Terminal Forecasts (FT) is one of the best sources for predicting what the weather at a particular airport (terminal) will be in the future. These forecast predictions cover an area within 5 nautical miles of the center of the runway field. FTs are usually issued 3 times a day and are valid for accuracy up to 24 hours. The first section of the FT covers the expected weather for the upcoming 18-hour period. This includes information about ceiling, visibility, vision obstructions, wind and expected weather changes at that facility.

A sample Terminal Forecast (FT) is

JAN 251010 C5 X 1 S-BS 3325G35 OCNL CO X OS+ BS.

16Z C30 BKN 3BS 3320 CHC SW-. 22Z 20 SCT 3315. 00Z CLR.

04Z VFR WND . . 




station/airport identifier


date and time of report: day of the month followed by valid times

C5 X

description of sky, clouds and ceiling level


number of statute miles of visibility; if no number given then visibility is greater than 6 statute miles


weather and obstructions to vision (see code from Surface Aviation report)


wind description; absence of wind entry indicates that the wind is less than 6 knots; winds are given in relation to true north


Specially coded remarks; OCNL = the conditions are expected to occur less than half of the time during the time period given

16Z C30 BKN 3BS 3320 CHC SW-. 22Z 20 SCT 3315. 00Z CLR.

Expected changes over the next 18 hours at this terminal; a number followed by a "Z" indicates the time at which the change is expected to occur

04Z VFR WND . .

Six-hour categorical outlook which gives the start time to which one adds 6 hours and gets the ending time for this time period; if the contraction "WND" is added to "VFR" it means that winds of 25 knots or stronger are expected during this time period; a double period indicates the end of the report . .

Terminal Forecast decoded below:

Jackson, Mississippi is valid beginning on the 25th day of the month at 1000Z until 1000Z on the 26th day of the month. The ceiling is expected to be 500 feet, an obscured sky with 1 statute mile visibility; light snow and blowing snow with wind from 330O at 25 knots gusting up to 35 knots; occasional conditions of zero ceiling with obscured sky and zero visibility; accompanied by heavy snow and blowing snow; by 1600Z ceiling will be 3,000 feet in altitude and broken with visibility of 3 miles accompanied by blowing snow with wind from 330 degrees at 20 knots with a chance of light snow showers; by 2200Z scattered clouds at 2,000 feet with a visibility of more than 6 miles, wind from 330 degrees at 15 knots; by 0000Z clear sky with visibility greater than 6 miles and wind less than 6 knots; outlook from 0400Z to 1000Z has a ceiling of more than 3,000 feet, visibility greater than 5 miles (VFR) and wind 25 knots or stronger; end of report.