More info to help you interpret the weather maps.......
Radar Images used are from Intellicast and the NWS. Radar can be as tricky to interpret as satellite photos, coverage from individual radar sites is out to about 100 to 140 miles. A radar "mosaic" is made up of all of the available individual sites. Understand that there are some "dead spots" in the coverage, especially over the western U.S., such as, Sun Valley and over SW Montana. Mountains also block the radar beam and won't show clouds at or below mountain-top level very well, if at all.
Bottom-line with radar images is, not all precipitation shows up on radar, and not all the precipitation that does show up is necessarily hitting the ground. Again there are several types worth looking at:
Surface Maps and Upper Air Maps are courtesy of Unisys Corporation, the NWS, and WSI Corporation. There is a variety of info available here, but reading some of these plots is not all that straightforward. Unisys has more help and information about how to decipher some of these more complicated maps on their web pages. Check that out.
Note: The Jet Stream map indicates where the fastest "stream" of wind is, usually up at about the 30,000 foot elevation.
Surface Maps come in a variety of types, most will depict current hourly surface observations (most from airports). For help interpreting the maps from Unisys, which is in standard reporting format used by the National Weather Service, go to their help page..........Unisys Surface Data Details.
Upper Air Maps show plots and maps derived from twice daily balloon soundings, which profile the atmosphere across the country and around the globe. Go to.......... Unisys Upper Air Details for more info on these maps and how to interpret them. (Excellent tutorial!)
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