NOAA 2000-218
Contact: John Leslie


As vacationers head to the nation's airports this summer, a new forecast tool is ready to help air traffic controllers lessen weather-related flight delays and cancellations, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today. Starting April 1, the Collaborative Convective Forecast Product, created by NOAA's National Weather Service's Aviation Weather Center, airline meteorologists and the Federal Aviation Administration, will provide extended weather outlooks of up to six hours that will help flight officials route planes around thunderstorms.

"Increasing the safety of America's skies, while cutting down the number of weather-related flight delays and cancellations, are the goals of this new forecast product," said John J. Kelly, Jr., director of the National Weather Service.

After a two-year test to hone the speed and accuracy of the aviation forecasts generated by the CCFP, the program has received high marks.

"This is cutting-edge," said James Wetherly, technical manager of the FAA's Collaborative Decision Making Product Team. "There's nothing out there quite like this," he said, referring to the CCFP's ability to give aviation officials the most current forecast several hours ahead, and is strategically used to re-route flights around potential trouble areas.

Here's how the CCFP works:

  • First, meteorologists at the Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Mo., develop forecast outlooks for severe storms across the country based on current conditions, numerical models and their own expertise;
  • Secondly, the forecasts are graphically enhanced and reviewed over the Internet by commercial airline meteorologists, the National Weather Service Air Traffic Weather Service Units and FAA personnel at the National Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, Va.;
  • Then the FAA, in collaboration with airline dispatchers, uses the forecasts to make key decisions that impact flights around the nation.

    Kelly added: "We will constantly work with the FAA to diminish the impact bad weather plays before and during flights."

The Aviation Weather Center, is a national center that provides forecasts and warnings for weather conditions that affect flight safety including turbulence, thunderstorms, wind shear, icing and low clouds.