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Colors Metar Taf

METAR & TAF Colors

Like TAF reports, reading a METAR is not very difficult: they both use the same format. It takes some time to get used to reading these abbreviations but this learning process will happen very quickly.

Color coding of METAR and TAF reports are now used throughout several Internet weather services, applications and products like maps. We also see them in mobile device apps too. A good example are Sky MET and the website SkyVector.

As not everyone might be in the know what these colors exactly mean, we created this page for you to learn about it or use it as a refresher. Keep in mind that color coding only refers to ceiling and visibility and not to high wind or gust situations.

Color Coding

METAR and TAF use the following table as the basis for the color coding scheme in visual products:

Category Color Ceiling   Visibility
LIFR - Low Instrument Flight Rules Magenta below 500 feet AGL and/or less than 1 mile
IFR - Instrument Flight Rules Red 500 to below 1000 feet AGL and/or 1 mile to less than 3 miles
MVFR - Marginal Visual Flight Rules Blue 1000 to 3000 feet AGL and/or 3 to 5 miles
VFR - Visual Flight Rules Green greater than 3000 feet AGL and greater than 5 miles

In text: By definition, IFR is ceiling less than 1000 feet AGL and/or visibility less than 3 miles while LIFR is a sub-category of IFR. By definition, VFR is ceiling greater than or equal to 3000 feet AGL and visibility greater than or equal to 5 miles while MVFR is a sub-category of VFR.

If we take these numbers and create a colored coded table with visibility and ceiling we see the following result:

>3000 ft        
3000 ft      
1000 ft    
500 ft  
  1 mile 3 mile 5 mile >5 mile

This table shows the LIFR, IFR, MVFR and VFR limits in a very easy to understand and remember layout.

Military Colors

These guys use a slightly different color coding with more resolution in the altitudes. The image below shows it clearly.

Colors Military

As already said above: keep in mind that these tables only look at visibility and ceiling. High winds are not included and you need to set your own limits for that.

written by EAI.

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