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National Weather Service - San Francisco/Monterey Bay Area - FAQ's
......FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
  1. How can I reach the National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area Office? Answer

  2. I need historical weather or climate information. Where can I find historical data? Answer

  3. What is GMT, Zulu (Z), and UTC time? I often see "GMT, UTC, or Z" on weather maps, satellite photos or radar images, but I don't know what it means. Answer

  4. While reading a Forecast Discussion and I came upon words or terms I was unfamiliar with. Where can I go to find definitions for weather terms? Answer

  5. Where can I find a map showing the Jet Stream on the Internet? Answer

  6. I keep getting a "old" version of a product. What's wrong? Answer

  7. Why do rainfall amounts depicted on the San Francisco Bay Area NWS radar (one hour total and storm total) not match up with what has actually fallen? Answer

  8. How do I read those numbers at the bottom of the Zone Forecasts that look like this:

    SAN FRANCISCO	64   52   68 /   30    0    0
    SAN JOSE   	67   53   67 /   30    0    0
    Answer

  9. I'm not sure which forecast zone I live in. Is there a map of forecast zones? How about marine forecast zones or maps of county warning areas? Answer

  10. I want to learn more about weather. Is there a place for on-line learning? Answer

  11. What does El Niño or La Niña mean for ___________ (fill in the blank with your particular place of interest) this year? Answer

  12. How do I arrange a tour of the National Weather Service Office in Monterey? Answer

  13. I am interested in a career in meteorology. Where can I get information on this topic? Answer

  14. I'm confused about weather terminology, like what scattered showers means, or what the heat index is. Where can I go for answers? Answer

  15. What is 15 degrees Celsius converted to the fahrenheit? What about other meteorological conversions? Answer









  1. How can I reach the National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area Office?

    Recorded forecast information is available 24 hrs/day, 7 days/week by calling:
    831-656-1725
    A forecaster is available to answer questions Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

    Mail: 21 Grace Hopper Ave, STOP 5, Monterey, CA 93943-5505
    Drive: Call for directions - 831-656-1725

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  2. I need historical weather or climate information. Where can I find historical data?

    Look first in the CLIMATE SECTION of this homepage or contact:

    National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
    Asheville, NC
    828-271-4800
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/

    Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC)
    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Ratio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512-1095
    Phone: 775-674-7010
    Fax: 775-674-7016
    E-mail: wrcc@dri.edu

    Many public and university libraries have collections of climatological information. There is also daily climate data in most local newspapers.

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  3. What is GMT, Zulu (Z), and UTC time? I often see "GMT, UTC, or Z" on weather maps, satellite photos or radar images, but I don't know what it means.

    GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time and UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time. GMT, Z and UTC refer to the same time, which is a standard used around the world by the military and other agencies. It can also be thought of as the time at the Prime Meridian, or zero degrees longitude. Greenwich is a borough of London that the Prime Meridian runs through. Hence the name Greenwich time.
    To convert this time to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), subtract 7 hours. To convert to Pacific Standard Time (PST), subtract 8 hours. Here are a few examples:

    Convert 2030Z to PDT: 2030 - 7 hours = 1330 (1:30 pm PDT)

    Convert 0000 GMT October 8, 1996 to PST: Note: 0000 GMT is equivalent to 2400 GMT 2400 - 8 hours = 1600 (4:00 pm PST October 7 , 1996) Remember: This would be midnight in England, so that's why it's October 8 in GMT and October 7 in PST.

    Convert 0830 UTC to PDT: 0830 - 7 hours = 0130 (1:30 am PDT)

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  4. While reading a Forecast Discussion and I came upon words or terms I was unfamiliar with. Where can I go to find definitions for weather terms?

    Many meteorology terms are not easily defined. In fact, some are so complex, they require courses in meteorology and physics in order to fully understand them. However, a glossary exists which defines many of the terms used in forecast discussions.

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  5. Where can I find a map showing the Jet Stream on the WWW?

    Try these excellent ones from Dr. Dave Dempsey at San Francisco State University: North Pacific, United States

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  6. I keep getting a "old" version of a product. What's wrong?

    Most frequently this occurs when your browser uses a product it has "stuck" in its cache. Usually clicking on the "RELOAD" or "REFRESH" button will get the latest version. Secondarily try clearing your browser's cache. [In Netscape go to: Options, Network Preferences, Cache; then click on the appropriate button(s)]. For some sites there are backup sources available, which can be used. Occasionally, equipment failures can prevent updated NWS products from reaching our web pages for several days. In these cases, once we become aware of the problem we place an explanation message on the main page. We have people who fix the problem, but it is not always a quick fix. In the meantime, we ask for your patience. In addition, some links on our web site are maintained by sources outside our office, many of which are not affiliated with the NWS. If these links become outdated, please contact the webmaster responsible for that link. If you need further explanation, send us an email: w-mtr.webmaster@noaa.gov

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  7. Why does rainfall on the radar (one hour total and storm total) not match up with what has actually fallen?

    The rainfall depicted on the radar maps are estimates of what the radar's precipitation algorithms (computer programs) have accumulated. These are not always accurate estimations, particularly beyond about fifty miles from the radar site in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Because the earth surface curves away from the radar, and the because the radar beam scans at a little bit above horizontal, the radar beam is scanning a progressively higher altitudes above the surface as it moves away from the radar site. This causes the beam to scan above the precipitating cloud as it moves farther away. So, be aware that precipitation estimates from the radar ofter underestimate rainfall, particularly at locations more than 50 miles from the radar site.

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  8. How do I read those numbers at the bottom of the Zone Forecasts that look like this:

    SAN FRANCISCO	64   52   68 /   30    0    0
    SAN JOSE   	67   53   67 /   30    0    0
    The numbers preceding the "/" are the temperature forecasts corresponding to the periods in the text forecast (in this case, today, tonight, and next day). Thus, for the SAN FRANCISCO, the projected high temperature for today is 64, the projected low for tonight is 52, and the projected high for the next day is 68.

    The numbers following the "/" are the precipitation chances (Probability of Precipitation or PoPS, in NWS jargon) for the periods in the forecast. In this case, the SAN FRANCISCO has a 30 percent chance of measurable (at least .01 inch) precipitation today, and less than a 10 percent chance tonight and the next day.

    In some cases there will be four numbers on either side of the "/". This occurs on our afternoon and evening forecasts. The periods correspond to tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night, and the following day. The four numbers on either side of the "/" correspond to those four periods.

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  9. I'm not sure which forecast zone I live in. Is there a map of forecast zones? How about marine forecast zones or maps of county warning areas?

    back to questions

  10. I want to learn more about weather. Is there a place for on-line learning?

    Here are some links for on-line weather learning:
    National Weather Service online weather school


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  11. What does El Niño or La Niña mean for ___________ (fill in the blank with your particular place of interest) this year?

    It is scenically and practically very difficult to make site specific forecast more than 5 days in advance.

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  12. How do I arrange a tour of the National Weather Service Office in Monterey?

    All tours of the National Weather Service Office must be scheduled in advance and are limited in size to 20 or less. Tours may have to be rescheduled at short notice if significant weather is possible during the scheduled tour time. If children wish to tour our office, we ask that they be accompanied by adults and be at the fifth grade level or above. Tours are usually scheduled Monday-Friday between the hours of 11:00 am and 12:30 pm. If you are interested in scheduling a tour, contact our Warning Coordination Meteorologist. If you send a request via email, please include:

    • 1.) Your name
    • 2.) A phone number where you can be reached.
    • 3.) When you would like to visit (try to provide a couple dates so we may easily accomodate you).
    • 4.) Number of people in the group.

    You will be contacted as soon as possible. At that time we will provide you with directions to the office.

    You may also arrange a tour by phone by calling, M-F, 8 am to 4 pm:

    • 831-656-1725

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  13. I am interested in a career in meteorlogy. Where can I get information on this topic?
    The American Meteorological Society

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  14. I'm confused about weather terminology, like what scattered showers means, or what the heat index is. Where can I go for answers?
    probability of precipitation
    wind
    temperature
    sky cover
    heat index
    wind chill

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  15. What is 15 degrees celcius converted to the fahrenheit? What about
    other meteorological conversions?

    Here are some links for meteorological conversions:
    Weather Calculator


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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Weather Service
San Francisco/Monterey Bay Area Weather Forecast Office
21 Grace Hopper Ave, Stop 5
Monterey, CA 93943-5505

Tel: (831)-656-1725

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