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Aviation Forecasts

Aviation Surface Forecast and Aviation Clouds Forecast Graphics

The Aviation Surface Forecast and Aviation Clouds Forecast graphics are snapshot images derived from a subset of the aviation weather forecasts valid for the continental United States (CONUS) and coastal waters used within the Graphical Forecasts for Aviation interactive web- based display. These graphics provide a low-bandwidth alternative to Graphical Forecasts for Aviation interactive web-based display and are provided through NOAAPORT/Satellite Broadcast Network. The static images are intended for FAA Flight Service Station providers, commercial and General Aviation pilots, operators, briefers and dispatchers with limited Internet access. The imagery is based on best available operational sources of National Weather Service (NWS) produced weather information.

NWS Product Description Document (PDD)


Product Elements

Product Availability

Current and Archived images

Navigation Bar

Choices of two types of Plots, 10 Regions (CONUS and 9 subsectors), and 3 hour forecasts out to 18 hours.

Navigation Bar

Plot Type

Aviation Surface Forecast
Aviation Clouds Forecast

Navigation Plot


Northwest North Central Northeast
West Central East
Southwest South Central Southeast
Navigation Region


3hr, 6hr, 9hr, 12hr, 15hr, 18hr. Select via “pull-down” or by “<<” / “>>”

Navigation Time Navigation 6hr

Product Elements

Aviation Surface Forecast graphics:

  • Graphics of surface visibility
    • Low IFR: 0-1 statute miles
    • IFR: 1-3 statute miles
    • Marginal VFR: 3-5 statute miles
  • Overlays of surface wind and gusts
    • Depicted with standard wind barb
    • Red coloring indicates wind gust speed
  • Overlays of predominant precipitation type (i.e., rain, snow, mix, ice, or thunderstorm) coincident with any cloud
  • Overlays of predominant weather type (i.e., haze, fog, smoke, blowing dust/sand)
  • Overlays of Graphical AIRMETs
    • Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)
    • Strong Surface Wind
Aviation Surface Forecast Graphic

Aviation Clouds Forecast graphics:

  • Graphics of cloud coverage fraction (few/scattered, broken, overcast) for clouds with bases below Flight Level 180 (FL180 - 18,000 feet above Mean Sea Level (MSL))
  • Overlay of text indicating cloud coverage and height in feet above MSL
    • Clouds above FL180 are indicated as cirrus.
    • The bases below FL180 of FEW/SCT, BKN, and OVC clouds are labeled.
    • The tops of the highest BKN or OVC layer with bases below FL180 are labeled.
    • When multiple layers of BKN or OVC clouds exist, the top of the highest layer will be given preceded by LYRD.
    • Cirrus clouds above clouds with bases below FL180 are labeled as CI ABV.
  • Overlays of Graphical AIRMETs
    • Mountain Obscuration
    • Icing

(Forecasted points may not represent conditions in proximity)

Aviation Clouds Forecast Graphic

Product Availability

The Aviation Surface Forecast and Aviation Clouds Forecast Graphic images are provided every three hours for one CONUS projection and nine regional projections with three-hourly forecasts of Surface (predominant weather, visibility, wind) and cloud coverage and layer (bases and tops) information out to 18 hours. These graphics will be available over NOAAPORT/Satellite Broadcast Network. World Meteorological Organization header information will be as follows:

- CCCC is KKCI (Aviation Weather Center)
- T1 = Q (Regional Static Graphic)
- T2 specifies the forecast graphic as follows:
    = I for the Aviation Clouds Forecast Graphic
    = Z for the Aviation Surface Forecast Graphic
- A1 = T (Northern Hemisphere)
- A2 specifies the forecast time as follows:
    = B for the 3 hour forecast
    = C for the 6 hour forecast
    = D for the 9 hour forecast
    = E for the 12 hour forecast
    = F for the 15 hour forecast
    = G for the 18 hour forecast
- When T2 = I, ii specifies the regional domain of the Aviation Clouds Forecast Graphic as follows:
    = 00 for Continental United States
    = 01 for Northeastern United States
    = 02 for Eastern United States
    = 03 for Southeastern United States
    = 04 for North Central United States
    = 05 for Central United States
    = 06 for South Central United States
    = 07 for Northwestern United States
    = 08 for Western United States
    = 09 for Southwestern United States
- When T2 = Z, ii specifies the regional domain of the Aviation Surface Forecast Graphic as follows:
    = 90 for Continental United States
    = 91 for Northeastern United States
    = 92 for Eastern United States
    = 93 for Southeastern United States
    = 94 for North Central United States
    = 95 for Central United States
    = 96 for South Central United States
    = 97 for Northwestern United States
    = 98 for Western United States
    = 99 for Southwestern United States

Current and Archived images

The static images are provided in Portable Network Graphic (png) format


15-day Archive

YYYY is the 4 digit year
MM is 2 digit month
DD is 2 digit day
HH is 2 digit hour
FHH is 2 digit forecast hour with F preceding (F stands for Forecast) (Ex: 03, 06, 09, 12, 15, 18)
Use sfc for Aviation Surface Forecast or clouds for Aviation Clouds Forecast
Use us, ne, e, se, nc, c, sc, nw, w, or sw for geographic region of the United States
png is the format of the graphic (Portable Network Graphics)