Many convective forecasts used by pilots are issued by multiple organizations within the National Weather Service (NWS). This includes the Aviation Weather Center (AWC), Storm Prediction Center (SPC), Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) and the local Weather Forecast Offices (WFO). While forecasters can and do communicate with each other, there’s no specific requirement that forecasters in different organizations collaborate to produce consistent forecast guidance. Consequently, it is possible that one or more convective forecasts that many pilots frequently incorporate into their preflight analysis may tend to disagree at times. When we notice that one or more forecasts clash, it is important to discover why they may seem to disagree. In some cases, the clash may just be from a lack of knowledge or false perception of how to properly utilize the guidance. It could also be just a bad forecast or one where a forecaster has taken a poor meteorological risk.
This program is divided into three training modules. Each module will describe a separate case where the possibility of thunderstorms was questionable and resulted in a clash with other official and unofficial National Weather Service (NWS) guidance. For each case, we’ll first identify the errant forecast(s) and then integrate other meaningful guidance into the analysis to show that the questionable forecast was truly unreasonable with respect to the development or lack of development of thunderstorms. Instrument rated or not, this program is designed to show the pilot how to recognize a bad convective forecast early in the process. This is easily accomplished through a comprehensive preflight analysis by employing forecast guidance from multiple NWS sources. Consequently, the most important rule is to never rely on one single forecast product for preflight planning decisions.
Bio: Scott C. Dennstaedt is an FAA-certificated instrument flight instructor and former NWS meteorologist specializing in aviation weather training.
Approx 35 minutes
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