NWS Louisville Product Guide

The National Weather Service in Louisville, Kentucky issues a variety of products covering 59 counties in central Kentucky and south central Indiana. These products are used by the media, emergency managers, various organizations, and the public. The products are accessed through a variety of methods, including the NOAA Weather Wire Service (NWWS), Family of Services (FOS), the NWS AWIPS network, the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN), and private vendors. This guide gives a summary of the products, including necessary header information. Products may be issued earlier or later depending on circumstances to include: hazardous weather delays, equipment failures, etc.

The listing is broken down into Severe Weather Products, Routine Public Products, Aviation Weather Products, Fire Weather Products, Hydrological Products, Climate Products, and Other General Public Products.

  • Click here for details on the county FIPS and zone codes.
  • For NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio SAME codes: [ Kentucky ] [ Indiana ]
  • Click here for weather safety rules.
  • Click here for a weather glossary of terms.

Severe Weather Products

Hazardous Weather Outlook
FOS/WMO Header:  FLUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFHWOLMK

The Hazardous Weather Outlook, issued around 4 AM and 4 PM EDT/EST daily, and more often as needed. The HWO highlights any expected hazardous weather conditions over the next seven days. This includes, but is not limited to severe weather, flooding, extreme heat or cold, winter weather, and dense fog.

Tornado Warning
FOS/WMO Header:  WFUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFTORLMK

Tornado Warnings are issued for expected tornadic activity over a county, or a portion of a county.  A warning may be issued based on Doppler radar indications of a tornado, reports of a funnel cloud, or observed tornado sightings. Tornado Warnings are typically valid for 45 minutes or less.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning
FOS/WMO Header:  WUUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFSVRLMK
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued for storms which are producing or are expected to produce winds of 58 mph or more, hail 1 inch or greater diameter, or both. These are issued for counties or portions of counties, and are typically an hour or less in length.

Severe Weather Statement
FOS/WMO Header:  WWUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFSVSLMK
A Severe Weather Statement is used to disseminate follow-up information on severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.  This can include actual severe weather reports, current radar information, and towns expected to be in the path of the storms. This statement is also used to cancel warnings, and to give follow-up information after a warning has expired.

Flash Flood Warning
FOS/WMO Header:  WGUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFFWLMK
The Flash Flood Warning is issued when life or property-threatening, short-term flooding is imminent. This can include flooding due to heavy rainfall or due to a dam break. Flash Flood Warnings may be valid for up to 6 hours, and can be extended as necessary.

Flash Flood Statement
FOS/WMO Header:  WGUS73 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFFSLMK
The Flash Flood Statement is issued to update the status of short-term flash flood situations. It can contain information on reported rainfall, radar estimates of rain, and forecast amounts of rain in the future.

Flood Statement
FOS/WMO Header: WGUS83 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFLSLMK
The Flood Statement product can be issued for a number of reasons: 1) Follow-up information on Flood Warnings, either county-based or river-based; or 2) Short-term flooding which may cause an inconvenience, but is not considered to be threatening ("urban and small stream flooding").  When issued for river flooding forecast purposes, they are issued twice daily, usually between 10-11 AM and between 8-9 PM EST/EDT.

Watch Outline Update
FOS/WMO Header:  WOUS64 KWNS
AWIPS Header:  MKCWOU# (# represents last digit of watch number)
The Watch Outline Update is issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.  It is issued at the beginning and end of severe thunderstorm and tornado watches, and indicates which counties are specifically included in the watch. This product includes all NWS offices affected by a particular watch.

Watch County Notification
FOS/WMO Header:  WWUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFWCNLMK
The Watch County Notification product is issued by the local NWS office based on the Storm Prediction Center's WOU. The WCN lists the counties and cities included in a Severe Weather Watch within an NWS office's area of responsibility (e.g., central Kentucky and south central Indiana for NWS Louisville). The product is reissued each time a change is made to the counties included in a Watch. 

Local Storm Report
FOS/WMO Header:  NWUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFLSRLMK
The Local Storm Report product gives a detailed listing of observed severe weather across the NWS Louisville area of responsibility.  It is often issued during a severe weather event, one report or a few reports at a time, and is also issued after an event has ended containing a summary of all reports. Reports of significant winter weather are also transmitted in the LSR product. Data listed should be considered preliminary, as further investigation may be necessary in some cases. This product is used as input to the national Daily Severe Weather Statistics compiled by the Storm Prediction Center.

Special Weather Statement
FOS/WMO Header:  WWUS83 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFSPSLMK
The Special Weather Statement is used to augment the current forecast and highlight significant short-term weather that is not already covered in an advisory, watch, or warning product. Examples include a line of strong, but not severe thunderstorms, an area of moderately intense snow showers, etc.

Routine Forecast Products

National Digital Forecast Database/Grid-Point Forecasts
FOS/WMO Header:  N/A
AWIPS Header:  N/A
Forecasters in today’s NWS issue forecasts in gridded form via the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD), which are updated as necessary day or night. What this means is that you can get a unique forecast for a specific point anywhere in the U.S. that offers features such as hourly temperature and precipitation forecasts. Experimental point forecasts are available for locations in the NWS Louisville area of responsibility at this website. Graphical forecasts in a “map” form are also available. Outside entities can use this NDFD data to view weather parameters that are important to them; an example would be a transportation company interested in the weather along a certain Interstate. Visit the NDFD webpage for details on how you can benefit from this powerful dataset. What forecasters input into the NDFD is also used to generate our routine text products, which are described below.

Zone Forecast Product
FOS/WMO Header:  FPUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFZFPLMK
The Zone Forecast Product gives specific forecasts for out to 7 days in the 59 counties covered by the Louisville NWS office.  The product is routinely issued at 4 AM and 4 PM EST/EDT, and is updated as necessary.  Forecasts are broken up into "zones” where one county equals one zone. When necessary, a forecast section is headlined with a watch, warning or advisory for hazardous weather. Worded, more detailed forecasts are also available on NWS Louisville's website and are referred to as "Point and Click Forecasts" (an example for Louisville is here). Forecasts for any point of interest can be obtained by clicking on a location on the map on NWS Louisville's homepage. From the Point and Click Forecast page, hourly forecasts are available as well.

Area Forecast Discussion
FOS/WMO Header:   FXUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFAFDLMK

The Area Forecast Discussion is issued normally around 3 AM and 3 PM EST/EDT, and at other times as weather changes. The forecaster gives his/her analysis of the current weather situation, information on the computer models, and forecast reasoning. The discussion includes a listing of non-convective watches, warnings, and advisories that will be in effect, on the line following ".LMK WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...".

Area Forecast Matrices
FOS/WMO Header:  FOUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFAFMLMK
The Area Forecast Matrix product is a tabular listing of expected weather elements over the next several days for groups of counties.  It is similar to the Model Output Statistics (MOS) guidance, but reflects forecaster input into the process.  Contents include expected temperature, dew point, humidity, wind, sky condition, and precipitation chances and amounts in 3 hourly increments for the first 60 hours of the forecast, with 6 hourly increments thereafter. The AFM product is issued twice daily by around 4 AM and 4 PM EST/EDT, and is updated as necessary.

Point Forecast Matrices
FOS/WMO Header:  FOUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFPFMLMK
The Point Forecast Matrix product is a tabular listing of expected weather elements over the next several days, at specific cities in central Kentucky and south Central Indiana.  It is similar to the Model Output Statistics (MOS) guidance, but reflects forecaster input into the process.  Contents include expected temperature, dew point, humidity, wind, sky condition, and precipitation chances and amounts in 3 hourly increments for the first 60 hours of the forecast, with 6 hourly increments thereafter. The PFM is issued twice daily by around 4 AM and 4 PM EST/EDT, and is updated as necessary.

Hazardous Weather Outlook
FOS/WMO Header:  FLUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFHWOLMK

The Hazardous Weather Outlook, issued around 4 AM and 4 PM EDT/EST daily, and more often as needed. The HWO highlights any expected hazardous weather conditions over the next seven days. This includes, but is not limited to severe weather, flooding, extreme heat or cold, winter weather, and dense fog.

Non-Precipitation Weather Message
FOS/WMO Header:  WWUS73 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFNPWLMK

The Non-Precipitation Weather Message is used to issue watches, advisories, warnings, cancellations, or updates for various weather phenomena.  These include:  Dense fog, high winds, excessive heat indices or wind chill, frost and freeze during the growing season which is defined locally as when daylight saving time is in effect, and blowing dust. Definitions of the various NPW products can be found here.  This product is generally issued every 6 hours until the phenomena ends.

Winter Weather Message
FOS/WMO Header:  WWUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFWSWLMK

The Winter Weather Message is used to issue watches, advisories, warnings, cancellations, or updates for various winter weather phenomena.  It is generally issued every 6 hours until the phenomena ends. Details on the various winter weather products can be found on our website.

Tabular State Forecast (Kentucky)
FOS/WMO Header:  FPUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFSFTKY
The Tabular State Forecast is issued twice daily, normally between 4 and 5 AM/PM eastern time year-round.  It gives specific temperature forecasts for 22 locations in Kentucky for the next 7 days, as well as a one-word summary of the weather conditions expected.  Although issued by the Louisville NWS, forecast information is also contributed by the Paducah, Jackson, Wilmington, and Charleston NWS offices for use in this product.

Tabular State Forecast (Indiana)
FOS/WMO Header:  FPUS63 KIND
AWIPS Header:  INDSFTIN
The Tabular State Forecast is issued twice daily, normally between 4 and 5 AM/PM eastern time year-round.  It gives specific temperature forecasts for 19 locations in Indiana for the next 7 days, as well as a one-word summary of the weather conditions expected.  Although issued by the Indianapolis NWS, forecast information is also contributed by the Louisville, Paducah, Northern Indiana, Wilmington, and Chicago NWS offices for use in this product.

Regional Weather Summary
FOS/WMO Header:  AWUS83 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRWSLMK
The Weather Summary gives a brief overview of the weather across central Kentucky and south central Indiana over the past 12 hours, and an outlook of expected weather conditions over the Ohio Valley the next 12 to 24 hours.  Expected positions of weather systems, forecasts of precipitation, and temperatures are included.  The product is issued once per day; normally by 5 PM EST/EDT.

Aviation Weather Products

Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF)
FOS/WMO Header:  FTUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Headers:  SDFTAFSDF (Louisville International Airport), SDFTAFLEX (Lexington Bluegrass Field), and SDFTAFBWG (Bowling Green Warren Co. Airport)
These coded messages, for aviation interests, are issued routinely 4 times a day, by 0540, 1140, 1740 and 2340 UTC, and updated as necessary.  The forecasts contain information related to wind, visibility, weather hazards, and cloud levels for a 24 hour period, except 36 hours for SDF. The latest TAFs: [ KSDF ]  [ KLEX ] [ KBWG ]

Hot Air Balloon Forecast (REC)
FOS/WMO Header:  SXUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRECLMK
The Hot Air Balloon Forecast is issued before 4 AM EDT and 4 PM EDT each day.  It provides forecasts of surface winds, boundary layer winds, winds at 3000 and 6000 feet, and any weather.  It also gives Doppler radar sensed winds (from Fort Knox) and sunrise /sunset times.

Fire Weather Products

Fire Weather Planning Forecast
FOS/WMO Header:  FNUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFWFLMK
The Fire Weather Planning Forecasts are issued daily by 5 AM EST/EDT. During the “fire weather seasons” a second forecast is issued by around 4 PM EST/EDT. A headline may be added to the top of the forecast, denoting significant weather, or for the issuance of a Red Flag Warning or Fire Weather Watch. The synopsis will briefly cover locations of fronts and systems which produce the weather. The first 36 hours of the forecast will contain specific weather elements such as temperatures, wind direction and speed, maximum and minimum relative humidity, precipitation amounts, mixing heights, and transport wind speeds and direction. The extended three to seven-day forecast is a general forecast which mentions the possibility of precipitation and high and temperatures for each day. Note that the fire weather seasons are currently defined as: February 15 through April 30, and October 1 through December 15.  These dates may change depending on the severity of the fire season.

Fire Weather Station Forecasts
FOS/WMO Header:  FNUS83 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFWMLMK

The National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) is a quantitative means for evaluating the fire danger across vast areas.  This complex model of fuel and weather parameters processes daily weather observations and fuel moisture as input, and fire managers receive numeric output danger over a given area. Fire Weather Station forecasts are routinely issued during the spring and autumn fire seasons to be input into the NFDRS.  The station forecast provides specific information on expected weather, temperature, humidity, maximum and minimum values, and lightning activity levels. The station forecast is issued for Hardin Ridge and Tipsaw Lake in the Hoosier National Forest, Mammoth Cave, and Alpine (Cumberland Co.). The FWM is issued daily only during the spring and fall “fire weather” seasons, and is transmitted by around 330 PM EST/EDT. The fire weather seasons are currently defined as: February 15 through April 30, and October 1 through December 15. These dates may change depending on the severity of the fire season.

Fire Weather Watch
FOS/WMO Header:  WWUS83 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRFWLMK

Fire Weather Watches are used to alert users of the possible development of a Red Flag event within the next three days.  A Red Flag event is defined as an event where ten-hour fuel stick moisture must be 8% or less, along with afternoon relative humidity levels 25% or below, and 20-foot winds are expected to exceed 15 mph.  All three requirements must be met for at least a couple hours.

Red Flag Warning
FOS/WMO Header:  WWUS83 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRFWLMK

Red Flag Warnings are issued to warn an impending or ongoing Red Flag event, when rapid fire spread is likely due to favorable weather conditions. A Red Flag event is defined as an event where ten-hour fuel stick moisture must be 8% or less, along with afternoon relative humidity levels 25% or below, and 20-foot winds are expected to exceed 15 mph.  All three requirements must be met for at least a couple hours.

Hydrological Products

Flood Watch
FOS/WMO Header:  WGUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFFALMK
The Flood Watch is issued when heavy rainfall is forecast to cause significant or widespread flooding.  This is usually issued at least 6 hours in advance of the expected event, and on occasion as much as a day or two in advance in high confidence situations. Updates to an ongoing flood watch are also issued under the FFA product.  If the event is still a few days away, a Hydrologic Outlook may be issued instead, to give a heads-up to the potential of heavy rainfall.

Flood Warning
FOS/WMO Header:  WGUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFLWLMK

The Flood Warning product is issued when river levels are expected to rise to potentially damaging levels.  Flood Warnings can also be used when overland flooding is expected to persist for many hours.

Flood Statement
FOS/WMO Header: WGUS83 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFLSLMK
The Flood Statement product can be issued for a number of reasons:  1) Follow-up information on Flood Warnings, either county-based or river-based;  or 2) Short-term flooding which may cause an inconvenience, but is not considered to be threatening ("urban and small stream flooding").  When issued for river flooding forecast purposes, they are issued twice daily, usually between 10-11 AM and between 8-9 PM EST/EDT.

Hydrologic Outlook
FOS/WMO Header:  FGUS73 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFESFLMK
The Hydrologic Outlook is used to give an outlook of heavy rainfall and possible flooding more than 36 or 48 hours out in the forecast.  In the late winter and early spring, this product can give information on the possibility of flooding due to snowmelt and expected springtime precipitation. 

Daily River and Lake Summary
FOS/WMO Header:  FGUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRVDLMK
This product gives forecast river levels for the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers over the next 4 days. Locations along the Ohio River include Markland, McAlpine, and Cannelton. Along the Kentucky River, forecast for Ford, High Bridge, and Frankfort are shown. It is issued once per day, normally between 10 and 11 AM EST/EDT. These forecasts can be viewed in graphical format through our Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) website.

Hydrologic Summary
FOS/WMO Header:  SRUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRVALMK
The Hydrologic Summary product is issued daily around 930 AM EST/EDT.  It contains observed river and lake levels, along with precipitation amounts across central Kentucky and south central Indiana.

Climate Products

Daily Climatological Summaries:
FOS/WMO Header:  CDUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Headers:  SDFCLISDF (Louisville), SDFCLILEX (Lexington), and SDFCLIBWG (Bowling Green)
Climatological summaries for data collected at Louisville (both the International Airport and NWS office), Lexington Bluegrass Airport, and Bowling Green Warren Co. Regional Airport are issued twice daily. The morning Daily Climatological Summary is issued around 130 AM EST/230 AM EDT but no later than 150 AM EST/250 AM EDT. The afternoon Daily Climatological Summary is issued around 430 PM EST/EDT but no later than 450 PM EST/EDT.  These summaries contain information on temperatures, degree days, precipitation, wind, climatological normals, and records.

Drought Information Statement
FOS/WMO Header:  AXUS73 KLMK
AWIPS Headers:  SDFDGTSDF
Drought Information Statements are issued whenever all or part of the Louisville CWFA is affected by Severe Drought as determined by the United States Drought Monitor.  They are normally issued on Thursday, but may be issued on other days as well, given staffing, on-going weather, and drought status considerations.

Monthly Climatological Summaries:
FOS/WMO Header:  CXUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Headers:  SDFCLMSDF (Louisville), SDFCLMLEX (Lexington), and SDFCLMBWG (Bowling Green)
Preliminary climatological summaries for the past month are issued on the 1st of each month, normally before 12 PM EST/EDT, for Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green.  The summaries include average temperature and maximum observed values, degree days, precipitation, and comparisons to normal.

Record Report
FOS/WMO Header:  SXUS73 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRERLMK (SDFRERLEX for Lexington specific records)

The Record Report is issued when record conditions have been observed from central Kentucky and south central Indiana official observing sites.

Regional Temperature and Precipitation Table
FOS/WMO Header:  ASUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRTPLMK
The Regional Temperature and Precipitation Table is issued twice daily: between 9 and 10 AM EST (10 and 11 AM EDT), and again between 730 and 830 PM EST (830 and 930 PM EDT).  It contains basic climate information from around central Kentucky and south central Indiana, from airport observation sites and cooperative observers.  The data primarily consists of high and low temperatures, and measured precipitation, including snow depth if applicable.

Local Precipitation Reports
FOS/WMO Header: SXUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFLCOLMK
The CoCoRaHS Precipitation Summary provides precipitation amounts and snow depth information from an increasingly dense network of volunteer observers across southern Indiana and central Kentucky.  The report is updated by 10:45 AM EST/9:45 AM CST every day.

Kentucky Temperature and Precipitation Roundup
FOS/WMO Header:  ASUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRTPKY
The State Temperature and Precipitation Table is issued twice daily around 730 AM/PM EST (830 AM/PM EDT) but no later than 750 AM/PM EST (850 AM/PM EDT).  It lists the maximum and minimum temperatures along with precipitation and snow depth (if applicable) for select cities across Kentucky.

Kentucky Agricultural Weather Reports
FOS/WMO Header:  SHUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFAGOLMK
The Agricultural Weather Report is issued once daily between 830 PM EST/EDT and 900 PM EST/EDT. The report includes maximum and minimum temperatures, 24-hour precipitation, 4-inch soil temperature maximum, minimum, and average values, and maximum and minimum relative humidity for various agricultural stations across Kentucky.

Supplemental Weather Observations
FOS/WMO Header:  SXUS54 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFOSOLMK
The Supplemental Weather Observations report is issued once daily between 730 AM EST/EDT and 800 AM EST/EDT.  The report includes maximum and minimum temperatures, 24-hour precipitation, and snow depth information for various locations across central Kentucky and southern Indiana.

General Public Products

Hourly Weather Roundup (Kentucky)
FOS/WMO Header:  ASUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFRWRKY
The hourly weather roundup provides the most recent hourly weather observations at selected locations across Kentucky. Due to occasional delays in data transmission, the roundup is issued twice an hour; directly at the top of the hour, and again at eight minutes past the hour. Present weather, temperature, dew point, relative humidity, wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, and pressure tendency are included.  The remarks section will include additional information such as the heat index, wind chill, and any obstructions to visibility.

Hourly Weather Roundup (Indiana)
FOS/WMO Header:  ASUS43 KIND
AWIPS Header:  INDRWRIN
The hourly weather roundup provides the most recent hourly weather observations at selected locations across Indiana. Due to occasional delays in data transmission, the roundup is issued twice an hour; at one minute before the top of the hour, and again at nine minutes past the hour. Present weather, temperature, dew point, relative humidity, wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, and pressure tendency are included.  The remarks section will include additional information such as the heat index, wind chill, and any obstructions to visibility.

Louisville Air Quality Index
FOS/WMO Header:  AEUS73 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFAQILMK
The Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District monitors air quality at various locations around Jefferson County, Kentucky.  At minimum four times each weekday, the Air Quality Index is issued by NWS Louisville which includes the current air quality, the elevated pollutant, the current pollution category, and a short-term forecast for the pollution index.  In the case of dangerous pollutants, health advisories or alerts would be included at the end of the product.

Public Information Statement
FOS/WMO Header:  NOUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFPNSLMK
The Public Information Statement is used for a variety of purposes.  They include notifications of winter storm accumulations of snow and/or ice, storm damage surveys, severe weather safety rules, media advisories, and NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio outages.

Civil Emergency Message
FOS/WMO Header:  WOUS43 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFCEMLMK
Civil Emergency Messages are used to inform the public of a non-weather related, hazardous emergency. An example would be a chemical spill where hazardous vapors are being released.  The product is issued at the request of an official agency, such as local government officials or state emergency management.

Earthquake Report
FOS/WMO Header:  SEUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFEQRLMK
An Earthquake Report is issued upon occurrence of an earthquake being felt or causing damage in central Kentucky or south central Indiana. The information is relayed to the U.S. Geological Survey, who establishes the official Richter Scale reading for the quake. 

Aircraft Accident Report
FOS/WMO Header:  NOUS53 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFOAVLMK
The Aircraft Accident Report includes weather details around the time that a significant aircraft incident occurs in central Kentucky or south central Indiana.

Radar Outage Notification
FOS/WMO Header:  NOUS63 KLMK
AWIPS Header:  SDFFTMLVX
This message is to inform NWS offices, vendors, and users of WSR-88D data that the radar at Ft. Knox (KLVX) has experienced an outage (either planned or unexpected).  It includes reasons for the outage if known, expected outage time, and a statement of which surrounding radars can be used for radar information in central Kentucky and south central Indiana.


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