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The NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS) Aviation Weather Center (AWC) is working on a significant upgrade to its website to improve its consistency and performance, the organization has revealed.
The organization’s current website is a comprehensive collection of all current and forecast weather conditions that affect aviation and is widely used in the helicopter industry.
There are two products widely used by helicopter operators: the Graphical Forecasts for Aviation tool (GFA) and the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) tool. According to the AWC, the GFA was designed to provide “the necessary aviation weather information to give users a complete picture of the weather that may impact flight in the United States and surrounding ocean areas.”
The HEMS tool provides weather guidance for short distance, low altitude helicopter operations.
AWC products are constantly being updated and improved, but the organization said its primary website was becoming outdated. “The earliest version [of today’s website] aviationweather.gov was released in August 2002,” said Jennifer Stroozas, warning coordination meteorologist, NWS AWC. Now, the AWC has been working on a “significant upgrade to the website to improve the site’s consistency, supportability, mobile friendliness, performance, ease of use, and ease of new development.”
The original website was designed to run on PCs and work stations. The new website will be more compatible with mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets, with pages that will adjust automatically for different screen sizes.
One change directly impacting those in the helicopter industry involves the HEMS tool.