Aug. 7, 2023

A valuable flight planning resource will soon sport a fresh new look and significantly enhanced usability. The substantially revamped Aviation Weather Center (AWC) website is set to go live Sept. 12, but pilots can check out the changes now.

Jennifer Stroozas, a warning coordination meteorologist for the AWC at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said the mobile user experience was foremost on the minds of developers when creating the new site.

“The new site is much easier to navigate on smart devices than the current version,” she said. “Whether you’re on a mobile phone, a tablet or a desktop computer, the site is expandable and optimized for that device. We’ve also streamlined the menus to make navigation simpler and more intuitive.”

Operators may explore the new site at, although NOAA warns in this experimental form it should not be used for actual flight planning purposes.

The new user interface provides quick access to current weather conditions, PIREPs (pilot reports) and radar and satellite observations, as well as AIRMET (airman’s meteorological information) and SIGMET (significant meteorological hazard) alerts.

“You can also overlay any additional weather information you want,” Stroozas added. “It’s really a great place to self-brief and see what’s happening.”

In another change, the new site combines the current Graphical Forecast for Aviation (GFA) and Helicopter Emergency Management Services (HEMS) products into one GFA interface, providing additional ease of use for low altitude operations.

“You’ll notice there’s now an airplane icon and a helicopter icon,” Stroozas said. “Clicking on the helicopter icon will give you the lower altitude information. You can switch back and forth within one tool.”

The interface also includes additional Canadian core airports, part of an enhanced winter weather dashboard that is also part of the rollout, as well as modified algorithms to further improve the user experience. Decision Support Graphics are also easier to access on the main page.

The site can also be added as a smartphone icon, similar to an app, and mobile users may also run the site in “dark mode” for personal preference or to help maintain night vision. “Our team has done a phenomenal job on this new site, and we look forward to rolling it out in full very soon,” Stroozas said.

Tutorials are also available, including helpful YouTube videos to assist with site navigation and exploring the new user interface.