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cmbr

How to interpret NWS abbreviations for location/county

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I'm working with the NWS Severe Weather Dataset. Under the COUNTYNAME variable for areas hard hit by large storms, it has an alphanumeric code that I assume are a series of abbreviations, but I don't know how to interpret them. 

Here are a few examples:

"MIZ049-055"

"FLZ018-021"

"VAZ098>100"

"LAZ034>040 - 046>050 - 056>070" 

Initially, I thought they might be the two-letter state abbreviations followed by sets of county FIPS codes, but this doesn't appear to be the case.

Would anyone know how to interpret these codes?

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10 hours ago, cmbr said:

I'm working with the NWS Severe Weather Dataset. Under the COUNTYNAME variable for areas hard hit by large storms, it has an alphanumeric code that I assume are a series of abbreviations, but I don't know how to interpret them. 

Here are a few examples:

"MIZ049-055"

"FLZ018-021"

"VAZ098>100"

"LAZ034>040 - 046>050 - 056>070" 

Initially, I thought they might be the two-letter state abbreviations followed by sets of county FIPS codes, but this doesn't appear to be the case.

Would anyone know how to interpret these codes?

These are zone groups. Similar, but different than county codes. NWS zones can split a county due to topography, climo, or other meteorological criteria. Therefore, there are normally more zone groups than county codes for a given CWFA. County codes are still used for certain products like hydro, but most products use zone groups.      

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Around the same time that I posted this I wrote to the NWS regional office. Here's the reply:

Quote
Z stands for Zones.  In many cases, individual counties are assigned zone numbers.  In areas out west like in mountainous areas and sometimes along coastlines, zone numbers correspond to certain areas of elevation or portions of counties.  The "LA" is the state abbreviation, in this case Louisiana.
 
Here is listing of maps that show the zone numbers. 
 
So in this example...."LAZ034>040 - 046>050 - 056>070"   The product corresponds for the following zone numbers....034 thru 040 (meaning...034,035,036,037,038,039,040)...046 thru 050...056 through 070.
2

 

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