Surface Weather Map Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

MesoWest has been designed for use by National Weather Service meteorologists and other professionals for protection of life and property. Comments/suggestions for improvement may be sent to

MesoWest has compiled a listing of Frequently Asked Questions relating to our Surface Weather Map Interface. Feel free to browse these questions and if you have an additional question, please contact us at

The red arrows with bold lettering denote the question, while the answer is provided below with a blue arrow.

Last Updated: December 28, 2011.

Why does it take a long time for some data to load onto the surface map?
This could be due to a number of reasons. A common reason for longer loading times is if "All Networks" is selected over a large region. This could slow down performance due to many stations being accessed and loaded simultaneously onto the surface map. Of course, other reasons could include slow internet speed or browser performance with the surface map itself.

When I choose "SNOTEL" for a network option, how come no observations are displayed?
This may be because the most recent SNOTEL observations may be more than 1 hour old from the present time. To fix this, click on "Time Options" in the left panel and set "Reports in last:" to be 3 hours or longer.

The plotting method used for wind barbs does not seem correct. What do the wind barbs mean?
A full wind barb represents 5 m/s (10 kts), while a half wind barb represents 2.5 m/s (5 kts). Using this method keeps the wind barbs fairly consistent regardless of the units chosen. They also help to provide more detail when metric units are selected.

Is it possible to print or save an image of the surface map?
Yes, you can click on "Print Maps" which will open a new window with just the map image on it. From here you can save the image or print it if you like.

Is it also possible to print a surface map with both observations and overlays?
Yes, this can be done by saving your settings to a My MesoWest profile. Then close the surface map, reopen, and reload your My MesoWest profile. An option will appear in the top-right corner of the Webpage called "Print Profile". This will allow you to print the surface map with overlays included.

How do I get from the surface weather map to the tabular products?
All of the tabular displays can be accessed through the menu at the very top of the page. Use the drop menus to select location and product (e.g. "UTAH", "Current Weather Summary") then click "Go".

How come only a few stations show when I open the map? Shouldn't there be more stations?
If you are opening the map for the first time, or if you are not using a My MesoWest profile, then the map defaults to show only stations owned by the National Weather Service (NWS). This is done simply so the map loads quickly. To view all stations, select "All Networks" on the left panel and click "Map It" to reload the map.

I have selected "All Networks", but some stations are still not showing up. Is there a problem?
Recall from the previous question on SNOTEL stations that the map defaults to show stations that have reported in the past hour from the current time. Some stations only report a few times a day, or once a day in rare cases. To fix this, click on "Time Options" in the left panel and set "Reports in last:" to be 3 hours or longer.

The station's Quality Control Check says "OK", but the data does not look correct. Is the Quality Control Check not working?
The Quality Control method is used to try to indicate erroneous observations before the data are ingested into our database. The method only checks temperature, relative humidity, wind, and pressure. Precipitation is not quality controlled due to the complex nature of trying to quality control precipitation in real time. For more information, please see our Quality Control Information page.

How come when I try loading the surface weather map, a message appears saying there is no data available?
There are a couple of potential causes. The most likely cause would be that MesoWest is experiencing a database issue. We apoligize in advance for these if they occur, and feel free to check the MesoWest Status page or MesoWest Facebook page for updates. Another rare case could be that you have found a region with no observations.

I had saved the fire layers as a profile, but why doesn't any large fire information show when I reload it?
Currently, MesoWest does not support saving large fire information as a profile option.

I added overlays to a surface map, but when I change a setting in "Time Options" and refresh the data, the overlays dissapear. Is there any way to save the overlays so this doesn't happen?
Yes, you can save the overlays (fire layers excluded) into a My MesoWest profile. Then when you load the profile and change anything under "Time Options", the overlays will still be preserved.