35 Years of Service to Aviation 1978-2013


The Kansas City Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) provides on-site meteorological impact-based decision support services to Federal Aviation Administration air traffic managers and controllers to ensure the safe and efficient flow of air traffic. Our area of resposibility includes most of Kansas and Missouri, northern Oklahoma, southern Illinois, and small portions of the Texas panhandle, southeast Nebraska, and southeast Iowa. As National Weather Service meteorologists, our staff and mission support and practice the Weather Ready Nation concept. 

View of Cumulonimbus from St. Louis Lambert Airport
Photo Copyright Bevin Shively

OFFICE ACTIVITIES:  Meteorologists perform their duties daily from 5:30 am to 9:30 pm local time, corresponding with periods of greatest air traffic. Situational awareness and analyses of synoptic and mesoscale phenomena form the basis for formal, scheduled weather briefings as well as on-demand, situation-dependent additional briefings. Routine coordination activities encompass local control towers, Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities, Weather Forecast Offices, Aviation Weather Center, the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC), as well as other stakeholders. Disseminated products include the Center Weather Advisory (CWA), which describes adverse weather conditions currently occurring or forecast to occur within the subsequent two hours, and the Meteorological Impact Statement (MIS), which highlights expected weather conditions likely to disrupt the safe and efficient flow of air traffic up to 48 hours in advance. The work environment provides the opportunity to interface directly with the end-user of meteorological data, immediately recognizing and responding to their concerns and needs.   



OFFICE LOCATION: The Kansas City CWSU is located at 250 South Rogers Road, Olathe, Kansas within the operations control room of the FAA's Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), about 20 miles south of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. To reach the CWSU, exit I-35 at the Santa Fe exit (exit 218) , go east on Santa Fe to the first light, and turn right (south) on Clairborne. Go south on Clairborne for a tenth of a mile to Rogers Road (first light) and turn right. Follow Rogers Road for another tenth of a mile to the entrance to the ARTCC (on the left side of the road). All visitors must register at the guard gate and receive a visitors pass. Visitors must be escorted within the facility.

COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION: Olathe, Kansas (2011 Census population 127,907) is the county seat and second largest city in prosperous Johnson County, Kansas (population 544,179), located on the southwest side of the Kansas City metropolitan area (population 2,035,000). In Johnson County, you will find the state's largest county by population, with all the shopping and entertainment amenities expected of a larger city. However, you will also find the low crime, friendly neighbors, and affordable cost of living typical of smaller communities. Additionally, the county is well-known for its outstanding public school and library system, biking trails and, being in the Kansas City area, world-recognized barbeque establishments. Communities in Johnson County have consistently been ranked nationally among the top ten places to live by Money Magazine.  Kansas City International Airport ("KCI") is approximately forty minutes north of the Center and provides daily non-stop service to 48 cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

CLIMATE: Olathe lies on the transition zone between humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) and humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with wide seasonal swings in temperature. Its USDA Hardiness Zone is 6b, meaning expected lowest temperatures of the year fall between -5 and zero degrees Fahrenheit. Daily average high temperatures peak at 90 degrees in late July, falling to a minimum of 38 degrees in early January. Average daily low temperatures range from 70 to 21 degrees, respectively. Approximately 40 inches of precipitation falls annually, of which about 15 inches is in the form of snow. In general, the winter is cold but fairly dry; spring is mild and wet with plenty of thunderstorms; summer is hot and sunny; and fall features warm, sunny days followed by clear, cool nights.    

RECREATION: The KCMO metro area is home to major league baseball, football, soccer, and tennis teams, as well as a NASCAR racing facility. Over 40 city and county parks in Olathe offer opportunities for boating, fishing, golf, tennis, jogging, swimming and team sports  (baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and football are popular recreational activities for both adults and children). There are 23 miles of bike paths within the Olathe city limits. In western Missouri and eastern Kansas, there are a dozen large recreational lakes for boating, fishing and camping, all within an easy one to three hour drive of the city. In addition to sports, the Kansas City metro area is home to Worlds of Fun, Oceans of Fun, and Schlitterbahn amusement parks, the National World War I museum, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Starlight Theater, Sprint Center arena, the Harry S. Truman Library, the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, the Steamboat Arabia Museum, the Kansas City Jazz Museum, and the Negro Baseball Hall of Fame museum. The Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, Missouri as well as the Country Club Plaza are nationally-renowned for their architecture, eateries, and shopping opportunities. With over 200 water fountains, Kansas City has more fountains than any other city aside from Rome. 

EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES: The award-winning Olathe school district (enrollment 28,300) is one of the top public academic districts within the KC metro area and the state of Kansas. The graduation rate is 89% with an average ACT composite score of almost 24. Ten parochial schools in Olathe serve an additional 1,200 students. The Kansas School for the Deaf is located in the city. Post-secondary educational facilities abound in the area, with numerous smaller colleges and universities. The main campus of the University of Kansas is located twenty miles to the west in Lawrence and boasts a student population of nearly 30,000, providing excellent academics and first-rate athletics. Adjacent Overland Park (population 176,185) is home to the Edwards Campus branch of the University of Kansas system, providing both undergraduate and graduate courses. Also located in Overland Park is Johnson County Community College (full and part-time enrollment 34,000).  Mid-American Nazarene University (enrollment 1,900) calls Olathe home.  


HOUSING: Numerous hotels are located along the I-35 corridor in and near Olathe. A wide variety of new and existing homes are readily available in the area; the mean sales price of a house in Olathe is $213,700 (2011 figure). Rental property is plentiful with monthly apartment/townhouse rentals averaging in the $500 to $1000 per month range. Single family house rentals generally range between $1,000 and $1,500 per month. While housing is largely suburban tract, more spacious lots in a rural setting are available within ten miles of the ARTCC.
TAXES: Property taxes on a $225,000 house in Olathe are approximately $3,500 annually. Additionally, personal property tax is assessed on cars, trucks, boats, trailers, motorcycles, and airplanes. Kansas has a state income tax with the top rate at 4.90 percent. There are no local income taxes in Kansas, but Kansas City, Missouri levies a one percent local tax on any income earned within its city limits. The sales tax rate in Olathe is generally 8.65 percent.
TRANSPORTATION: Public transportation is minimal in and near Olathe; a personal automobile is a necessity. There is housing close to the ARTCC, permitting one to walk or bike to work. Parking is secured, free, and readily available at the facility.


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