Weather Reporting for the IRG Weather Net

Helpful hints on reporting your observations to the Weather Net

The following is a list of observations we gather for the Weather Net.   Keep in mind we are looking for data observed at or near the time of the net (i.e. just before 7:30 am).
 

1.   Cloud cover (or "Sky")

Cloud should be reported in 10ths  For example if half the sky is covered with cloud, report it as "five" (as in 5/10ths.)

2. Precipitation (or "Current Weather")

Examples:  "Light rain", "Heavy snow", "Drizzle" etc.  See the list below.  If there is no current precipitation at time of observation, report "No active weather".  If you are unsure of the precipitation type just make your best guess, we will usually be able to tell what type of precipitation you are getting from other reports in the area and our knowledge of the current weather situation.

For Net Controllers:  (Net control stations use precipitation codes when reporting to Environment Canada)  Precipitation should be reported by the net controller with the appropriate code followed by an intensity indicator.  For light intensity the code is followed by a minus sign (-), for heavy intensity the code is followed by a plus sign (+) and for moderate intensity just report the precipitation code.  For example the code for rain is R.  Light rain is coded as R-, heavy rain as R+ and moderate rain as simply R.  Other codes for precipitation follows.  Remember to include the appropriate intensity code with each one.

Reporting codes for use of Net Controllers 

(Participants should use regular plain language words when reporting on-air)

Precipitation Type Precip Code
Drizzle L
Rain R
Rain Showers RW
Thunderstorm TRW
Freezing Drizzle ZL
Freezing Rain ZR
Snow S
Snow Pellets SP
Snow Grains SG
Ice Pellets IP
Hail A
Tornado or Waterspout:  Please contact the Atlantic Environment Canada office Telephone: 902-426-7231 Call as it happens

Use intensity codes with precipitation code if applicable. 

Light: -     Moderate:  (nil)      Heavy:  +

Examples for net controller report to EC:

Rain:   R   (Moderate rain, not light, not heavy)
Light Rain:   R-
Heavy Snow:  S+


Remember, these codes are used for the Net Controller's report to EC, and are shown here for your information to demonstrate the different types of precipitation that can be reported.   Participants should use plain language terms such as "rain" or  "heavy rain" or "light snow"  to describe their current active weather.

If there is no precipitation at time of observation, the participant should say, "No active weather" just to confirm that fact.

 

3.  Obstruction to Visibility - ("Visibility")

 

Report the visibility in miles.  Your reported visibility should fall into one of the following categories: 

<1/2,   1/2,  1   2,   3,   4,   5,   6,   6+.

Example, "Visibility 2 due to haze".  These are coded (by net control) without an intensity indicator.

Phenomenon Code (for net control)

Obstruction to visibility type under "Current WX" Code
Fog F
Blowing snow BS
Haze H
As noted above for precipitation, these codes are shown for information.  Participants should use plain language, example: "fog" or "heavy fog" when reporting to the net controller

 

It should be noted that more than one type of precipitation and/or obstruction to visibility are possible at one time.  For example it is not uncommon to have a mixture of rain, drizzle and fog.  In this case your reported weather could be R-L-F.

 

4.  Current Temperature

Report the Current temperature in Degrees Celsius to the nearest 0.5C, or whatever your device will report.  No special codes are required.

5.  Precipitation Amounts

Report liquid amounts in millimeters and solid amounts in centimeters.  No special codes are required.  Some excellent videos on measuring and reporting precipitation can be found at cocorahs.org  .

6.  Wind Direction and Speed 

Report the average speed in kilometers per hour if possible, but if you are reporting in miles per hour, knots or Beaufort scale, be sure to indicate if other than km/hr.   Specify the direction, the eight points of the compass are close enough, suhc as "West" or "South-East" . No special codes are required. 

Some example reports:  "Wind North 20" would mean 20 km/hr average speed.  If you have any significant gusting winds, estimate them, and report in the format,  "Wind North 20, gusting to 50" for example.

To help estimate or convert wind speed, you can use the Beaufort Scale chart below.

7. Maximium / Minimum Temperature  ("High and Low" or "Gradient")

Report the maximum and minimum temperatures in the last 24 hour period if you have this ability.  See the caution below about "Yesterday" data from electronic weather stations.

Some helpful tips

Having the  information in this same order as the Net Controller form is especially helpful.  This will make it easier and quicker for the Net Control Station (NCS) to record the information and pass it on to the forecast office.  Using codes is not necessary, plain language is encouraged by participants.  Report your data slowly enough and with pauses that the net controller can keep up.

It's always a good idea to start with "Here is the report from ... (your location) ".  This allows the NCS to know where to put the data, and remember, we have lots of listeners out there who "want to know!"

We do not routinely record barometer, humidity or any other observations not listed below, but if you do wish to report them for information, report them at the end of all the other data, and the net controller may report them as comments in the report if significant.

Remember, the NCS is using a form and marking down your data, either on paper or computer screen.   Giving your observations in the same order as on his / her form really, really helps and will avoid errors, and avoid having to repeat the information.  It's also helpful to state the parameter, then the data, such as "Rainfall in last 24 hours, 25.5 mm" instead of "We had 25.5 mm of rain".   This gives the net controller a "heads-up" of where to start entering the data, instead of trying to remember the number 25.5  AND THEN finding the place to put it.

Special note to those using automatic or electronic weather stations:

When you report for the Weather Net, we are looking for data for the last 24 hours, at or about 7:30 am.  Note that many electronic weather stations might display "Yesterday" data.   "Yesterday" may actually be a period from midnight to midnight for the previous calendar day, not the last 24 hours.  Some stations allow you to change the default reset time.  If you can, change your station to reset just before the Weather Net so your "yesterday" high and low temperatures, rainfall, etc  is actually data reflecting the last 24 hours at net time.  Some stations may have a separate display for "Last 24 hours", so use that data instead of "Yesterday".  In any case, let the net controller know if the data is not the last 24 hours as of net time.

ESTIMATING WIND SPEED - THE BEAUFORT SCALE CONVERSION CHART

DESCRIPTIVE TERM      BEAUFORT FORCE SPEED RANGE
km/h
KNOTS AVERAGE SPECIFICATION FOR ESTIMATING SPEED
Calm 0 Less than 1   Smoke rises vertically.
Light Air 1 1-5 2 Direction of wind shown by smoke drift but not wind vanes.
Light Breeze 2 6-11 5 Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vane moved by wind.
Gentle Breeze 3 12-19 9 Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; wind extends light flag.
Moderate Breeze 4 20-28 14 Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved.
Fresh Breeze 5 29-38 19 Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters.
Strong Breeze 6 39-49 25 Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty.
Near Gale 7 50-61 31 Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt in walking against wind.
Gale 8 62-74 37 Breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress.
Strong Gale 9 75-88 44 Slight structural damage occurs, e.g., to roofing shingles, TV antenna, etc.
Storm 10 89-102 52 Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage occures.
Violent Storm 11 103-117 60 Very rarely experienced; accompanied by widespread damage.
Hurricane 12 Above 118    

 

Weather Net reporting form - an old 1994 chart for net controllers to tally reports - also handy for observers.  It still works when all else fails!