STEP 2 - Open the .zip file. Double-click "setup.exe" and follow the directions. This will install the contents of the .zip file to your machine.
STEP 3 - Close the .zip file and move it to the recycle bin.
STEP 4 - Open Bufkit. This can be done a number of ways. You can go to the Start menu and a new folder should be found in the programs list with the bufkit executable inside. You can also open Bufkit by following the installation path you specified while running "setup.exe". In addition there may or may not be a shortcut on the Desktop. The program should successfully open. NOTE: the shortcut icon should look like this:
Wait! There's more! There are a couple of programs available to fully utilize bufkit's capabilities. These programs are optional, but are highly reccommended.
1) BufGet - This program will enable the "Bufget.tcl" script provided in the installation by allowing you to compile a list of links to bufkit soundings of your favorite cities for easy download (see below). Click this link to download and follow the installation instructions. Once installed, open the "BufGet.tcl" script by selecting the BufGet shortcut in the start menu.
2) Convective Storm Matrix - This program will enable the Conrad feature on the main panel. When convective storms are forecast by the model, a letter and number will appear where a green dash is present otherwise. Then just select one of the four buttons to load the matrix.
Now that you've installed Bufkit, and hopefully the programs above, it's time to get some data. There are several websites out there with bufkit profiles available to download. The list below are sites I've found to be helpful, especially for sites near or around Iowa.
1) Iowa Profiles - This page is provided by the DSM NWS with links to profiles around Iowa.
2) IA/NE Profiles - This page is provided by the OAX NWS with links to profiles for western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. This site usually updates the fastest, with NAM profiles available 2 hours after the run is initialized.
3) National Profile List - This page is provided by PSU with links to profiles all over the USA.
4) ISU Data Archive - The only online archive I know about. Files supplied by the Des Moines NWS are available beginning 25 January 2006, located in a sub-directory called 'Bufkit'. Thank Daryl the next time you see him.
5) Choose your NWS Bufkit Data source of interest!
When you arrive at one of the sites above, you need to download the .buf files for the cites, models, and run time of your choice to the correct location. To do so, you have one of two options. You can either:
(a) Right-click each city and select "save link as" to save the .buf file in "boot drive:\path\bufkit\data".(b) Right-click each city and copy the link address. Then paste the address to one of the lists in BufGet. Make sure to save the list if you want to keep the city/model/time for easy retreival the next time you want to download profiles.
Option (b) is by far and away the best choice. NOTE: If you are intersted in downloading profiles for Iowa, I have compiled a list of Iowa profiles available here.
Now that you have retreived some data, it's time to open the data in Bufkit for analysis. To do so, find the Bufkit shortcut of your choice and open the program. Let the fun begin.