Aviation short time forecast is the best one you can get. We are so lucky having Mather Airport (symbol is KMHR) near our field so we can use current weather conditions published for pilots there as well as short term forecast. But not all modelers are full scale pilots so how to read this?
- At our front page there are two clocks. The left one is 12-hour clock (the blue one) is showing current local time. On the right side there is a military 24-hours clock (the red one) showing Universal time called "ZULU TIME". Aviation weather is always published in ZULU time. During the summer time (daylight saving time) we are 7 hours behind ZULU, otherwise we are 8 hours behind ZULU. It means if it is 10am local in the summer time it is 5pm (17:00) ZULU. If you want to check the forecast for 3pm (15:00) local time, just look for the forecast around 10pm (22:00) ZULU.
- Now click on the link aviation forecast on the main page. It will open the new window with "translated" current Aviation forecast (TAF) for Mather Airport (KMHR) published by Aviation Digital Data Service - the best you can get here. If you don't know how to read the grey-shaded text, don't worry. It is "raw" format, and it is "translated" into readable text below.
- The first part consist of METAR - Current weather condition - notice, that the time is in ZULU. What we are looking for - the most critical for us - is the wind. METAR shows direction and speed.
- The second section has multiple listings of weather parameters in the following periods (TAF). The period is explained in the line labeled "Forecast period". Just remember - period is in ZULU time.
Now, when you know how to use it, I bet you will never go to the flying field without checking this forecast first.