This past week, the FAA started releasing airport weather observations (known as METARs) every 5 minutes from every ASOS site at various airports. ASOS, or Automated Surface Observing Systems, are installed at all major and most medium-sized airports in the United States. For example, in the Chicago area, an ASOS is installed at Chicago O’Hare and Midway airports, as well as in suburban airports such as KDPA (DuPage County Airport/West Chicago), KPWK (Palwaukee/Chicago Executive Airport), and some others. (Note: Most smaller airports that report weather data use AWOS, or the Automated Weather Observing System. Those reports are only available every 20 minutes on the NWS/FAA circuits, and I have heard of no plans to have those update more regularly).
As of today, I am very pleased to announce that the METAR feed for GRLevelX, WSV3 and AllisonHouse Maps customers automatically gets the regular observations, specials, and now ALL of the 5 minute observations as well! This means you get 10 more weather observations from every ASOS every hour! No matter if you have a Storm Chaser or Hunter subscription, you will always see the very latest reported observation. Currently, due to processing, the FAA delays the 5 minute reports by up to 10 minutes, and we need to tweak things on our end next week to reduce the delay time on our end as well…which really isn’t much, but we can do a little bit better. Having said that, this is important, and we wanted to get this to you NOW! The FAA started sending the data at 15Z on Tuesday, June 28, and I beta-tested it starting late on the 29th. We are happy with what we see, so away we go! No need to twiddle your thumbs waiting for that top-of-the-hour ob anymore…now you can see what is happening as the weather happens!
P.S. A few of you “in the know” may wonder if they are going to ever release the 1 minute observations. Due to bandwidth and processing, not in the foreseeable future. But, even so, this is a big improvement, and this upgrade comes at NO ADDITIONAL COST to you! Enjoy, subscribers! Wait…you’re not a subscriber and want these? Get yourself GRLevel3 or Analyst, and then head to http://www.allisonhouse.com to sign up!
P.P.S. GREarth is being worked on as I type this to incorporate these observations as well; our other app partners are in the loop, too. Stay tuned, those will hopefully be available soon after it passes our quality control muster, and our providers integrate them into their software!