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  • BLIPMAP
    A very user-friendly graphic presentation of local soaring conditions, updated daily, it may be all you will ever want. An excellent description of the program and how to use it can be found on the website. This is an incredible labor of love provided to the American Soaring Community by Dr. Jack Glendening and is available in abbreviated form free, but for $12-$20 one has access to a far broader array of soaring weather parameters. I strongly recommend subscription, since early 2010 subscription is free. Look for the Univiewer for an enhanced user interface.

  • BMapper
    BMapper is a program that overlays BLIP data (http://www.drjack.net/), onto any geographic projection raster map (BMP format) with known coordinates. BMapper allows screen capture of the background map from other programs you may own such as SeeYou and Delorme. You can zoom into your task area and display the task  and turnpoints on the map with the weather data overlayed. Great task planning tool.

  • XCskies
    This program has been around since 2005 and targets the hang gliding and paragliding communities. Similar to Dr. Jack XCskies is a graphic visualization tool that projects RUC and NAM data onto a map. XCskies projects onto Google maps and is able to do so for any place on the globe that the weather data it needs is available and in extreme detail, up to one kilometer resolution. Many of the displays provide predictions for specific locations e.g. a route cross section showing predicted high and low spots and associated conditions along the exact course line and the forecast conditions at a selected point for up to a three day time period. Access is by subscription, minimum one month for three dollars and thirty dollars for a year. There was a lot of buzz at Perry last month (April 2009) about the potential of this weather tool.

  • READY
    This is a fairly complex site with much useful information. Open it, click on a State, and METAR locations and conditions are immediately available. Several layers of text weather , a very good place to get the State Forecast Discussion, a rather technical blurb which you will have to work at to master.

  • Unisys
    Opening page presents a graphic of National surface Weather Map and fronts. Also a great source for the various model graphics (RUC, ETA, AVN, MRF, etc.) also contains short explanations of the various model graphics.

  • ADDS
    A rich source of information including National Weather Map prognostic charts out to 48 hours, an excellent wind/temp graphic selection page, a java page for METARS and TAFs.

  • NASA GOES satellite sounding selection page
    Soundings from the GOES satellites can be selected here for most METARs when there is not a complete overcast over the areas in question. These are fairly course, and in my estimation, not as accurate as the model data. But one can get the temp readings in numerical form here and this sometimes provides a backup or crosscheck for the MAPS/RUC sounding.

  • GOES Interactive Weather Satellite Images
    This is a rich, interactive site with visible, infra-red, water-vapor images. It can be looped for trends, and can be focused on a region with a 1 kilometer resolution (you can sometimes see the cumulus). Tip: Select a weather satellite image map, select Build your own pictures, choose one of the examples or copy a url from the page displayed. Change the Lat & Long values in the url to center the map on the area you want to view. Change the zoom level or edit the screen width/height to get the detail you want.

  • DUAT
    This is the sign-in page for the DTC DUAT site. You need a pilot's license to fully use the site. Much data about current conditions, including route briefings and weather graphics is available here. I find this site clunky. I do use it when I want to file a flight plan for cross-country powered flight.

  • RUC meteogram
    This is a handy graphic of the surface temperature, winds, expected cloud-cover for the next 48 hours.

  • NAM (formerly ETA) meteogram
    Also a useful graphic look at the RUC predicted wind, DP, Temp for the next 12 hours.

  • MOS selection page
    A handy way to look up the predicted temp curve for the day. There are several different model options available. If one looks at several of the models regularly, one will often see much variation between the models. This demonstrates the greatest weakness of the soaring prediction algorithm. It is an art to be able to predict actual temperature for a given day (See Kellerman's tutorial).

  • NCEP forecast maps
    This is the NOAA forecast graphic sequence. It often varies somewhat from what you will see on the ADDS, or the various commercial weather sites (as they will vary from each other).

  • RUC/MAPS Information page
    This is the place to start if you have not used the FSL site before. There are several references to technical bulletins here. These have been previously referenced in the tutorial section. You will possibly need to load a java program to make the next link work.

  • MAPS-RUC sounding selection page
    This is a fantastic tool. You can open to any latitude-longitude in the USA, or you can enter a Metar, and open that way. The most efficient way to do this is to enter a time (The default will give the latest available time if you want to do a sounding based on the early data: or you can change the time window in one hour increments: and you can change the number of hours to be reported). The latest sounding model ordered will open (be a little patient if you are not using a high speed ISP connection). One can open earlier ones by clicking on the appropriate time at the bottom of the graph. One can "Draw" a dry-wet adiabat by putting the mouse arrow on the temp you expect. Do this at the bottom of the graph at the exact same vertical level as the bottom of the sounding (altitude often is a little different than actual altitude of the Apt. because the model uses the average altitude of the 20 kilometer g grid the sounding is looking at). Greater accuracy can be obtained by pulling down a magnified view- place the mouse above and left of the area of interest. Click and hold while moving the mouse down to the right. Release the t he button to see the magnified area. Click reset at the bottom to return to the larger view. Note the wind direction flags to the right. Winds at altitude can be read by moving the mouse up the graph

  • IWIN
    This really is somewhat redundant, but it is a collection of much of the NOAA graphic data. An excellent source for State technical discussion (click the US State map, click a State, click discussion).

  • Chris Ruff's page
    This guy was one of the internet weather-for-soaring pioneers. There are some interesting additional resources here.

  • The Weather Channel
    This link and the following two links are for completeness.

  • Intellicast
    Good regional radar loop here but slow because of popup ads that can not be entirely stopped.

  • Accuweather
    One special feature here is that there is an hourly temperature forecast. I use the premium level service. It costs $7.95/mo., but has more information and is without the infernal pop-ups which really slow everything down.

  • http://www.wunderground.com
    Another useful website for general local weather forecasts. $5/y gets rid of ads.

  • http://www.theweatherprediction.com
    Encyclopedic resource of weather information and resources. Haby's hints are short vignettes on many different subjects.

  • The Storm Machine

  • USWX

  • NOAA weather resource

  • Outlook maps, graphs and tables

  • NWS abbreviations
    Self-explanatory

  • NWS contractions
    This will help when trying to decipher the discussions.

Posted: 5/1/2007