JetStream Max: Surface Weather Plot Symbols


Cloud types | Present weather | Sky Cover | Pressure tendency | Wind Speed & Direction | Past Weather


Cloud Symbol Priority

Often, more than one cloud type occurs in each level (low, middle, or high) in the atmosphere. However, since only one cloud type is indicated for each level, the cloud that is coded is based upon a priority list of the most predominate cloud for each particular level. At rightBelow is a list of priority and symbol for each cloud type.

Highest to Lowest Priority (left to right)
High-level
clouds
H9 cloud symbol
H9
H7 cloud symbol
H7
H8 cloud symbol
H8
H6 cloud symbol
H6
H5 cloud symbol
H5
H4 cloud symbol
H4
H3 cloud symbol
H3
H2 cloud symbol
H2
H1 cloud symbol
H1
Mid-level
clouds
M9 cloud symbol
M9
M8 cloud symbol
M8
M7 cloud symbol
M7
M6 cloud symbol
M6
M5 cloud symbol
M5
M4 cloud symbol
M4
M3 cloud symbol
M3
M2 cloud symbol
M2
M1 cloud symbol
M1
Low-level
clouds
L9 cloud symbol
L9
L3 cloud symbol
L3
L4 cloud symbol
L4
L8 cloud symbol
L8
L2 cloud symbol
L2
L1 cloud symbol
L1
L5 cloud symbol
L5
L6 cloud symbol
L6
L7 cloud symbol
L7

How is this list used? If more than one cloud type exits for any given level, the cloud with the highest priority is plotted. For example, an observer might see a cumulonimbus (L9) and stratocumulus (L5) at the same time. In the list of priorities, only the cumulonimbus (L9) will be plotted. What types of clouds are represented by these symbols?


Present Weather Symbols

Following are the 100 present weather symbols used in meteorology. They are divided into groups as indicated below.

Codes 00-09 General Group: No precipitation, fog, dust storm, sandstorm, drifting or blowing snow at the station at the time of observation.

  • 00

    Cloud development NOT observed or NOT observable during past hour (not plotted).

  • 01

    Clouds generally dissolving or becoming less developed during past hour (not plotted).

  • 02

    State of sky on the whole unchanged during past hour (not plotted).

  • 03

    Clouds generally forming or developing during past hour (not plotted).

  • 04

    Visibility reduced by smoke.

  • 05

    Haze

  • 06

    Widespread dust in suspension in the air, not raised by wind at or near the station at the time of observation.

  • 07

    Dust or sand raised by the wind at or near the station at the time of the observation, but no well-developed dust whirl(s), and no sandstorm seen: or, in the case of ships, blowing spray at the station.

  • 08

    Well developed dust whirl(s) or sand whirl(s) seen at or near the station during the preceding hour or at the time of observation, but no dust storm or sandstorm.

  • 09

    Dust storm or sandstorm within sight at the time of observation, or at the station during the preceding hour.

Codes 10-19 General Group: No precipitation at the station at the time of observation or, except 17, during the preceding hour.

  • 10

    Mist

  • 11

    Patches of shallow fog at station, NOT deeper than 6 feet on land.

  • 12

    More or less continuous shallow fog at station, NOT deeper than 6 feet on land.

  • 13

    Lighting visible, no thunder heard.

  • 14

    Precipitation within sight, but NOT reaching the ground.

  • 15

    Precipitation within sight, reaching ground or the surface of the sea, but distant, i.e. estimated to be more than 3 miles from the station.

  • 16

    Precipitation within sight, reaching the ground or the surface of the sea, near to (within 3 miles), but not at the station.

  • 17

    Thunder heard, but no precipitation at the station.

  • 18

    Squall(s) within sight during past hour.

  • 19

    Funnel cloud(s) / Tornado(s) during the preceding hour or at time of observation.

Codes 20-29 General Group: Precipitation, fog, ice fog, or thunderstorm at the station during the preceding hour but not at the time of observation.

  • 20

    Rain (not freezing) not falling as shower(s) ended in the past hour.

  • 21

    Snow not falling as shower(s) ended in the past hour.

  • 22

    More or less continuous shallow fog at station, NOT deeper than 6 feet on land.

  • 23

    Rain and snow or ice pellets not falling as shower(s) ended in the past hour.

  • 24

    Freezing drizzle or freezing rain not falling as shower(s) ended in the past hour.

  • 25

    Shower(s) of rain ended in the past hour.

  • 26

    Shower(s) of snow, or of rain and snow ended in the past hour.

  • 27

    Shower(s) of hail, or of rain and hail ended in the past hour.

  • 28

    Fog or ice fog ended in the past hour.

  • 29

    Thunderstorm (with or without precipitation) ended in the past hour.

Codes 30-39 General Group: Dust storm, sandstorm, drifting or blowing snow.

  • 30

    Slight or moderate dust storm or sandstorm (has decreased during the preceding hour).

  • 31

    Slight or moderate dust storm or sandstorm (no appreciable change during the preceding hour).

  • 32

    Slight or moderate dust storm or sandstorm (has begun or increased during the preceding hour).

  • 33

    Severe dust storm or sandstorm has decreased during the preceding hour.

  • 34

    Severe dust storm or sandstorm has no appreciable change during the preceding hour.

  • 35

    Severe dust storm or sandstorm has begun or increased during the preceding hour.

  • 36

    Slight or moderate drifting snow (generally below eye level).

  • 37

    Heavy drifting snow (generally below eye level).

  • 38

    Slight or moderate blowing snow (generally above eye level).

  • 39

    Heavy blowing snow (generally above eye level).

Codes 40-49 General Group: Fog at the time of observation.

  • 40

    Fog at a distance at the time of observation, but not at the station during the preceding hour, the fog or ice fog extending to a level above that of the observer.

  • 41

    Fog in patches.

  • 42

    Fog sky visible (has become thinner during preceding hour).

  • 43

    Fog sky obscured (has become thinner during preceding hour).

  • 44

    Fog sky visible (no appreciable change during the preceding hour).

  • 45

    Fog sky obscured (no appreciable change during the preceding hour).

  • 46

    Fog sky visible (has begun or has become thicker during the preceding hour).

  • 47

    Fog sky obscured (has begun or has become thicker during the preceding hour).

  • 48

    Fog, depositing rime ice, sky visible.

  • 49

    Fog, depositing rime ice, or ice fog, sky obscured.

Codes 50-59 General Group: Fog at the time of observation.

  • 50

    Drizzle, not freezing, intermittent (slight at time of observation).

  • 51

    Drizzle, not freezing, continuous (slight at time of observation).

  • 52

    Drizzle, not freezing, intermittent (moderate at time of observation).

  • 53

    Drizzle, not freezing, continuous (moderate at time of observation).

  • 54

    Drizzle, not freezing, intermittent (heavy at time of observation).

  • 55

    Drizzle, not freezing, continuous (heavy at time of observation).

  • 56

    Drizzle, freezing, slight.

  • 57

    Drizzle, freezing, moderate or heavy.

  • 58

    Drizzle and rain, slight.

  • 59

    Drizzle and rain, moderate or heavy.


Codes 60-69 General Group: Rain.

  • 60

    Rain, not freezing, intermittent (slight at time of observation).

  • 61

    Rain, not freezing, continuous (slight at time of observation).

  • 62

    Rain, not freezing, intermittent (moderate at time of observation).

  • 63

    Rain, not freezing, continuous (moderate at time of observation).

  • 64

    Rain, not freezing, intermittent (heavy at time of observation).

  • 65

    Rain, not freezing, continuous (heavy at time of observation).

  • 66

    Rain, freezing, slight.

  • 67

    Rain, freezing, moderate or heavy.

  • 68

    Rain or drizzle and snow, slight.

  • 69

    Rain or drizzle and snow, moderate or heavy.

Codes 70-79 General Group: Solid precipitation not in showers.

  • 70

    Intermittent fall of snowflakes (slight at time of observation)

  • 71

    Continuous fall of snowflakes (slight at time of observation)

  • 72

    Intermittent fall of snowflakes (moderate at time of observation)

  • 73

    Continuous fall of snowflakes (moderate at time of observation)

  • 74

    Intermittent fall of snowflakes (heavy at time of observation)

  • 75

    Continuous fall of snowflakes (heavy at time of observation)

  • 76

    Ice needles (with or without fog)

  • 77

    Snow grains (with or without fog)

  • 78

    Isolated star-like snow crystals (with or without fog)

  • 79

    Ice pellets (sleet)

Codes 80-99 General Group: Showery precipitation, or precipitation with current or recent thunderstorm.

  • 80

    Rain shower(s), slight

  • 81

    Rain shower(s), moderate or heavy

  • 82

    Rain shower(s), violent

  • 83

    Shower(s) of rain and snow mixed, slight

  • 84

    Shower(s) of rain and snow mixed, moderate or heavy

  • 85

    Snow shower(s), slight

  • 86

    Snow shower(s), moderate or heavy

  • 87

    Shower(s) of snow pellets or small hail, slight with or without rain or rain and snow mixed

  • 88

    Shower(s) of snow pellets or small hail, moderate or heavy with or without rain or rain and snow mixed

  • 89

    Shower(s) of hail, with or without rain or rain and snow mixed, not associated with thunder, slight

  • 90

    Shower(s) of hail, with or without rain or rain and snow mixed, not associated with thunder, moderate or heavy

  • 91

    ThunderstormThunder- storm during the preceding hour but not at time of observation with slight rain at time of observation

  • 92

    ThunderstormThunder- storm during the preceding hour but not at time of observation with moderate or heavy rain at time of observation

  • 93

    ThunderstormThunder- storm during the preceding hour but not at time of observation with slight snow, or rain and snow mixed, or hail at time of observation

  • 94

    ThunderstormThunder- storm during the preceding hour but not at time of observation with moderate or heavy snow, or rain and snow mixed, or hail at time of observation

  • 95

    Thunderstorm,Thunder- storm, slight or moderate, without hail but with rain and or snow at time of observation

  • 96

    Thunderstorm,Thunder- storm, slight or moderate, with hail at time of observation

  • 97

    Thunderstorm,Thunder- storm, heavy, without hail but with rain and or snow at time of observation

  • 98

    Thunderstorm,Thunder- storm, combined with dust storm or sandstorm at time of observation

  • 99

    Thunderstorm,Thunder- storm, heavy, with hail at time of observation


Sky Cover Symbols

These are the ten symbols that represent the total amount of sky cover at the time of the observation (reported in eigths).



  • No Clouds



  • 1/8ths
    skycover



  • 2/8ths
    skycover



  • 3/8ths
    skycover



  • 4/8ths
    skycover



  • 5/8ths
    skycover



  • 6/8ths
    skycover



  • 7/8ths
    skycover



  • 8/8ths
    skycover (completely overcast)



  • Sky Obscured
    (used when a surface-based weather phenomena (i.e. fog, dust, etc.) blocks the view of the sky)


Pressure tendency symbols

These symbols show the pressure trend during the past three hours. It is useful for determining motion of front.

For example, a typical pressure pattern for a cold front that has passed a station would be code 3, falling or steady, then rising; or rising, then rising more quickly.

The steady or falling pressure will be the change in pressure before the front passes over the location. After frontal passage, higher pressure moves over the station as indicated by the pressure rising more quickly.

  Code Symbol Description
Pressure higher
than three hours ago
0 Pressure tendency symbol 0 Rising, the falling.
1 Pressure tendency symbol 1 Rising, then steady; OR rising, then rising more slowly.
2 Pressure tendency symbol 2 Rising steadily, OR unsteadily.
3 Pressure tendency symbol 3 Falling or steady, then rising; OR rising, then rising more quickly.
Pressure the same
as three hours ago
4 Pressure tendency symbol 4 Steady, same as 3 hours ago.
Pressure lower
than three hours ago
5 Pressure tendency symbol 5 Falling, then rising, same OR lower than 3 hours ago.
6 Pressure tendency symbol 6 Falling, then steady; OR falling, then falling more slowly.
7 Pressure tendency symbol 7 Falling steadily, OR unsteadily.
8 Pressure tendency symbol 8 Steady or rising, then falling; OR falling, then falling more quickly.

Wind Speed & Direction

Wind speed. A combination of long/short barbs and pennants indicate the speed of the wind in station weather that is rounded to the nearest 5 knots. Calm wind is indicated by a large circle drawn around the skycover symbol.

One long barb is used to indicate each 10 knots with the short barb representing 5 knots. At 50 knots, the barbs changes to a pennant. For wind speeds higher than 50 knots, long and short barbs are used again in combination with the pennant(s). (See examples below.)

  • 0 kts
    0 knot wind plot

    Observed wind speed 0-2 kts (0-2 mph)

  • 5 kts
    5 knot wind plot

    Observed wind speed 3-7 kts (3-8 mph)

  • 10 kts
    10 knot wind plot

    Observed wind speed 8-12 kts (9-14 mph)

  • 15 kts
    15 knot wind plot

    Observed wind speed 13-17 kts (15-20 mph)

  • 30 kts
    30 knots wind plot

    Observed wind speed 28-32 kts (32-37 mph)

  • 50 kts
    50 knots wind plot

    Observed wind speed 48-52 kts (55-60 mph)

  • 60 kts
    60 knots wind plot

    Observed wind speed 58-62 kts (67-71 mph)

  • 65 kts
    65 knots wind plot

    Observed wind speed 63-67 kts (73-77 mph)

  • 100 kts
    100 knots wind plot

    Observed wind speed 98-102 kts (113-117 mph)

  • 105 kts
    105 knots wind plot

    Observed wind speed 102-107 kts (119-123 mph)

The wind direction is indicated by the long shaft. The shaft will point to the direction FROM which the wind is blowing. The direction is based upon a 36-point compass.

Wind FROM 340° (NNW) Wind FROM 040° (NE) Wind FROM 190°(S)


Past Weather Symbols

These symbols represent the most significant weather within the past six hours of the observation but not during the most recent hour (which is provided by the present weather code).

  • 0

    Clear or Few Clouds (not plotted).

  • 1

    Partly cloudy (scattered) or variable sky (not plotted).

  • 2

    Cloudy (broken) or overcast (not plotted).

  • 3

    Sandstorm or dust storm, or drifting or blowing snow.

  • 4

    Fog, or smoke, or thick dust haze.

  • 5

    Drizzle

  • 6

    Rain

  • 7

    Snow, or rain and snow mixed, or ice pellets (sleet).

  • 8

    Shower(s)

  • 9

    Thunderstorm, with or without precipitation.