how to read a weather Station model

How to Read a Weather Station Model – Step by Step

If you have worked in the weather station, then you must have heard or have been accustomed to the term station model. However, if you aren’t or are new in the world of weather, then our article is going to be of great help to you.

In our article, we have provided you with detailed information on how to read a station model and what is a station model. We are quite keen to detail, so we have provided you various pieces of information in a very reader-friendly manner. So, let us stop beating around the bush and get to the real part.

What Is a Station Model?

Even before we can understand the functionality of a station model, we need to have a clear idea of what is the model. Station models is a model that comes from meteorology. The station perfectly illustrates all the necessary information on the weather from a specific report.

Whenever a weather report is presented, it initially contains all the necessary details regarding the weather. Meaning, the station contains information such as wind speed, wind direction, atmospheric pressure, temperature, cloud precipitation, etc.

Thus, you can easily fit in several types of data in a report on the weather using this model. The model is quite perfect, and after its discovery in 1941, August 1st, it hasn’t gone through much change.

How to Read a Station Model

If you want to know how to read a weather Station model, then here are the things that you need to keep in mind.

1. Winds

The model uses plots to decipher the wind direction and speed.

  • A half flag states that the wind speed is 5kn/knots, which means that the winds are blowing at 9.3Km/h or 5.8mph.
  • If there is a full flag, then it states 10kn/Knots or 12mph.
  • When you see a pennant or a triangular flag, that means that the winds are at 50kn or 93km/h or 58mph.
  • A circle inside a bigger circle shows that the winds are calm.

And the direction is depicted from the direction away from the flag. Meaning, that if a wind is blowing from the northwest, then the line will be extended from the cloud circle. Also, you can use the wind plots to determine the atmospheric pressure. Thus, allowing to pin-point on which hemisphere the station is located.

2. Cloud

In addition to wind direction and speed, using the model, you can also effortlessly determine the cloud of a single day. Generally, there is a circle in the center of the model and is used to indicate clouds. Is that statement confusing? Well, let’s make you clear that for you.

You see, a full circle in the model is used to indicate a clear sky. Now, if the model has a circle with a quarter shaded, then it means there are fewer clouds. And as the shaded area increases, thus, the number of clouds increase. Meaning, if the circle is completely shaded, the sky is completely cloudy.

By the way, using the model, you can also deduce the type of clouds that are in the sky. There are a couple of classifications, such as:

  • Low étage (Sc, St) and upward-growing vertical (Cu, Cb)
  • Middle étage (Ac, As) and downward-growing vertical (Ns)
  • High étage (Ci, Cc, Cs)

These notations are generally above or below the circles.

3. Weather and Visibility

How to Read a Weather Station Model

If you check the left side from the could circle, then you would notice certain symbols. These are used to represent the current weather and is the key feature that determines the visibility of the day. Visibility is a very essential factor for pilots and other sorts of drivers.

And understanding the weather condition is quite simple. There are nine weather conditions, which are sub-headed from light, mild, and intense.

4. Temperature

On the center-left of the model, you will find a plotting of temperature and dew period. There is no need for symbols or conditions as you will find this data as Celsius or Fahrenheit. Using this data, meteorologists can easily determine the dew by analyzing the isotherms and isodrosotherms.

5. Pressure

At the top-right corner is the pressure. The last two digits are given as millibars or hectopascals. So, for instance, if the pressure at a location is 999.7 hPa, then it will be shown on the model as 997. You might be thinking, why don’t they provide the full digits? Well, the first two digits give the best answers.

The information is used to deduce the sea-level pressure and the height of the pressure surface. Now, right below the pressure is the pressure tendency of the day. Pressure tendency is the changes in pressure over the past three hours. And this information will be provided to you in two digits with 0.1 millibar increments.

Now let’s get you accustomed to the signs of the weather.

  • Slanting up, which indicates the pressure is continuously rising.
  • Slanting down means that the pressure is continuously falling.
  • Now, if the line is slanting up and moves right, then it means the pressure rose and then gets steady.
  • On the other hand, if the line is downward slating and becomes flat, it is an indication that the pressure dropped and gets steady.
  • If the symbol is like a “tick mark” (a long slant line upwards along with a short slant line downwards), it means that there is a great rise in the pressure followed by a small drop.
  • Next, if the “tick mark” is rotated 90-degrees clockwise, then the sign states there was a rise before a great fall.

In short, reading the pressure tendency is quite similar to reading the “velocity vs. time” graph.

One of the coolest things about the model is that it can also come with data of past weather.


It is practically impossible to give you a perfectly accurate prediction of the weather. However, using a station model, meteorologists are capable of giving you a near-perfect representation of the weather, which is exceptionally essential for pilots, drivers, and many more.

So, if you want to pursue a career in weather, airline, etc., then understand what a station model is and know how to read a station model.