Friday, July 25, 2014 6:47 GMT

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About our Recon System
Our recon system is based mainly upon specifications contained in the National Hurricane Operations Plan (older versions dating back to 1970 here and here) with additional information coming from the Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 3 - Rawinsonde and Pibal Observations (FCM-H3-1997) and the World Meteorological Organization's Manual of Codes (WMO-No. 306, Vol. I.1).

This system does not try to decode a product that is corrupt. (Meaning it is missing data it normally should not.) It is likely that this system does not account for all possibe valid products. As we become aware of these instances we will try to adjust the coding in the system to decode the data.

Our live recon product using the Google Earth plugin may cause your browser to crash. You should save your work before trying to use it. If possible, you should use the Google Earth program instead.

When using Google Earth or the Google Earth plugin you should always view recon data looking straight down. When the view is tilted HDOB wind barbs will appear to float off the ground. Additionally, it is best to view the recon data when oriented north. Wind barbs can be misaligned at times if you are not looking straight down and oriented north. Due to how Google Earth treats icons, this is unavoidable.

Our manual decoder has support for the East Pacific, Central Pacific and to some extent other areas in the Pacific, though more features are available for reconnaissance flights in the Atlantic basin. It should also be noted that this decoder was designed to decode all messages and observations, even ones that are not tasked as tropical. This decoder was built to be versatile. Try decoding multiple messages, even different types, and see if they can be decoded. If you have a product you cannot decode correctly, please send the message to us or tell us where to find the product that could not be decoded.

For wind direction, the page found here is used to denote "nice" wind direction from the bearing in degrees.

Check out the NHC recon archive to view old recon reports.