Saturday, April 02, 2005

Snowed In

Well I was supposed to go flying today but the weather had other ideas.

KOSU 021753Z 35015G24KT 1/2SM SN FG BKN007 OVC010 01/01 A2948 RMK AO2 SLP987 P0001 60015 T00060006 10022 20006 53006

Here's a brief translation of the above METAR:

KOSU - The airport I fly out of, Ohio State University (K is a designator for all US airports), and the place where the METAR report was generated for.
021753Z - The date and time, 02 is the second day of the month, 1753Z is 12:53 PM EST when the METAR was issued.
35015G24KT - The current winds, 350 is the magnetic heading where the winds are coming from (360 - N, 90 - E, 180 - S, 270 W). 15G24KT means that the wind speed is 15 knots, with gusts up to 24 knots.
1/2SM - Visibility, which is currently half a mile (SM is statue miles, which is the US standard mile). To fly legally VFR the visibility has to be greater than 3 miles (which still isn't alot).
SN - Snow
FG - Fog
BKN007 OVC010 - Clouds/Sky conditions, currently the clouds are broken at 700 ft AGL (above ground level), with an overcast layer at 1000 ft. Since to fly legally VFR I have to stay 500 ft below clouds, that means I have to fly 200 ft - 500 ft above the ground. Far too low for safe flying (rule of thumb for pattern altitude at an airport is 1000 ft AGL).
01/01 - Temperature and dew point in Celcius, the temp is just above freezing. The higher you go of course the colder it gets (SIGMETS show icing conditions at 3000 ft).

That's a short translation of the most critical pieces of information in a METAR, which is just one of the pieces of weather information available to pilots. It's usually the first thing I check when I make a go/no-go decision for flying.

Clear Skies (eventually)!