sequatchie ridge above Dunlap, TN. Check for winds favorable to ridge lift.
Jet Stream Chart, Intellicast jet stream ... Jet Stream Analysis & Forecast, image with IR overlay, animated
and Temperatures Aloft from AWC
NAM 300 mb Plot
Weather Analysis and Forecasting URL’s:
selected for the 2015 SLG XC Camp
Here are useful URL’s to understand the daily air mass and to forecast XC potential or daily Racing strategy considerations. These should be checked in the sequence shown (from big picture to detailed analysis)
1. Start with the national synoptic picture to understand fronts and air masses
2. Check how the fronts are moving over the next 12 – 48 hours here:
3. Next, review the satellite imagery to see movement of clouds, especially high cirrus
4. Check the civilian forecasts here and especially look at the Meteograms on this site that compare the various models
5. Read the Forecast Discussion here and then go to the Tabular Forecast and calculate cloudbases each hour by using the Temp/Dewpoint spread here (220 feet per degree Fahrenheit)
GA: Warm Springs/LaGrange Tabular Graph, Monroe/Winder Tabular FL: Melbourne
6. See what the other pilots will be seeing in XCSkies or Dr Jack. with focus on geographic analysis (which area is best) (I focus on Thermal Heights and Cloud bases and don’t pay much attention to Lift Strength)
Dr Jack Univiewer. HCrit is most telling. It is good to cross check the forecast high to make sure it is correct.
7. Look at the soundings (Op40 RAP) and analyze the atmosphere for low, mid and high clouds, strength of inversion, height by time of day, etc.)
http://rucsoundings.noaa.gov/ Warm Springs is close to "LGC"
8. Look at the RAP fields or the HRRR fields further down. Particularly focus on the HRRR Max Updraft fields to see the streets and plan your flight strategy. [If no data is shown move the time back to previous hour]
9. And if you have time, or to check some specific risk factors, here are some optional additional sites (a few among many candidates!)
NOAA Current Weather USA (by state & city) ... Examples: Peachtree
City-Falcon Field, GA ... Atlanta
... Warm Springs,
GA ... Warner
Robins AFB, GA ... Chattanooga,