DATA & SERVICES: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Legal, Insurance, Certification FAQ
(+/-) What is "certified" data?
Most states require all records that are to be submitted as evidence in a court of law to be authenticated in some way, typically called certification. There are several types of certification available. The MRCC can certify copies of climate records archived at the MRCC. As an archiving facility, the only fact the MRCC can attest to is that exact duplicates of climatic records on file at this center have been provided to those that requested such data. The National Climatic Data Center, the official United States archive for climatic records, can provide certifications as well. See our Certifications page
for more information.
(+/-) What can you testify to in court (and where can you testify)?
Generally, it is not necessary for us to appear in court to testify about the data we supply. The certification we provide serves the purpose of authenticating data. If we are subpoenaed to testify, we appear only as a Friend of the Court, and can testify only that the data come from our archives. We cannot testify as to the accuracy or appropriateness of the data and cannot appear as an "expert witness". For more information see the NOAA document "Weather Records in Private Litigation"
. If expert testimony is needed, the services of a forensic meteorologist should be retained. The American Meteorological Society
and the National Weather Association
maintain listings of consulting meteorologists.
(+/-) An inspector said that I have had hail damage to the roof of my home. I've lived in my house since 1995. Can you tell me all of the dates that hail was reported in my area?
That depends. First of all, hail is typically a very localized phenomenon. It may hail in one location, and a half mile away no hail may be observed. Because it can occur in a relatively small area, not all hail that falls is observed or reported. One of the criteria for a severe thunderstorm is observed hail 3/4-inch or more in diameter, so if severe storms have occurred at your location there may be a record of hail if it occurred. These reports include the size of the hail, location where it occurred, and time it occurred.
If you know of specific dates, check the NWS Local Storm Reports, maintained by the Storm Prediction Center. If you are unsure of specific dates, check the Storm Events Database, maintained by the National Climatic Data Center.
The only source of hail data that the MRCC can provide are copies of the pertinent storm event pages found in the publication Storm Data. Storm Data is compiled and published by the National Climatic Data Center. There is about a four to six month lag in the publication of the monthly Storm Data publications. Certified copies of Storm Data must be requested through the National Climatic Data Center. If you have questions or need assistance in acquiring storm information, please contact our Service Office.
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(+/-) Lightning struck my house and damaged some of my belongings. The insurance company said that I need to provide documentation in order to process the claim. Do you have such information?
While we may have lightning data on hand, we cannot disseminate it, as the National Lightning Detection Network is maintained and operated by Vaisala
. Reports can be obtained from the National Lightning Detection Network at a cost, and all requests are processed through Weather Fusion
. Even though we cannot directly help you locate lightning strikes, we may be able to tell you whether or not a thunderstorm was reported in your area, based on other resources available to us.
(+/-) I had wind damage to my roof during a recent storm and the insurance company needs documentation of the wind speed. Can you tell me what the wind gusts were during the storm?
Wind speed can vary greatly over short distances, and is affected by things such as trees, buildings, and other obstacles. Most wind speed and direction data is obtained from airport observation sites. Typically, these have unobstructed exposure to the wind, and may not accurately represent wind conditions in an urban area, for example. A report from the nearest airport may be sufficient evidence, though it will depend on some of the factors previously mentioned. Alternatively, if there is not a nearby airport, other resources would include the NWS Local Storm Reports,
maintained by the Storm Prediction Center, and the Storm Events Database,
maintained by the National Climatic Data Center.
(+/-) I received daily data from a specific location, but I have some questions for the observer. Can you provide me their contact information?
The observers within the National Weather Service Cooperative Observing Program (NWS Coop), the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), and others are primarily volunteers. We will not provide names, addresses, phone numbers, or any other contact information of observers. In fact, their identities are often protected through formal agreements with their managing offices.
Data and Data Services FAQ
(+/-) I need climate data on a monthly (weekly, daily, etc…) basis, but I don’t want to have to call or order it each time. Is there a way to obtain data on a regular basis?
Yes! The MRCC maintains an on-line data portal called, cli-MATE,
where a user can login and obtain a variety of climate data. It is a completely free service, after a short registration process. Cli-MATE is great for data requests that do not require large numbers of stations or extensive post-processing. If you have data needs that cannot be met by cli-MATE, contact the Service Office and we will work with you to determine the means way to provide you the data you require, including subscriptions with automated delivery.
(+/-) I’m not comfortable using cli-MATE, is there another way in which I can receive my data on a regular basis?
Yes! We offer other options such subscriptions with automated delivery. Subscriptions are set up by a staff member and can be done in a number of ways, including uploading data to our site for download and automated delivery via email. Contact the Service Office and we will discuss all of the options with you.
(+/-) What is the difference between hourly data, daily data, and monthly data?
Hourly data are the values observed each hour, usually at airport stations. Hourly values typically include temperature, dew point temperature, wet-bulb temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, barometric pressure, and wind speed and direction. Daily data refers to values that represent the character of the weather for a particular day. These usually include maximum temperature, minimum temperature, mean temperature, and total precipitation, but may include other values, such as snowfall. Monthly data refer to values that represent the character of the climate for a specific month and are typically averages or sums of daily and/or hourly data. Monthly data may include average maximum and minimum temperatures, average mean temperature, total precipitation, and total snowfall. Daily and monthly values are available for many more stations than hourly. Not all hourly stations report daily and monthly values.
(+/-) I was looking through some daily and hourly data and noticed ’T’ listed at times in the precipitation and snowfall columns, what does that mean?
The ‘T’ stands for ‘trace.’ A trace of precipitation (or snowfall) is precipitation that was observed but when measured is less than .01 inches.
(+/-) Do you provide sunrise and sunset data? What about moon phases?
We absolutely can, however, the data we would provide come directly from the U.S. Naval Observatory. The U.S. Naval Observatory
is the official source for these data and are provided free of charge through their site.
(+/-) Can you provide climate data for locations outside your region?
Yes, we have access to data nationwide and can absolutely provide it to you. While we should be able to answer most questions you may have about data outside of our region, we advise you to contact the local Regional Climate Center
if we cannot satisfactorily answer your question.
(+/-) If I cannot get a hold of anyone directly, how long might it take to get a return e-mail or phone call?
We strive to answer all calls and e-mails immediately, but there are times when staff is on travel or workloads are large and we cannot get to questions and requests right away. We will make every effort to contact you within two business days.
(+/-) Why is there a cost associated with my data request?
All of the Regional Climate Centers are non-profit organizations. Any fees associated with your request go towards recovering overhead costs for providing data and data services. Fees are not for the data themselves, but rather the staff time necessary to answer questions and complete requests.
(+/-) How much will my data request cost?
The cost of a data request will vary based on the type of request and the amount of time necessary to complete the request. Please see the How to Order Data
page for details on possible fees and charges.
(+/-) Does the MRCC conduct any scientific research?
(+/-) Are MRCC staff willing or able to collaborate on inter-disciplinary projects?
Yes! We welcome research collaboration. However, our ability to collaborate may depend on the availability and current work load of our staff. Please contact our Service Office
with interest and we’ll gladly discuss the possibility of collaboration.
Education and Outreach FAQ
(+/-) Does the MRCC have any education materials or know of any I can find?
We have a number of resources, both internal and external, for you to check out. The MRCC has developed materials for students and teachers including how-to guides and activities. We have also compiled a number of resources from partners and other websites. Check out our education section
to view what we have available.
(+/-) Is the MRCC involved in any education, extension, and outreach projects? Do you go into schools and speak to students?
Absolutely! In fact, we have a dedicated Extension Climatologist on staff. In general, the MRCC has been involved in a number of education, extension, and outreach projects, ranging from educational booths at fairs and expos to going into classrooms to talk to students about weather and climate. While we would love to be involved in these activities all the time, there are times we are limited due to workloads and availability. If you would like us to be involved in an activity or give a talk, please give us as much notice as possible and as much information as you can with regards to how you would like us involved. Please contact our Service Office
to get things started!