Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

How can I toggle off the GIS maps?

For those with older browsers or slow network connections, it's recommended to toggle off the GIS interactive maps. This is done through the User Settings page.

How can I replicate the left hand menu links?

The old left hand menu offered a quick way to access several pages. The new layout won't allow this. To replace this functionality, a "Favorites" bar has been added to the page. The favorites bar displays at the top of every page and offers the user a set of quick links into any page on the site. This can be tailored to each user. This is done through the User Settings page.

Why change the WEB page?

New Layout

In the fall of 2012, the National Weather Service web site was upgraded to a new modern layout. All NWS and NCEP sites are in the process of upgrading their sites. The AWC website was upgraded to the new layout on March 25th, 2014.

JAVA Problems

In October of 2012, a “Day Zero” vulnerability was discovered in the JAVA browser plug-in. Various patches have been applied as well as recommended setting changes. Many ISPs and organizations are disabling JAVA as a precaution. For this reason, many of our users are unable to fully utilize parts our WEB site which are JAVA intensive.

Also, with Oracle's upgrade to Java version 7, we've noticed that the Java tools no longer work reliably on older systems such as Windows XP. In these cases, the applets either run slow or just hang. We've even had problems getting the Java tools to run on Windows 7. This lack of reliability is forcing us to move away from Java for the client applications.

In early 2013, we decided to move in a new direction with Open-Layers, GIS (Geographic Information System) interfaces to eventually replace the Java applets and applications.

We will continue to support Java for the conceivable future for the Java applications such as the Flight Path Tool. The Java applets will be removed by the end of 2014. Of course, some of the Java issues will be resolved by future Java upgrades. In the meantime, here are some steps to try and get Java running on your system:

  1. The latest version of JAVA (and probably every update from now on) sets the security to "Very High" by default. This needs to be changed to "High" (the old default).
  2. From your "Start" menu,
    Select "Control Panel"
    Select "Java
    Select the "Security" tab
    Change the Security level to "High(minimum recommended).

Where's a tutorial on the new site?

A brief tutorial on the new functions is available at /help/tutorial. Please check it out.

How do I navigate the new site?

The left hand menu is gone with the new NWS layout. Most of what was in the old left hand menu is available from the drop down menus. The categories for Advisories, Forecasts, Observations and User Tools are roughly the same. It will take some getting used to but we're hoping people like the cleaner interface.

Many of the old pages were cleaned up and simplified for the new site. You'll be able to access much of the same data even though it will be laid out differently on the page. Please check out the online tutorial for more information.

What browsers can I run the GIS maps on?

The GIS Maps use an interface called OpenLayers which provides a Javascript based interface for accessing geospatial data. We've found that not all browsers work the same with Javascript and we're working to make sure the GIS maps run on as many browsers as possible.

OpenLayers is built around Mozilla Firefox. Here is the list of supported browsers for OpenLayers:

  • Mozilla v1.8
  • FireFox 1.0+
  • Internet Explorer 6.0+
  • Safari v2.0+
  • Opera v9.0+
  • Netscape vX.X

We've tested the site on the latest browsers for iOS (iPad, iPhone), Android and Windows 8 and RT for phones and tablets. We've noticed some issues on Windows Surface displays that we're looking to fix. Please let us know of any browser issues.

If I find a bug, how do I submit it?

You can use the feedback page to submit a bug, a suggestion for improvements or a general comment. There are some new features and there will be some initial bugs. Please don't hesitate to let us know. We run a deployment of functionality upgrades every Tuesday, if needed. Critical bugs will be fixed ASAP. To submit feedback, go to: /contact.

How can I pan and zoom the GIS interactive maps?

To pan on the map, hold down the mouse button on the map and move it. This will drag the map and then the data will redraw to the new location. On a tablet or phone, press your finger to the display and move it. On the keyboard, the arrow keys can be used to pan the map.

To zoom on the map, use the mouse wheel. Moving the wheel away zooms in and moving the wheel toward you zooms out. You can also use the "+" and "-" buttons in the upper left of the display to zoom in and out. Double clicking on the map (or double tapping on a tablet) will also zoom in. And by pressing the "shift" key and dragging the mouse, it will select a region to zoom in to. On the keyboard, the "+" key will zoom in and the "insert" key will zoom out.

How do I access historical data?

It depends on the data type:

  • METARs/TAFs Up to 36 hours: (via “Request METAR Data)
  • METARs/Aircraft Reports/Tafs/AIRMETs/SIGMETs/G-AIRMETs/Station Info up to 3 days:
  • For all else ... The official resource for archived NWS data is the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC):
    To access the online archive, go to:
    and then select "SRRS Text Products". From there, you can enter the type of data and the period of time for the request. The results will be sent back in an email roughly 30 minutes after the request. The email will have a link to the data.

Where can I find NOTAMs?

NOTAMs are managed by the FAA, and can be viewed via the PilotWeb Site: