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Reading and Decoding METAR’s

by Jason Schappert

To pilots new and old, decoding METAR’s can be one the most difficult yet rewarding accomplishments for pilots to achieve. All the information below is also available in a printable for quick reference on your knee board or in your flight bag. But in the meantime feel free to use this version for desk reference.

-METAR (Aviation Routine Weather Report)

-Issued +55 past the hour and valid hourly

Example:
METAR KJFK 242235Z 28024G36KT 7SM -RA BR BKN009 OVC020CB 26/24 A2998 RMK AO2 SLP993 T02640238 56012

KJFK -Station ID
242235Z -Prepared on the 24th at 2235 Zulu (UTC)
28024G36KT -Winds are from 280 at 24 Knots Gusting to 36 Knots
7SM -Visibility 7 Statute Miles
-RA BR -Light Rain (-RA) Mist (BR)
BKN009 OVC020CB -Ceiling 900ft broken, 2,000ft Overcast, Cumulonimbus
26/24 -Temperature 26 degrees C, dew point 24 degrees C
A2998 -Altimeter 29.98
RMK -Remarks
AO2 -Station has automatic precipitation discriminator
SLP993 -Sea level pressure 999.3 hectopascals (add either a “9” or “10” whichever ‘ makes the number closest to 1,000
T02640238 -Exact Temperature 26.4, Exact Dewpoint 23.8

56012 – Atmospheric Pressure lower since previous 3 hours ago (“5” means Atmospheric Pressure. If the next number is a 1,2,3 the Atmospheric Pressure has increased since the previous 3 hours. 4 means it has stayed the same, 5,6,7,8 Means its has decreased. In our case it has decreased “thus the 6” by .12 This tends to be the main trouble maker for most people

Quick Weather Help:

- Light Moderate
+ Heavy
VC In the Vicinity
MI Shallow
PR Partial
BC Patches
DR Low Drifting
BL Blowing
SH Shower(s)
TS Thunderstorm
FZ Freezing
DZ Drizzle
RA Rain
SN Snow
SG Snow Grains
IC Ice Crystals
PL Ice Pellets
GR Hail
GS Small Hail and/or Snow Pellets
UP Unknown Precipitation
BR Mist
FG Fog
FU Smoke
VA Volcanic Ash
DU Widespread Dust
SA Sand
HZ Haze
PY Spray
PO Well-Developed Dust/Sand Whirls
SQ Squalls
FC Funnel Cloud Tornado Waterspout
SS Sandstorm
SS Duststorm

Watch the How to Read METARS Video

You can download the Knee Board/Flight Bag Quick Reference HERE

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  • Don Hutchens

    Hi Jason,

    I just found your site tonight and I like what you have done, I have watched all of your podcast that came up when the page opened. How do I find all of your podcast? I have clicked all podcast links that I have seen but i can only see the 4 or 5 one the one page.
    You mentioned your reading metars podcast. I would like to see them all, like i said what i have seen are very well put together.

    Thanks in Advance,

    Don

  • Don Hutchens

    Hi Jason,

    I just found your site tonight and I like what you have done, I have watched all of your podcast that came up when the page opened. How do I find all of your podcast? I have clicked all podcast links that I have seen but i can only see the 4 or 5 one the one page.
    You mentioned your reading metars podcast. I would like to see them all, like i said what i have seen are very well put together.

    Thanks in Advance,

    Don

  • Don Hutchens

    Hi Jason,

    I just found your site tonight and I like what you have done, I have watched all of your podcast that came up when the page opened. How do I find all of your podcast? I have clicked all podcast links that I have seen but i can only see the 4 or 5 one the one page.
    You mentioned your reading metars podcast. I would like to see them all, like i said what i have seen are very well put together.

    Thanks in Advance,

    Don

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