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The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) uses shapefiles for base maps in the system. These shapefiles contain boundaries of areas used by NWS for forecasts and warnings as well as map backgrounds.
The County Warning Area boundaries are the counties/zones for which each Weather Forecast Office (WFO) is responsible for issuing forecasts and warnings. The shapefile was created by aggregating public zones with the same CWA designation into a single polygon and manually adjusting the boundaries of the exceptions to the rule.
The NWS county and state borders are background map used internally in NWS.
Coastal Marine Zone Forecast
This map layer contains links to NWS marine weather forecasts for coastal or nearshore waters within 20nm of shore out to Day 5. It includes predictions on the likelihood of precipitation and/or reduced visibility, surface wind direction and speed, seas or combined seas, and icing. Air temperature forecasts are optional. The forecasts will also include any marine weather advisories, watches, and/or warnings. The purpose of the forecasts is to support and promote safe transportation across the coastal waters. The forecasts are issued twice per day with updates as necessary by NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) along the coast and Great Lakes.
Offshore Zone Forecasts
This map layer contains links to NWS marine weather forecasts for offshore waters beyond 20 or 30nm of shore out to Day 5. The forecast provides information to mariners who travel on the oceanic waters adjacent to the U.S., its territorial coastal waters and the Caribbean Sea. The forecasts include predictions on the likelihood of precipitation and/or reduced visibility, surface wind direction and speed, seas and likelihood of icing out to Day 5 along with information about any warnings. The offshore forecasts for the Western North Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific Oceans are produced by NWS/NCEP's Ocean Prediction Center. The offshore forecasts for the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea are issued by the NWS/NCEP National Hurricane Center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB). OPC and NHC/TAFB issues the forecasts four times daily at regular intervals, with updates when necessary. The offshore forecast for the waters around Hawaii are issued by the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Honolulu, HI four times daily at regular intervals, with updates when necessary. The offshore forecasts for Alaska waters in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska are issued by NWS Weather Forecast Offices in Alaska at least twice a day with updates as necessary. The WFOs in Alaska include WFO Anchorage, WFO Fairbanks, and WFO Juneau.
Public Weather Zone Forecasts
This layer includes links to NWS web pages posting the latest NWS surface weather forecasts, a zone-type forecast providing the average forecast conditions across the zone, usually at the county-scale or sub-county scale. These text forecasts include predictions of weather, sky cover, maximum and minimum surface air temperatures, surface wind direction and speed, and probability of precipitation out to 7 days into the future. In addition, the forecast highlights at the top include any active weather advisories, watches, and/or warnings. These zone predictions are derived from gridded forecasts created by NWS Weather Forecast Offices throughout the U.S. The text weather forecasts are usually issued in the early morning (e.g. 4AM LT) and early evening (4PM LT). They are updated during late mornings and late night and during fast changing weather conditions.
Fire Weather Zone Forecasts
This layer includes links to NWS web pages posting the latest NWS Fire Weather Planning Forecasts, a zone-type forecast providing the average fire weather conditions across the zone. According to the NWS, the forecast is "used by land management personnel primarily for input in decision-making related to pre-suppression and other planning." The forecast is valid from the time of issuance through day five and sometimes through day seven and usually has a minimum of three 12-hour time periods. The forecast will have included a discussion of weather patterns affecting the forecast zone or area, identification of any active fire weather watches/warnings and a table of predicted fire weather variables for the next two days: 1) sky/weather conditions, 2) max/min air temperatures, 3) max/min relative humidity, 4) 0-minute average wind direction/speed at 20 feet and sometimes at another height (e.g. 10,000, 15,000 ft), 5) precipitation amount, duration, and timing, 6) mixing height, 7) transport winds, 8) vent category, and 9) several fire weather indices such as Haines Index, Lightning Activity (LAL), Chance of Wetting Rainfall (CWR), Dispersion Index, Low Visibility Occurrence Risk Index (LVORI), and Max LVORI. In addition, it will usually have a forecast in plain text for days 3 to 7. Sometimes an optional outlook of expected conditions for day 6 or possibly for day 6 and 7 is expected. The forecasts are issued by NWS WFOs at least once daily during the local fire season.
Coastal Marine: https://www.weather.gov/gis/CoastalMarineMetadata
Public Zones: https://www.weather.gov/gis/PublicZoneMetadata
Fire Zones: https://www.weather.gov/gis/FireZoneMetadata
Link to data download: https://www.weather.gov/gis/AWIPSShapefiles
Questions/Concerns about the service, please contact the IDP-GIS team
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