Explanation of the columns of the Form 6 (F-6) -
The Preliminary Local Climatological Data Report

Explanation of the columns of the Form 6: Note that "NA" means "not available." In most cases, it means that the value is no longer measured. In a few cases, it means that a short-term equipment outage resulted in a loss of information.

(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. Data for this column are not available from November 2006 through March 2008. The data in this column shows the number of tenths of cloud cover, as an hourly average through the daylight hours.

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

(18) - 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.


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.