Summer forecast: Fewer weather delays at the airport
National Weather Service meteorologists can now predict minute-by-minute weather conditions for individual arrival and departure routes at the nation's 30 busiest airports — which should translate to fewer delays for travelers.
Why it matters: Better weather data synced with actual flight routes will help air traffic controllers as they direct planes to dodge potentially dangerous storms.
The big picture: When bad weather is approaching an airport, air traffic controllers often hold or reroute flights in the name of safety.
- That's inconvenient for passengers, and can quickly snowball into systemwide delays across the country.
How it works: Each of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 22 air traffic control centers has a weather unit on site, with meteorologists providing weather information to air traffic controllers making decisions about takeoffs, landings and routing.
- The forecast system is accurate, but until now it wasn't synced to show the departure and arrival routes at each airport.
- Now, says the FAA, the datasets are combined in one place, providing a more comprehensive and detailed view of thunderstorms, wind shifts, precipitation, icing conditions and turbulent airspace.
The bottom line: With up-to-the-minute data, controllers can make better decisions about where to send aircraft to avoid weather problems.