Welcome to the Anchorage Center Weather Service Unit
The Anchorage Center Weather Service Unit (ZAN CWSU) is located in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) in Anchorage, Alaska. The CWSU is staffed by four National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists. Our hours of operation are from 5:30am-9pm daily.
Anchorage Center is one of 21 ARTCCs in the United States and encompasses 2.4 square million miles starting at the north pole and bordering Russian, Japanese, Canadian, and Oakland Flight Information Regions (FIR).
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the main HUB airport in Alaska. In 2005, the Anchorage Airport was ranked 3rd worldwide for cargo throughput and 1st in the United States for cargo poundage. Each year, 5.9 billion pounds of cargo pass through Anchorage and 90% of all cargo sent from China to the U.S. goes through Anchorage first.
Over 100 active volcanoes in Alaska; and Kamchatka and Kuriles, Russia have the potential to seriously disrupt flight operations in and around the Alaskan FIR. Recent volcanic ash eruptions, from Augustine in 2006 and Kasatochi in 2008, interrupted flight operations into Anchorage Airport and resulted in numerous flight cancellations.
The Anchorage CWSU supports Air Traffic Managers at the Anchorage Center through verbal briefings and written warnings. Center Weather Advisories (CWA) are short-term warnings, valid for zero to 2 hours, of hazardous weather conditions provided to all aviation interests including private pilots, towers, flight service stations, and commercial airlines. A CWA is a more localized product than the AIRMETs and SIGMETs produced by the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit (AAWU). Meteorological Impact Statements (MIS) are valid up to 12 hours and are intended to give Air Traffic Managers a heads up of hazardous conditions that may affect air traffic flow in the Anchorage FIR.