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Project: UK METAR Weather Overview


Dale Hay
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Posted
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and a cracking thunderstorm
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)

    (Note to Admins/Mods: Apologies if this is in the wrong place)

    Hey folks,

    I got bored yesterday and usually when I get bored random ideas pop into my head, and one did so, which I thought might be of use to fellow NW members (and the rest of the WX community elsewhere on the internet), maybe not so at this time of year, but definitely during the year it may have potential to be handy.

    I think the main reason this idea popped into my head, was because earlier this year when various storms were happening and we had quite a few funnel cloud and tornado reports, a lot of people usually refer to METAR reading and I am yet to come across a site that has them all listed in one go. (The US's NWS require you to search each one individually and so do many other places) Which is the reason I decided to make an all-in-one "dashboard" for all the places that hand out METAR readings within the UK.

    At the moment it seems the METAR data is released every 30 minutes [xx:20 and xx:50] (I will modify my stuff if various stations do release data more frequently), so I harvest all this every 30 minutes and have it cached and then relayed onto a dashboard like so:

    ukmwo-1.gif

    Now if a METAR reading from one of the stations does not contain any weather information, the station's block will turn black, like so:

    ukmwo-2.gif

    If however you don't want your screen full of locations reporting no current weather conditions (for whatever reason), then if you clicking "NO WX DATA" in the bottom right corner will switch between showing them and not (however by default I've got them as not showing), then you'll see a more cleaner list of stations:

    ukmwo-3.gif

    Now, even though in the "legend" at the bottom of the screen some things listed probably will never happen, I've included them anyway.

    To test my stuff, I entered some "dummy data" and this is how it would look if one of the METAR reports flagged up any of stuff within the "legend" (full view and cleaner view):

    ukmwo-4.gifukmwo-5.gif

    Then, once a box has been assigned whatever colour corresponds to the event it's reporting, you can click the title or code and a little box will appear showing you the current METAR reading:

    ukmwo-6.gif

    I am also keeping all the METAR reports too from all 99 stations on the list, and will be adding an option soon to view all the METAR data (only dating back to when I first put this project online).

    I think I've waffled on a fair bit too much for something quite simple. I hope this is something that people would use (there's no adverts on there and also the design is as simple as simple can be - because I like things to run as quick as they can).

    Few final things:

    - The page does automatically refresh (set to every 5 minutes)

    - The "full" page weighs in at 9.9KB (that's if jQuery is cached, if not 40.8KB), so it won't eat your mobile data

    - For better viewing (if you have it on a spare monitor), press [F11] to view it fullscreen.

    Any questions, comments or queries? Pop them below... oh and along with if you have an idea for something else, I'd love to hear it as I've been doing computer and web programming since I was 12 (so a good 15 years) - obviously just a hobby - and I'll see what I can do. :)

    UPDATES

    10th December 2014

    - Wind speed and direction, along with gust speeds also now being reported.

    - Removed "Dust Devil" from legend.

    - Added "ORDER BY WIND" option to the legend.

    - Changed the "NO WX DATA" blocks from black to a grey colour.

    PREVIEW

    LIVE VIEW:

    http://dalehay.me/metar/

    "DUMMY" VIEW (Showing what it'd look like if something was detected):

    http://dalehay.me/metar2/

    :)

    Edited by Dale Hay
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    Posted
  • Location: Horsham, W. Sussex
  • Weather Preferences: Fog, Drizzle, Rain, Wind and Thunderstorms
  • Location: Horsham, W. Sussex

    Hi Dale,

     

    Nice project. As someone who makes and deals with METARs daily I thought I'd just give you some background. You're correct in that METARs are timestamped :20 or :50. The observation "window" actually begins 5 minutes before and lasts until 5 minutes past the scheduled METAR time. This is to allow time for the observer to make the observation and enter it in to whatever system they are using. The METARs are then sent via a link to the Met Office for quality control. Once QC'd they are send in to the wider world. Because of this time window, transmission delay (due to message priority) and QC its often at least 5 or 10 minutes after the published time that METARs start to appear on the various websites/apps/platforms etc.

     

    There are things called SPECI reports too which are coded METARs but are only send in certain occasions. They are timestamped with the actual time sent, rather than a 50 or 20. They occur when a certain met criterea is met, or a change of weather occurs between two METAR obs which requires updated information to be sent. To my knowledge SPECIs are only sent to the Met Office and to local ATC units rather than the whole world, but if someone knows different then please say!

     

    Most of the different weather types you list, Squalls, Volcanic Ash etc are very very rarely reported. It may be better if you coded wind strength as an indicator. This would at least show which stations have stronger winds and which don't.

     

    Also as the METAR period exists for 30mins, it would be better if the stations listed still showed up after 30mins, again due to the lag in getting data. Perhaps remove an airfield from the screen if it hasn't had updated METARs for two consecutive observations.

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    Posted
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and a cracking thunderstorm
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)

    Thanks for the information jamesbhx. :D

    Most of the different weather types you list, Squalls, Volcanic Ash etc are very very rarely reported. It may be better if you coded wind strength as an indicator. This would at least show which stations have stronger winds and which don't.

    I'll get around to adding the registered wind speeds to the "blocks". :) Maybe also have it so you can order them by descending speeds too. :)

     

    Also as the METAR period exists for 30mins, it would be better if the stations listed still showed up after 30mins, again due to the lag in getting data. Perhaps remove an airfield from the screen if it hasn't had updated METARs for two consecutive observations.

    I was thinking about doing something along those lines yesterday, as looking at it now, I'm only seeing two stations reporting, so it's quite a bare screen.

    Once again, thank you for the info and I'll get around to making the changes and additions to it during the night. :D

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    Posted
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and a cracking thunderstorm
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)

    no Doncaster or Robin Hood airport it usually reports under=egcn

    EGCN's on there, just isn't reporting any weather information at the moment, so it's on the "No WX data" page. :)

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

    EGCN's on there, just isn't reporting any weather information at the moment, so it's on the "No WX data" page. :)

     

    ok tks, it is on XC weather?

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    Posted
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and a cracking thunderstorm
  • Location: Highworth (122m ASL)

    ok tks, it is on XC weather?

    I originally set this up to just show various weather types being detected - unlike XC Weather, which brilliantly does the whole lot - however with it being quiet (besides the odd few thunderstorms earlier), I've added the wind information on there now (if it gets reported). :)
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