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Rapid Refresh (RAP)

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Composite reflectivity

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Surface Temperature

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850 mb Relative Humidity

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850 mb Wind

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250 mb Wind

The Rapid Refresh is the continental-scale NOAA hourly-updated assimilation/modeling system operational at NCEP. RAP covers North America and is comprised primarily of a numerical forecast model and an analysis/assimilation system to initialize that model. RAP is complemented by the higher-resolution 3km High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model, which is also updated hourly and covering a smaller geographic domain. NCEP implementation of 3km HRRR occurred 30 Sept 2014.

NCEP RAPv3/HRRRv2 parallel evaluation has started
The NCEP RAP version three/HRRR version two (RAPv3/HRRRv2) parallel 30-day evaluation has started as of 12 UTC 14 July 2016. Forecast grids are being produced from a parallel configuration of the RAPv3/HRRRv2 running on the NCEP computer system. These NCEP GRIB2 forecast grids are being produced and made available in real-time for all 24 runs per day. This NCEP RAPv3/HRRRv2 parallel configuration is not yet officially operational and will remain in a parallel status throughout this 30-day evaluation period. The estimated current date for the operational implementation of the RAPv3/HRRRv2 is 12 UTC 23 August 2016, although this date is still subject to change. We encourage users of the operational and/or experimental RAP and HRRR data to begin evaluation and use of these NCEP RAPv3/HRRRv2 parallel grids at your earliest convenience.

(1) GRIDS: The NCEP RAPv3/HRRRv2 parallel GRIB2 grids are available at:

(2) WEB GRAPHICS: The NCEP RAPv3/HRRRv2 parallel web graphics are available at:

Additional web graphics produced from ESRL (not 24/7 availability) for the NCEP RAPv3/HRRRv2 are available from:

(3) INFORMATION: The technical information notice (TIN) related to the underlying science and output changes between the operational RAPv2 and the parallel RAPv3 along with the operational HRRRv1 and the parallel HRRRv2 are contained in the document:

Experimental HRRRv2/RAPv3 implemented at ESRL 1 Jan 2015.

Recent RAP/HRRR presentations
  • Developed to serve users needing frequently updated short-range weather forecasts, including those in the US aviation community and US severe weather forecasting community. Also used prominently for energy-related (especially renewable) forecast guidance.

    High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR)

    Older news items

      The key features of the Rapid Refresh include:

    • high-frequency updated (every 1h) short-range weather model forecasts (out to 18h) in support of aviation, severe weather, energy, and other mesoscale weather forecast users
    • high-frequency (every 1h) 3-d objective analyses over all of North America, assimilating the following types of observations:
      • Commercial aircraft (including moisture data from WVSS-II sensors)
      • Profiler related
        • Wind profilers (404 and boundary-layer 915 MHz)
        • VAD (velocity-azimuth display) winds from NWS WSR-88D radars
        • RASS (Radio Acoustic Sounding System)
      • Rawinsondes and special dropwinsondes
      • Radar reflectivity (3-d)
      • Surface
        • Surface reporting stations and buoys (including cloud, visibility, current weather)
        • Mesonet (defer to RAP version 2)
      • Satellite
        • AMSU-A/B satellite radiances
        • GOES satellite radiances (defer to RAP version 2)
        • GPS total precipitable water estimates
        • GOES cloud-top data (pressure and temperature)
        • GOES high-density visible and IR cloud drift winds
      • Experimental
        • Lightning - defer to RAPv2 (used in ESRL RAP since Jan 2012)
        • Special wind-energy observations - defer to RAPv2 (used in ESRL RAP)

    Access to real-time and archive RAP grids
  • NCEP ftp site for real-time RAP data in GRIB2 format
  • NCEP RAP product inventory
  • NWS/COMET archive of RAP hybrid (native) grids
  • NASA ARM archive for RUC/RAP data . Click under "Data User Notes" on switch from RUC to RAP data on 5-1-2012. Data must be requested from the DOE/ARM facility.
  • Link to RUC data access (some links obsolete)