Hot Air Balloon Forecast Revamp

The National Weather Service in La Crosse will be producing an updated version of the Hot Air Balloon forecast starting Sunday, April 1st of this year.  This new version of the forecast will provide more weather forecast information that is important for Hot Air Balloon pilots and their decisicion making process on whether they can fly or not.  Feedback was received from a number of hot air balloon pilots in the region which was critical for molding the elements that will be displayed in this new version of the forecast. 

Some of the new weather information that will be disseminated in this 24 hour forecast includes:

  • Surface Wind Speed, Direction, and Gusts
  • 1000 ft, 3000 ft, and 6000 ft Wind Speed and Direction
  • Sky Cover
  • Thunder and Fog probability
  • Sunrise/Sunset
  • Regional TAF

These forecasts will be sent out twice daily at 2am and 2pm, but will not be updated even if conditions change. The forecasts will also be for 5 zones in the local area rather than just Rochester.  They include:

  • North Central Wisconsin
  • Southeastern Minnesota
  • Western Wisconsin and Far Southeastern Minnesota
  • Northeast Iowa
  • Southwestern Wisconsin and far Northeastern Iowa.

This forecast can be found via the NWS La Crosse Aviation web page or directly at the following address:

Any feedback on these forecasts can be directed to:

Tim Halbach, Aviation Program Leader at

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