Ask any meteorologist or serious weather watcher in the United States and they’ll tell you that the National Weather Service Area Weather Forecast Discussion, or AFD, is one of the most information-dense and valuable weather resources available.
The AFD represents the notes of the expert meteorologists in your local forecast office as they are producing the various weather forecast products that you and your local meteorologist will use to produce your forecast. The AFD encapsulates the thought process, statistical likelihood of various outcomes based on model data, the big factors influencing the forecast in your area, etc.
The true power and value of the Area Weather Forecast Discussion to you is that it arms you with the knowledge to understand what’s happening in your local weather, even if certain aspects of the official forecast don’t come to pass. You’ll be able to adjust your understanding of the weather as it changes, which is incredibly useful.
The AFD is broken down into several subsections dealing with long range, short range, aviation weather, fire weather, marine weather, etc. These sections are produced independently and updated as needed.
For pilots, the Aviation Weather forecast section is a great overview of what to expect in terms of VFR/IFR, mountain obscurations, etc. It will help you understand why a given SIGMET or AIRMET was issued, for example.
As a pilot, backpacker and general weather watcher, I’ve sought out and read Forecast Discussions for many years for all the reasons listed above. While they are publicly available, they’re not in the most convenient format or easily accessible. For these reasons, we developed the iOS app Deep Weather to make it incredibly easy to access and digest this highly valuable weather resource.
Deep Weather for iPhone and iPad is free to download and contains no ads. We’re continuously adding new features and improvements. Give it a try today.
You can also read more about Deep Weather here.