Click on this: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/sfc/print_usbw.gif
1. This is the latest surface map. Print this map each day and hang it on the wall. My students used to like to color in the map. (To get earlier maps is a little difficult). If you want to try it. Click: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/sfc2.shtml Scroll down to near the bottom of the page. Under Product and/or region, find U.S.CONUS, PRINTER FRIENDLY. Here you can get the latest maps or any earlier maps by just clicking on the one you desire. You may select 12z, 15z, 18z, 21z, 00z, 03z, 06z, and 09z. (See actual time of maps for your guidance).
2. DO YOU SEE AN H? The H stands for a high-pressure system. (Blue)
3. DO YOU SEE AN L? The L stands for a low-pressure system. (Red)
4. DO YOU SEE BLACK SOLID LINES? These lines are isobars. An isobar is a line, on a weather map, connecting places that have the same pressure, at the same time.
5. Click on this: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/fntcodes2.shtml (Print this & hang it on the wall).
6. DO YOU SEE A COLD FRONT? COLOR IT BLUE
7. DO YOU SEE A WARM FRONT? COLOR IT RED
8. CAN YOU FIND A STATIONARY FRONT? COLOR IT Red & Blue
9. CAN YOU FIND AN OCCLUDED FRONT? COLOR IT Blue & red
10. CAN YOU FIND ANY AREAS OF PRECIPITATION? Look for areas with rain (..) or snow (**) or Thunderstorms. Color these areas with a green coloring pencil.
11. Color all HS (BLUE) and Ls (RED). Also color all Fronts, isobars, and precipitation. Hang the finished map on the wall.
WHAT ARE THOSE CIRCLES LOCATED ON THE MAP WITH NUMBERS & THINGS AROUND THEM? SEE BELOW!
CLICK ON THIS: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/stationplot.shtml
(Print this and Hang it on the wall)!
From this one can see where to record the current temperature, pressure, precipitation type and intensity, wind direction and speed, cloud cover, dew point temperature and pressure tendency. Wind direction and speed are more difficult than the rest. Read the chapter on the wind. The wind barb always points into where the wind is coming from. A northerly wind would show the barb coming from above the circle to the center whereas a southerly wind would show the barb coming from below the circle and going to the center. The number of flags & barbs connected to the line indicates wind speed. One complete barb equals ten (10) knots. One half barb equals five (5) knots.
WHERE IS THE PRESSURE PUT ON THE STATION MODEL?
WHERE IS THE PRESSURE TENDENCY PUT ON THE STATION MODEL?
WHERE IS THE TEMPERATURE PUT ON THE STATION MODEL?
WHERE IS THE DEW POINT PUT ON THE STATION MODEL?
WHERE IS THE PRECIPITATION PUT ON THE STATION MODEL?
WHERE IS THE SKY CONDITION PUT ON THE STATION MODEL?
WHERE IS THE VISIBILITY PUT ON THE STATION MODEL?
Now that you have looked this over, examine the weather map that you clicked on at the top of this page. Does it make more sense? Practice makes it easier. Look at the sectional weather maps. Example: The Northeast. Does it now make more sense?
LETS LOOK AT SECTIONS OF THE UNITED STATES ALREADY PLOTTED FOR YOU.
CLICK ON: http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/surface/
Click on any city station on the map to get a plotted surface weather map of that section. For example: click on: CAR, ALB, BWI, CLT, TPA, MGM, EVV, DTW, LIT, DSM, DLH, ICT, ABQ, ABI, PIR, COD, DEN, LAS, WMC ETC. Each one will give you a different section of the country with the data already plotted on it. This is very helpful during storms.
(Please print the station model below and hang it on the wall for reference).
68: Dew point
998: Pressure, to the nearest tenth of a millibar. Add either a 10 or 9 in front based on which would bring the value closer to 1000. The pressure here is 999.8 millibars (mb). (WE ADDED A NINE IN FRONT AND THEN A DECIMAL POINT BEWEEN THE LAST TWO NUMBERS).
-03: Pressure tendency the last 3 hours, to the nearest tenth of a millibar. The pressure here has fallen .3 MB the last 3 hours
Middle Circle (filled in w/ mostly black): Cloud cover. It's mostly black showing that this station is mostly cloudy. Technically, this represents a broken sky with 7/8 of the sky covered with clouds.
Black line, extending from circle: Wind barb. It points to where the wind is coming from. The wind here is from the southwest, hence a southwest wind. The two lines extending represent 20-knot winds with each line representing 10 knots.
Symbol between 77 and 68: (TEMPERATURE AND DEW POINT) This is the present weather field and in this case shows that there is a thunderstorm occurring at the station. (PRESS PRESENT WEATHER).
symbol next to -03: That line is the pressure tendency. The 1st hour the pressure was steady, then fell the last two hours.
Triangle (with a dot above it): Previous weather, or the weather one hour ago. In this case it was a light rain shower.
Thank you UIUC and Purdue/WXP for the images provided on this page