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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
For general questions not specific to Georgia or our forecast office, please visit
answers at
Questions specific to Georgia
Categorized Questions
Common Topics >>
Past weather data Lake Levels
Sunrise/Sunset Ozone Levels
Heating/Cooling Degree Days Real Time Radar Data
What is a "Severe" Thunderstorm? What does "Probability of Precipitation" mean?
General Information about Our Office or the NWS >>
NWS Peachtree City's Area of Responsibility Station Tours
NOAA Weather Radio & SAME codes Severe Weather Awareness Week
Specific Questions about Meteorology >>
What do the acronyms often seen in forecast discussions (such as "MCS" or "CAD") mean? Where can I decode these? Why are nighttime temperatures often much warmer in Atlanta than elsewhere in North GA?
Why is Rome's temperature generally warmer than surrounding areas?  
My question isn't answered here!

How do I get information about past weather data?
If you are looking for occurrences within the past year or two then you can access the information on our website under the "Climate" section. Click on Local. This will give you access to several products for several locations with information concerning temperature, rainfall amounts, days it rained, winds, heating & cooling degree days and more. The "CF6" and "CLI" products are the most frequently used. Want more locations? Want to dig deeper? Select the "NOWData" tab. If you need information that is not on that page, or is older than a couple of years then you can search the National Climatic Data Center's web page or the office of the Georgia State Climatologist's web page.

Where can I find information on Lake and River Levels and forecasts?
Look for a link called "Rivers/Lakes" on the blue navigation bar on the left side or our web pages. If you need further information, you might be able to find it at the Southeast River Forecast Center web page, or the USGS, or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Where can I find information about sunrise and sunset?
The US Naval Observatory provides sunrise and sunset information for various cities. 

Where can I find information on ozone levels for the State of Georgia?
The Department of Natural Resources has a web site that will provide this information. If you are looking for historical information, try also from the GA DNR.

Where can I find information on Heating and Cooling Degree Days?
Take a look at our "degree day" page. You will find a definition for the term "degree day" along with daily values over the past year at Atlanta, Athens, Columbus or Macon.

Where can I find real time RADAR images?
On all NOAA/NWS websites the radar images are "real time" (the same images our meteorologists are looking at) unless there is a problem beyond our control due to problems on the internet or on web servers. On the Peachtree City website radar data for North and Central Georgia can be obtained by clicking on the links under "Radar Imagery" in the navigation bar on the left side of every page.

What is a "Severe" Thunderstorm?
The National Weather Service classifies a severe thunderstorm as a storm that has winds greater than or equal to 58 miles per hour and/or hail one inch (quarter-size) in diameter or larger. Hail size is determined by the largest size observed, not an average or mean. Lightning does not factor into the designation of a severe thunderstorm warning at this time.

Does the Peachtree City NWS provide services to the entire state of Georgia?
No. Some southern and eastern counties are served by neighboring NWS offices. This is due to the proximity of these other offices to the areas they cover. This helps to give a more accurate coverage for all areas. The other offices that cover counties in the state are in Greenville-Spartanburg, Columbia, Charleston, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee. Links to these offices can be found on our home page.

Do you give tours through your facility? If so where can I find information about booking one?
Yes. Information on scheduling tours and directions to the office can be found at Also keep a look out on the website as the NWS PTC office does have Open House from time to time and it is advertised on our web site!

Where can I find information about NOAA weather radio?
The navigation bar on the left side of our web pages has link called NOAA Weather Radio. Following that link will take you to a page that gives the frequencies and the SAME codes for the correct programming of your weather radio... and a lot of other information about NWR.

When is Severe Weather Awareness Week?
Our "Severe Weather Awareness Week" is usually the first full week in February.

What do the acronyms often seen in forecast discussions (such as "MCS" or "CAD") mean? Where can I decode these?
You can find the meaning of many acronyms and abbreviations often used in our products at the National Weather Service glossary page.

Why are nighttime temperatures often much warmer in Atlanta than elsewhere in North GA?
The temperature is taken at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport which is affected by a phenomenon known as the "Urban Heat Island". On relatively calm, clear nights temperatures in urban areas are affected by the concentration of concrete/ashpalt, and also human activity. Concrete and ashpalt tends to retain heat through the night, while more grassy, or otherwise vegetated areas cool off. Activity related to humans, such as operating automobiles and aircraft generates heat and also stirs the air, which interferes with the nighttime cooling process. So...compared to areas less urbanized than Atlanta, temperatures on clear, calm nights will be warmer in Atlanta than in the areas outside the perimeter and across the rest of North Georgia.

Why is Rome's temperature generally warmer than surrounding areas?
There is nothing wrong with the thermometer. It has been checked several times. That observation is taken at the Rome Airport and there is a bit of a microclimate there. The location is nearly surrounded by higher terrain -- it is in a geographical feature called a "proverbial bowl". When air flows up and over higher terrain and then down into lower areas during the daylight hours, it warms up. Rome is located in a lower area surrounded by higher terrain.

What is the answer to my question?
If you do not see your question here, you can Contact Us and we will be glad to try to answer it for you.