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Precipitation forecasts: Accumulated vs instantaneous

Added on: November 4, 2011         Duration: 10 minutes

Areas of precipitation, whether forecast or observed, should attract our attention. Of course, precipitation does not always imply adverse weather, even for a pilot flying under visual flight rules (VFR). However, the NTSB accident database suggests that it is quite common for precipitation to be reported at the surface near the time of many weather-related accidents. For example, two-thirds of the icing accidents or incidents reported to the FAA or NTSB stated that precipitation was reaching the surface at the time of the accident or incident. So pilots need to treat these precipitation areas as “hot spots” that require a more close examination. Convective and non-convective turbulence, restricted visibility, IFR ceilings, structural icing and wind shear, just to name a few, are potential adverse weather elements that tend to hang around with areas precipitation. Of course, it’s just as important to understand that the absence of precipitation, forecast or observed, does not imply the absence of adverse weather.


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