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Buffalo New York


How to read Preliminary Climate Data
(Form F-6)

The data presented in the preliminary climate data section for Buffalo and Rochester consists of 18 columns of data, one row for each day. The following shows an excerpt from Buffalo's F6 form July 1999, followed by an explanation of each column. 

Excerpt from Buffalo Preliminary Climate data for July 1999.

Preliminary Local Climatological Data (WS Form: F-6)

Latitude 42 56' 27" N; Longitude 78 44' 09" W; Elevation 714'

Station: Buffalo, NY
Month:   July
Year:    1999
             Temperature in F                   Pcpn     Snow             Wind       Sunshine     Sky              Pk Wnd
===================================== Columns =================================
(1)     (2)     (3)   (4)   (5)   (6a)  (6b)      (7)       (8)     (9)   (10) (11)(12)(13)(14)     (15) (16)    (17) (18)

Dy    Max   Min  Avg Dep HDD CDD   Wtr      Snw  Dpth Avg Spd Dir Min Psbl     S-S  Wx     Spd  Dr
 1       88    58    73   +4      0       8          T        0        0   12.7  28   22  420   46                         34   SW
 2       80    67    74   +4      0       9    0.01        0        0   12.3  23   22  710   77               1        28   SW
 3       89    63    76   +6      0      11   0.00        0        0   10.0  31   24  314   34               8        37   SW
 4       86    75    81 +11      0      16   0.00        0        0   15.6  25   24  812   89                         31    W
 5       85    74    80 +10      0      15   0.00        0        0   15.7  25   24  915  100                        32   SW

This explanation uses the column numbers to explain the data. The column numbers on the above example have been highlighted in bold print.

(1) - Day of the month ("calendar day"). Note that the time period is different between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time. The calendar day is midnight to midnight Standard Time, but 1 a.m. to 1 a.m. DST.

(2) - Maximum temperature. This is the highest temperature (F) recorded for the calendar day.

(3) - Minimum temperature. This is the lowest temperature (F) recorded for the calendar day.

(4) - Average temperature. The sum of the previous two columns, divided by 2, and rounded, gives the value for this column.

(5) - Departure from normal. This value is derived by subtracting the "normal" temperature from the "average" temperature (column 4). The "normal" temperature is the 30-year smoothed average for the date, supplied by the National Climatic Data Center.

(6a) - Heating Degree Days. The average temperature (column 4), subtracted from 65, yields HDD. The amount of energy used for heating is almost directly proportional to the number of heating degree days.

(6b) - Cooling Degree Days. Similar to (6a) above, CDD are derived in the reverse manner. Sixty-five is subtracted from the "average" temperature (column 4). Again, energy usage is the main application of this value.

(7) - Precipitation (Water Equivalent). This is the amount of liquid precipitation, in inches, to the nearest hundredth, that has fallen during the calendar day. If frozen or freezing precipitation (snow, sleet, freezing rain, etc.) falls, it is melted and added to the total of any liquid precipitation.

(8) - Snowfall. This total, where measured, is the amount of snow, hail, or ice pellets, in inches, to the nearest tenth, that falls during the calendar day. In this case, the frozen precipitation is not melted before measurement. Typically, snowfall is about 10 times its water equivalent (see column 7), but this ratio can vary dramatically when snow falls at temperatures above freezing - or well below freezing.

(9) - Snow depth. The depth of frozen precipitation (whether snow, ice, or hail) on the ground at 6 a.m. Standard Time (7 a.m. DST), in whole inches, is shown here. The value is the actual depth of the snow and ice, without including such things as grass underneath.

(10) - Average wind speed. The calendar-day average wind speed is shown here, in miles per hour, to the nearest tenth. This value is normally derived by dividing the total "distance" of the wind (as measured by an anemometer) and dividing by 24. Note that wind speeds during the daylight hours tend to be substantially stronger than those that occur at night.

(11) - Fastest 2-minute speed. The strongest 2-minute average wind speed that occurs during the calendar day is identified here. The units are miles per hour. By definition, this value must be less than the peak gust (column 18) and more than the daily average (column 10).

(12) - Fastest 2-minute direction. (See column 11 for information on the "fastest 2-minute wind.") This is the prevailing direction of the strongest 2-minute wind, expressed in tens of degrees. North is 36 (north could also be shown as 0, but 36 is used here); east is 09; south is 18; west is 27; and all other directions are in-between. Northeast, for example, would be shown as either 04 or 05, since it is 45 degrees clockwise from north.

(13) - Total minutes of sunshine. Where available, this value is the approximate number of minutes that the sun is detected as shining, according to a sunshine indicator.

(14) - Percent of possible sunshine. Where available, this is the ratio of the value in column 13 with the number of minutes between sunrise and sunset, expressed as a percent.

(15) - Sky cover. This entry is no longer available. It was previously used to show the number of tenths of cloud cover, as an hourly average through the daylight hours. This Not Available.

(16) - Weather occurrences. The numbers presented in this column are described in a chart at the lower right of the Form 6.

(17) - Peak gust direction. This is the direction associated with the strongest gust of wind measured during the calendar day. See the description of column 12 for details on the coding.

(18) - Peak gust speed. The strongest wind gust measured during the calendar day is recorded here, in miles per hour.

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