9.5 Intrinsic Value of Days 1-4 Aviation Weather Impact Forecasts for High Impact Events

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 12:00 AM
North 224B (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Roland Nunez, NWS/Center Weather Service Unit, Houston, TX; and L. J. Hopper Jr., L. Wood, and J. W. Zeitler

The Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) is accustomed to supporting large scale sporting events annually that draw large numbers of air traffic into host airports, such as Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. For example, record air traffic counts occurred during the last two Super Bowl events in 2013 at New Orleans, Louisiana and most recently in 2017 at Houston, Texas where an excess of 8000 aircraft were served within the ARTCC airspace on a single day.

Beginning in 2012, Houston ARTCC tasked Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) Houston to provide weather support during these high traffic events, requiring an expanded approach to their routine Impact-based Decision Support Services (IDSS) and providing as much lead time as possible to potential weather impacts. This project is far from routine, and each event demands as much as a year of preparation and collaboration with the FAA and NWS partners. The end service produces a collaborated forecast package which included local terminal, TRACON and Enroute forecasts to satisfy the needs of the FAA. The local terminal forecast, for example, goes well beyond the time constraints of the traditional Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF), and delivers a level of consistency of message across the high traffic impact region which gives decision makers confidence to execute or adjust their air traffic management plans.

This study focuses on the development of the Days 1 through 4 forecasts for host and supporting airports, tailored to deliver intrinsic value to FAA decision makers and to influence the need for traffic management initiatives. In addition, this study will highlight the consistency and accuracy that fostered confidence and solidified the NWS as a trusted partner to the FAA.

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