METAR Reports Key

A comprehensive list of key symbols and abbreviations found in METAR reports and their meanings
METAR Reports Key

Reading METARs can be overwhelming. Here’s a comprehensive key for every METAR code. If you’d like to see an interactive example, check out our basics guide.

Abbreviation Description Example
$ maintenance check indicator - light intensity
+ heavy intensity / separator between temperature and dew point data
ACC altocumulus castellanus ACFT MSH mishap
ACSL altocumulus standing lenticular cloud AO1 automated station without precipitation discriminator
AO2 automated station with precipitation discriminator ALP airport location point
APCH approach APRNT apparent
APRX approximately ATCT airport traffic control tower
AUTO fully automated report B began
BC patches BKN broken
BL blowing BR mist
C center (with reference to runway designation) CA cloud-air lightning
CB cumulonimbus cloud CBMAM cumulonimbus mammatus cloud
CC cloud-cloud lightning CCSL cirrocumulus standing lenticular cloud
cd candela CG cloud-ground lightning
CHI cloud-height indicator CHINO sky condition at secondary location not available
CIG ceiling CLR clear
CONS continuous COR correction to a previously disseminated observation
DOC Department of Commerce DOD Department of Defense
DOT Department of Transportation DR low drifting
DS duststorm DSIPTG dissipating
DSNT distant DU widespread dust
DVR dispatch visual range -
DZ drizzle E east, ended, estimated ceiling (SAO)
FAA Federal Aviation Administration FC funnel cloud
FEW few clouds FG fog
FIBI filed but impracticable to transmit FIRST first observation after a break in coverage at manual station
FMH-1 Federal Meteorological Handbook No.1, Surface Weather Observations & Reports (METAR) -
FMH2 Federal Meteorological Handbook No.2, Surface Synoptic Codes -
FRQ frequent
FT feet
FZ freezing
G gust
GS small hail and/or snow pellets
HZ haze
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
INTMT intermittent
L left (with reference to runway designation)
LST Local Standard Time
LWR lower
max maximum
MI shallow
MOV moved/moving/movement
N north
NCDC National Climatic Data Center
NOS National Ocean Survey
NOTAM Notice to Airmen
NWS National Weather Service
OFCM Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology
OVC overcast
P indicates greater than the highest reportable value
PL ice pellets
PNO precipitation amount not available
PRES pressure
PRESFR pressure falling rapidly
PWINO precipitation identifier sensor not available
R right (with reference to runway designation), runway
RTD Routine Delayed (late) observation
RVR Runway Visual Range
RY runway
SA sand
SCSL stratocumulus standing lenticular cloud
SCT scattered
SFC surface
SH shower(s)
SLP sea-level pressure
SM statute miles
SNINCR snow increasing rapidly
SPECI an unscheduled report taken when certain criteria have been met
SS sandstorm
SW snow shower, southwest
TS thunderstorm
TWR tower
UP unknown precipitation
V variable
VC in the vicinity
VISNO visibility at secondary location not available
VRB variable
W west
WMO World Meteorological Organization
WSHFT wind shift
Z zulu, i.e., Coordinated Universal Time
SE southeast
SG snow grains
SKC sky clear
SLPNO sea-level pressure not available
SN snow
SP snow pellets
SQ squalls
STN station
TCU towering cumulus
TSNO thunderstorm information not available
UNKN unknown
UTC Coordinated Universal Time
VA volcanic ash
VIS visibility
VR visual range
VV vertical visibility
WG/SO Working Group for Surface Observations
WND wind

Here’s the structure to all METARs:

Category Description Example
TYPE OF REPORT METAR: hourly (scheduled) report; SPECI: special (unscheduled) report. METAR
STATION IDENTIFIER Four alphabetic characters; ICAO location identifier. KABC
DATE/TIME All dates and times in UTC using a 24-hour clock; two-digit date and four-digit time; always appended with Z to indicate UTC. 121755Z
REPORT MODIFIER Fully automated report, no human intervention; removed when observer signed-on. AUTO
WIND DIRECTION AND SPEED Direction in tens of degrees from true north (first three digits); next two digits: speed in whole knots; as needed Gusts (character) followed by maximum observed speed; always appended with KT to indicate knots; 00000KT for calm; if direction varies by 60° or more a Variable wind direction group is reported. 21016G24KT 180V240
VISIBILITY Prevailing visibility in statute miles and fractions (space between whole miles and fractions); always appended with SM to indicate statute miles; values <1/4 reported as MI1/4. 1SM
RUNWAY VISUAL RANGE 10-minute RVR value in hundreds of feet; reported if prevailing visibility is < one mile or RVR ≤ 6000 feet; always appended with FT to indicate feet; value prefixed with M or P to indicate value is lower or higher than the reportable RVR value. R11/P6000FT
WEATHER PHENOMENA RA: liquid precipitation that does not freeze; SN: frozen precipitation other than hail; UP: precipitation of unknown type; intensity prefixed to precipitation: light (-), moderate (no sign), heavy (+); FG: fog; FZFG: freezing fog (temperature below 0°C); BR: mist; HZ: haze; SQ: squall; maximum of three groups reported; augmented by observer: FC (funnel cloud/tornado/waterspout); TS (thunderstorm); GR (hail); GS (small hail; <1/4 inch); FZRA (intensity; freezing rain); VA (volcanic ash). -RA BR
SKY CONDITION Cloud amount and height: CLR (no clouds detected below 12000 feet); FEW (few); SCT (scattered); BKN (broken); OVC (overcast); followed by 3-digit height in hundreds of feet; or vertical visibility (VV) followed by height for indefinite ceiling. BKN015 OVC025
TEMPERATURE/DEW POINT Each is reported in whole degrees Celsius using two digits; values are separated by a solidus; sub-zero values are prefixed with an M (minus). 06/04
ALTIMETER Altimeter always prefixed with an A indicating inches of mercury; reported using four digits: tens, units, tenths, and hundredths. A2990