Weber State University, HARBOR

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Useful Weather Sites for HARBOR Flights

Weather Forecast

for Duchesne, UT (NOAA)

Weather Underground
Airport Weather Station 
MesoWest Duchesne Weather Station

for Delta, UT (NOAA)

Weather Underground
Airport Weather Station (Weather currently off line, other info is available.)

for Evanston, WY

Weather Spark
Weather Underground
Airport Weather Station and other information

Weather Models and smoke transport
  • GOES satellite image viewer (You can go to the root page to gain access to an amazing amount of weather data.)
  • GFS Model by Tropical Tidbits
  • NOAA HRRR-Smoke forecast. You must click on something (try the "Vertically Integrated Smoke" tab for starters) then adjust the image transparency with the slider so you can still see the map. Click on "Fire Detections" to see where major fires are located. Once you have made your selections, click on the "Run" arrow at the bottom left. An enormous amount of data is being processed, so be patient while the model loads. 
General Forecasts and Jet Stream Forecasts
Advanced Weather Prediction
(See text below for how to use these.)
Tropical Tidbits: Northwestern part of the continental USA.
NOAA Satellite Data.

Weather Prediction Introduction and Background:

I use a lot of websites. But here are two that are especially easy to use but have a LOT of information. Here is a bit of an explanation of some atmospheric physics to put the links in context.
Do not read the rest of this page if you don't have at least 15 minutes (an hour would be better) to think through it. Still, this is just the very start for learning about atmospheric physics. So, let's start the crash course.
There are many weather forecasting models. The three most important ones for us are:
The GFS and ECMWF are often making different predictions. There is no preference or advantage of one over the other. The simple fact is that sometimes one of them does a better job then the other one. No one knows why certain conditions work in one case but not the other, there are just too many variables. For the sake of ease, all the discussion and links below are based on the GFS system.

First, the Tropical Tidbits blog provides an interface to the GFS forecast models that is very intuitive and much easier to navigate than the raw NOAA data. There is a massive amount of information on this website. For the main map of interest you will need to understand how to read it. Most of it is fairly straightforward, but the details are interesting.
To read the maps that I find most useful for storm forecasting:
The black lines are isobars showing pressure in mb (same thing as hPa) where sea level is 1013 mb and Powder Mountain is about 725 mb on a "perfect average" day (see the PS below). These pressures on the maps are all adjusted to sea level values as if there were no mountains, just a smooth surface of Earth. In general, you can assume that air will flow from higher pressure to lower pressure. The closer together the lines are, the more serious the weather changes. Think of it as a topo map with elevation contour lines mapping out high pressure ridges and low pressure troughs.
You probably already know that, in general, high pressure regions are usually fair weather and low pressure regions are associated with storms. In the Northern Hemisphere winds move clockwise around high pressure systems and counter clockwise around low pressure systems.
More complex: The dashed red and blue lines with numbers in the 500 range are geopotential heights. That starts to get wicked complicated. It is an integral of gravity, Tv (average virtual atmospheric temperature), and atmospheric pressure where the integral's limits are two pressures. In the case of this map, that would be 1000 mb to 500 mb which is the weight (potential energy) of the lower and middle troposphere. It is in units of decameters (tens of meters).
Whew. What that really means is the average temperature of the atmosphere at that location but in very funny units. As a general rule, if that dashed line is red you will probably get rain, if it is blue, you'll probably get snow. That will change with surface altitude and surface temperature. If you are at sea level and just into the blue dashes, you will probably get rain. If you are at high ground level altitude and just into the blue dashed lines, you'll probably get snow.
Why is that important for this chart? If you look at the right side you will see precipitation forecasts as a "heat map". Unfortunately, many of the colors overlap. That is where understanding the geopotential height (remember that's really an average atmospheric temperature) comes in.
Start here with one of these two links, I suggest the first one for details, the second one for an overview:
1. For the NW Continental USA.
2. For the entire continental USA (CONUS):

On these you can use the various controls to move the forecast forward and backwards with the arrow controls just above the map. It is mostly pretty intuitive. One item that is not obvious (at least to me at first) is the plus/minus controls. Those speed up and slow down the animation speed when you hit the run arrow.
I usually prefer to just step through with the right arrow.
Advanced Topic: Click on some spot on the map to get a "skew-T" plot and a few other plots such as a "hodogram." (A hodograph is a plot of wind speed and direction with altitude.) The DGZ levels listed on the left edge of the skew-T plot are the dendritic growth zone which is a fancy way to say that ice crystals can easily form in this region. That will only happen if there is moisture. For snow for skiing, ideally, this will be wide and close to the ground.
The more general access to the data can be found here:
Then select the "Forecast Zones" along the top menu bar.
You want the GFS model. If that isn't what shows up in the upper left corner, then click on "Global" and select GFS.
At the bottom left of the map is a tab called "Regions." Click on that and select either "Northwest U.S." or CONUS.

Second NOAA Data Set:
Okay, my next most favorite NOAA data is directly from the satellites. This is "live" data from the satellites. I like selecting the "animation loop". Note that many of these wavelengths are in the visible (0.4 um to 0.7 um) and you won't see anything at night. That's why I like the infrared bands, which also shows moisture.
Key things to do:
  1. Select your satellite and image filters carefully. One of my favorites is "Band 10" That band shows moisture in the bottom 2/3 or so of the troposphere.
  2. Select the "Loop Size" which is the number of images at (typically) 5-minute intervals. 72 images is 6 hours.
Here is the direct link for my favorite:
The more general starting point is here:
P.S. Atmospheric scientists prefer to refer to altitude in pressure units because atmospheric pressure is what drives air flow and can determine temperature, humidity, etc. Ballpark values on a perfect average day:
Sea level = 1013 mb (This one is at 25C, standard room temperature.)
Ogden (my office on campus, 4,685') = 845 mb
Pico de Orizaba (second highest peak in North America, an 18,941' stratovolcano = 466 mb (about half the air at sea level)
Mt. Everest summit = 293 mb (about a quarter the air at sea level)
You can calculate your pressure altitude using the NASA/NOAA standard atmosphere very easily at this website: