Don’t forget the big weather picture

One of the slickest features of WeatherSpork that many of our members are raving about is the vertical depiction within the route profile and meteogram views.  The route profile like the one shown below is an incredibly useful tool to visualize how the weather will impact your route in four dimensions (fourth dimension being time).  However, one of those dimensions is pretty narrow.  The corridor used in WeatherSpork only considers a narrow slice of the atmosphere.  It’s important to acknowledge that this tiny corridor is like driving down the road looking through a straw.

It’s very possible that your route could be bumping up against some serious weather.  Just by shifting your route by 75 to 100 nm may put you in that weather.  Or perhaps you end up running late;  a change of just two or three hours might also cause you to be in weather you hadn’t planned to encounter based on the original narrow corridor shown in the vertical profile.  These vertical views have such a huge glance value, that they can easily lure you into the trap that everything looks great until you stray from the original plan.

My advice is simple; don’t forget the big weather picture.  Looking at the surface analysis, prog charts. constant pressure charts and convective outlooks are still a must.  You can find all of this other great guidance in the WeatherSpork Imagery view such as this 500 mb chart below.  Don’t know how to interpret some of these charts?  No problem.  WeatherSpork has dozens of online workshop available that explain how to use much of the guidance found in the Imagery view. 

Scott Dennstaedt

View posts by Scott Dennstaedt
CFI and former NWS research meteorologist. Co-founder of WeatherSpork
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