Ashfall Advisory
An advisory issued for conditions associated with airborne ash plume resulting in ongoing deposition at the surface. Ashfall may originate directly from a volcanic eruption, or indirectly by wind suspending the ash.
Automated Surface Observing System
The ASOS program is a joint effort of the National Weather Service (NWS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Defense (DOD). Completed in the mid-1990s, the ASOS systems serve as the nation's primary surface weather observing network. ASOS is designed to support weather forecast activities and aviation operations and, at the same time, support the needs of the meteorological, hydrological, and climatological research communities.
Critical Rainfall Probability
(Abbrev. CRP) - In hydrologic terms, the Probability that the actual precipitation during a rainfall event has exceeded or will exceed the flash flood guidance value.
County Warning and Forecast Area
Dam Failure
In hydrologic terms, catastrophic event characterized by the sudden, rapid, and uncontrolled release of impounded water.
Equilibrium Surface Discharge
In hydrologic terms, the steady rate of surface discharge which results from a long-continued, steady rate of net rainfall, with discharge rate equal to net rainfall rate
Excessive Rainfall Outlook (ERO)
A graphical product in which the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) forecasts the probability that rainfall will exceed flash flood guidance (FFG) within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of a point.
Forecast Area
Federal Aviation Administration
In hydrologic terms, the external surface of a structure, such as the surface of a dam.
In solar-terrestrial terms, a bright region of the photosphere seen in white light, seldom visible except near the solar limb.
(abbrev. F) The standard scale used to measure temperature in the United States. On this scale, the freezing point of water is 32°F and the boiling point is 212°F. To convert a Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit, multiply it by 9/5 and then add 32:

°F = (°C * 9/5) + 32
It is usually used at night to describe less than 3/8 opaque clouds, no precipitation, no extremes of visibility, temperature or winds. It describes generally pleasant weather conditions.
the season of the year which is the transition period from summer to winter occurring as the sun approaches the winter solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, fall customarily includes the months of September, October and November.
Fall Line
A skiing term, indicating the line of steepest descent of a slope.
Fall Wind
A strong, cold, downslope wind.
Same as Virga; streaks or wisps of precipitation falling from a cloud but evaporating before reaching the ground. In certain cases, shafts of virga may precede a microburst.
AVN MOS Guidance (older version)
A pattern of plume dispersion in a stable atmosphere, in which the plume fans out in the horizontal and meanders about at a fixed height.
Unit of water depth equal to 6 feet.
Flight Advisory Weather Service
Great Lakes Faxback
Dissemination systems housed at Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Cleveland by which Great Lakes customers request and receive hard copies of selected marine products.
Isentropic Surface
A two-dimensional surface containing points of equal potential temperature.
The intersection of the surface center of a tropical cyclone with a coastline. Because the strongest winds in a tropical cyclone are not located precisely at the center, it is possible for a cyclone's strongest winds to be experienced over land even if landfall does not occur. Similarly, it is possible for a tropical cyclone to make landfall and have its strongest winds remain over the water. Compare direct hit, indirect hit, and strike.
Maximum Sustained Surface Wind
When applied to a particular weather system, refers to the highest one-minute average wind (at an elevation of 10 meters with an unobstructed exposure) associated with that weather system at a particular point in time.
Net Rainfall
In hydrologic terms, the portion of rainfall which reaches a stream channel or the concentration point as direct surface flow.
Normal Water Surface Elevation
In hydrologic terms, the lowest crest level of overflow on a reservoir with a fixed overflow level (spillway crest elevation). For a reservoir whose outflow is controlled wholly or partly by movable gates, siphons, or other means, it is the maximum level to which water may rise under normal operating conditions, exclusive of any provision for flood surcharge.
Peak Flow Arrival Time (PFAT)
The time at which a stream reach is forecast to achieve its maximum flow within the forecast period.
Pressure Falling Rapidly
A decrease in station pressure at a rate of 0.06 inch of mercury or more per hour which totals 0.02 inch or more.
Radar Reflectivity Factor (z)
z = the sum (over i) of (N_i * D_i^6), where N_i is the number of drops of diameter D_i in a pulse resolution volume. Note that z may be expressed in linear or logarithmic units. The radar reflectivity factor is simply a more meteorologically meaningful way of expressing the radar reflectivity.
Also known as HF FAX, radiofax or weatherfax, is a means of broadcasting graphic weather maps and other graphic images via HF radio. HF radiofax is also known as WEFAX, although this term is generally used to refer to the reception of weather charts and imagery via satellite. Maps are received using a dedicated radiofax receiver or a single sideband shortwave receiver connected to an external facsimile recorder or PC equipped with a radiofax interface and application software.
Abbreviation for radiofacsimile
The amount of precipitation of any type, primarily liquid. It is usually the amount that is measured by a rain gauge. Refer to rain for rates of intensity and the quantitative precipitation for forecasting.
Rainfall Estimates
A series of NEXRAD products that employ a Z-R relationship to produce accumulations of surface rainfall from observed reflectivity.
Reflectivity Factor
The result of a mathematical equation (called the Weather Radar Equation) that converts the analog power (in Watts) received by the radar antenna into a more usable quantity. The reflectivity factor (denoted by Z) takes into account several factors, including the distance of a target from the radar, the wavelength of the transmitted radiation, and certain assumptions about the kind and size of targets detected by the radar. The reflectivity factor ranges over several orders of magnitudes, so it is usually expressed on a logarithmic scale called dBZ (decibels of reflectivity).
Sea Surface Temperatures
The term refers to the mean temperature of the ocean in the upper few meters.
Short Wave Fade (SWF)
In solar-terrestrial terms, a particular ionospheric solar flare effect under the broad category of sudden ionospheric disturbances (SIDs) whereby short-wavelength radio transmissions, VLF, through HF, are absorbed for a period of minutes to hours.
Subsurface Storm Flow
In hydrologic terms, the lateral motion of water through the upper layers until it enters a stream channel. This usually takes longer to reach stream channels than runoff. This also called interflow.
Subtle Heavy Rainfall Signature
This heavy rain signature is often difficult to detect on satellite. These warm top thunderstorms are often embedded in a synoptic-scale cyclonic circulation. Normally, they occur when the 500 mb cyclonic circulation is quasi-stationary or moves slowly to the east or northeast (about 2 degrees per 12 hours). The average surface temperature is 68ºF with northeasterly winds. The average precipitable water (P) value is equal to or greater than 1.34 inches and the winds veer with height, but they are relatively light. The heavy rain often occurs north and east of the vorticity maximum across the lower portion of the comma head about 2 to 3 degrees north or northeast of the 850 mb low.
Surface Energy Budget
The energy or heat budget at the earth's surface, considered in terms of the fluxes through a plane at the earth-atmosphere interface. The energy budget includes radiative, sensible, latent and ground heat fluxes.
Surface impoundment
In hydrologic terms, an indented area in the land's surface, such as a pit, pond, or lagoon.
Surface Runoff
In hydrologic terms, the runoff that travels overland to the stream channel. Rain that falls on the stream channel is often lumped with this quantity.
Surface Water
Water that flows in streams and rivers and in natural lakes, in wetlands, and in reservoirs constructed by humans.
Surface Weather Chart
An analyzed synoptic chart of surface weather observations. A surface chart shows the distribution of sea-level pressure (therefore, the position of highs, lows, ridges and troughs) and the location and nature of fronts and air masses. Often added to this are symbols for occurring weather phenomena. Although the pressure is referred to mean sea level, all other elements on this chart are presented as they occur at the surface point of observation.
Surface-based Convection
Convection occurring within a surface-based layer, i.e., a layer in which the lowest portion is based at or very near the earth's surface. Compare with elevated convection.
Three-Hour Rainfall Rate
This WSR-88D Radar product displays precipitation total (in inches) of the current and past two clock hours as a graphical image. It displays hourly precipitation total (in inches) as a graphical image (polar format with resolution 1.1 nm by 1 degree). It is updated once an hour. It is used to:
1) Assess rainfall intensities and amounts over a longer viewing interval; and
2) Possibly adjust flash flood guidance values since the product corresponds to the timing of Flash Flood Guidance values.
Tornado Family
A series of tornadoes produced by a single supercell, resulting in damage path segments along the same general line.
System for transmitting weather charts and imagery via satellite. Occasionally used as an abbreviation for radiofacsimile via HF radio.
Wind Chill Factor
Increased wind speeds accelerate heat loss from exposed skin. No specific rules exist for determining when wind chill becomes dangerous. As a general rule, the threshold for potentially dangerous wind chill conditions is about -20°F.

You can either type in the word you are looking for in the box below or browse by letter.


Browse by letter:

#  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z