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SAR Spot Forecast Information

Program Note - When entering a Latitude and Longitude of the search and recovery operation in the online spot program, you can either specify degrees using a decimal (45.1486 for example) or in a degrees/minutes/seconds format (45 13 34 for example).

Quality Control

If weather conditions develop that were not forecasted and threaten the success of the search and rescue, the forecaster should be notified immediately. Furthermore, any feedback concerning the accuracy of the spot weather forecast (both positive and negative) will assist the forecaster in subsequent forecasts for the same or similar location.

Spot Forecast Instructions

From the Fire Weather Main Page on the National Weather Service Burlington (NWS BTV) web site, click on Internet Request Spot Form.

The BURLINGTON, VERMONT SPOT FORECASTS page will appear. This page auto-updates every minute, so as new spot forecasts are requested or their status changes, you immediately see the changes on the page! We call this the monitoring page.

Some of the features on this page include...

A) The current date with arrow keys allowing you to step back or forward to a particular date. A calendar is also available, which will allow you to see how many spot forecasts were issued on a certain date. You can also move ahead or back on the calendar as well as clicking on a particular date to view spot information from that day.

B) A map of the NWS BTV area of responsibility. A small box will appear indicating the location of the spot request. It is colored coded to indicate if the spot forecast is pending (green), which means you have submitted a spot request and the NWS is working on the forecast. A purple box indicates the NWS has sent you a question with respect to the spot forecast. (You will need to either click on the purple box or click on QUESTION in the Status Box below the map, then on the bottom of the next page, you can click on Change Request to make the necessary changes and answer the question from the NWS. When you submit the spot again, the monitor page will show the word ANSWERED in the Status Box and the purple square on the map will go back to green. A red box on the map means the spot forecast is complete and you can either click on the red box or in the Name/Ignition Time/Status Box to see the forecast.

C) A link at the top of the page exists to take you back to the Burlington Fire Weather Internet Page.

D) A user will click on SUBMIT A NEW SPOT REQUEST to prepare their information for the online spot forecast request.


1 - Project Name: Enter the search and rescure operation name or geograhpic location...for example 3 SW from Montpelier or name of a mountain/lake.

a) Select SAR from the tabs button.

b) Enter the current time in the Ignigtion Time box and the current date in the Date box.

2 - Requesting Agency: The Requesting Agency, Requesting Official, and phone number are required. Fax number and contact person are optional, but we consider those very important if we have any questions or if there is a breakdown in dissemination capabilities. Please note that no other people other than the user and the NWS will see this information!

3 - Reason For Spot Request Form: Under Non-Wildfire, select the last tab "Essential to public safety, e.g. due to the proximity of population centers or critical infrastucture".

4 - Location:

a) Lat/Lon: Enter in your latitude and longitude coordinates for the operation site. Leave the 7.5' Quad box blank

**Please be accurate as possible with the coordinates, so that we can provide the most detailed forecast as possible**

b) - Elevation: Enter the elevation the operation will occur at. If a wide range of elevations will be covered for search and recovery operations, especially during mountain rescues then enter a range of elevations. Leave the Drainage box blank.

c) - Aspect: This field is not required but if the operation is on the side of the mountain, the aspect of the slope could be useful for more accurate wind forecasting. Use direction references such as N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW. You can leave the Size: block blank.

5 - Fuel: Leave this section blank.

6 - Observations: Leave this box blank, unless you have onsite weather observations. If there is an onsite weather observation please enter the most rescent observations, this information will enhance the near term forecast.

7 - Primary Forecast Elements: Not all spot forecasts are created equal, so we are asking you to tell us what are the forecast elements you need, or are particularly important. There are six parameters listed for you. Select which ones you want a forecast for, and for the time period(s) you would like as well (available times are Today, Tonight, and Tomorrow).***Note the 20-foot Wind is what you will select for a wind forecast.***

8 - Remarks: If a meteorological parameter is not listed and for example you would like to have wave heights for a search and recovery operation on Lake Champlain, then include this request in the box.

9 - Action: You now have three options. You can Submit Request, Cancel Request, or Clear Form. When you hit Submit Request, various checks are performed on the data you have entered. Some problems make it impossible for your request to be accepted such as not providing all the required elements listed in red. If an error is found, you will be taken to a page that describes the errors or minor problems. You can click on Go Back and Fix and have the opportunity to make the necessary changes. You can click on Submit Request anyway, but more than likely we will probably be sending back a question or calling.

10 - Retreive your Spot Weather Forecast After you have submitted a spot forecast request, go back to the Burlington Vermont Spot Forcasts Page. It usually takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete the forecast request, but once it is complete a link will appear on the Spot Request page. The Project Name will appear as a hyperlink and the location of the request will show up on the map in the upper right side of the page. Select the hyperlink, this will take you to your requested forecast.

* Invariably, something will go wrong at some point, and you might not be able to request or receive spot requests via the web page. In such cases, you can call in or fax us the spot forecast.

National Weather Service
1200 Airport Drive
S. Burlington VT 05403

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Page last modified: May 26, 2009
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