The Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) is a semi-technical product used by NWS meteorologists as a means to explain the scientific rationale behind a forecast and summarize watches, warnings, and/or advisories in effect. This highly visible product is used to convey forecast and watch/warning/advisory information primarily to federal agencies, weather sensitive groups and the media, however it is available to all interested users. The forecast insight provided by meteorologists with the National Weather Service in the AFD is beyond that which can be found in other NWS products.
The AFD is issued at a minimum twice a day, by all NWS offices within a 2-hour period preceeding or 1-hour period following the release of the Zone Forecast Product (ZFP) in the early morning, and again in the afternoon. The NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan office also updates the AFD in the evening when a watch/warning or advisory is in effect, or will be issued shortly.
You can find the latest AFD issued by the NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan office on the main page of our home page. Scroll down to the Pick then Click section and select the Area Forecast Discussion from the pull down menu, followed by simply clicking on the button.
You can also get to the latest AFD by following this link!
The AFD is composed in plain language using mostly complete words, however common contractions are permissable.
The NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan office also prepares AFD sections specifically tailored to Aviation and Marine interests. These are located in the lower portion of the AFD product, just above the Watch/Warning/Advisory zone coding block.
The Aviation section is available in every AFD, while the Marine portion is available when there is a potential for stronger winds, waves, dense fog and/or freezing spray in the near shore waters of Lake Michigan from Sheboygan to Winthrop Harbor, Illinois. The Marine portion can also be used to highlight stagnant or changeable weather conditions which do not meet the above criteria.
The Aviation portion of the AFD is used to explain forecast reasoning for expected flight categories, weather and winds at TAF (airport) sites during the period covered by the next regularly scheduled TAF issuance. The NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan office prepares TAF forecasts for the KMSN (Madison Dane County Regional Airport), KMKE (General Mitchell International Airport), KUES (Waukesha County Airport) and KENW (Kenosha Regional Airport).
For the latest TAF forecasts, go to the Aviation Weather Center.
Marc Kavinsky - Senior Meteorologist
NWS - Milwaukee/Sullivan