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Before the hurricane: Storm trackers and other survival tools for mobile and desktop users

Video: Apps to assist with catastrophe preparation

Note: This was originally published in September 2010. As Hurricane Florence strengthened into a life-threatening storm, we updated the article to reflect current content.


I live in South Florida. And while I have no desire to live anywhere else, tropical storms, hurricanes and otherwise lousy weather are a seasonal fact of life here.

Not even 20 years ago, most people would not have been able to make informed decisions about preparing for tropical storms. But today we have portable GPS, our laptops, our smartphones, and my favorite tool as part of our storm-chaser arsenal — iPad.

While many of the same types of tools can still be used on a PC or Mac desktop or laptop, I discovered a newfound and real appreciation for iPad and the iOS for this type of application.

The iPad is a particularly good visualization tool for analyzing hurricane tracks because of the device’s multi-touch and human-oriented interface and how quickly you can get updated reports on the storm’s progress with the different apps out there.

Here’s my list of essential apps and websites that I recommend the next time a big storm starts heading your way, so you too can make more informed decisions about whether you stay in place or evacuate.

With hurricanes bearing down, you’ll want to be prepared.

NOAA National Hurricane Center (Web Site)



If you’re going to have ONE application or website that you use for relying on projected storm tracks, then the NOAA National Hurricane Center Website is the one you need to have bookmarked in your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or different smartphone gadgets. It prices you completely nothing and in the event you actually need to be taught about hurricanes, that is undoubtedly the place to go.

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart is the central supply of data that almost each different utility listed on this article makes use of as an information supply.

The NHC web site comprises a large wealth of up-to-date data. You’ll be able to observe and monitor the progress of each single storm within the Japanese Pacific and the Atlantic, learn numerous varieties of graphical pc fashions, and watch animated satellite tv for pc and radar maps.

Sadly, the NHC website appears to be like prefer it was designed within the early 1990s — there isn’t any cool Net 2.zero point-and-click GUI, however all the info is there if you would like it. They have a PDA rendered version of the location which you could possibly use on an iPhone or an Android system, however until you are the kind that likes to web page via uncooked knowledge, it most likely will not be of a lot use to you.

Nonetheless, the essential charts and storm projections must be sufficient to offer you an excellent concept of the place the hurricane is heading and to offer you recent and dependable data on how its habits would possibly change.

Whereas NOAA has an enormous wealth of data you need to be certain your browser has pop-up blocking disabled, in any other case you won’t be able to click on on any of the hyperlinks which spawn new tabs or new browser home windows.

College of Wisconsin House Science and Engineering Heart (Net Websites)

I used to be not too long ago turned on to the College of Wisconsin’s SSEC by Tech Broiler reader and skilled storm chaser/photographer Jim Edds.

Jim makes use of a lot of instruments to do his job, however when he needs real-time hurricane knowledge, he heads to the SSEC.


The info above comes from the SSEC’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite tv for pc Research (CIMSS) TROPIC website, which you’ll be able to entry on any PC or pill. Jim likes this website as a result of often he’s utilizing solely 3G service and he is ready to entry a considerable amount of knowledge rapidly with out a big obtain payload.

Like NOAA, TROPIC has an enormous wealth of data and also you need to be certain your browser has pop-up blocking disabled, in any other case, you won’t be able to click on on any of the hyperlinks which spawn new tabs or new browser home windows.


Jim can also be very impressed with the SSEC’s Geostationary Satellite Images website, which reveals high-resolution animated satellite tv for pc pictures from a number of totally different climate satellites in Flash or Javascript, relying on what kind of system you might be utilizing.

Radarscope (iOS, Android $9.99)



Described by Jim as “The last word radar utility for the iPad” Radarscope is a particularly subtle, real-time Doppler radar app for iOS that fully exploits the capabilities of Retina shows on current-generation iPads and iPhones.

It options the flexibility to pick out from dozens of long-range doppler radar stations and get knowledge in real-time and in addition offers you extreme climate alerts which you’ll be able to click on on and give attention to a very harmful climate space.

Radarscope would not do hurricane monitoring however what it does do, it does extraordinarily nicely. If you happen to stay in an space the place storms are frequent, there actually is not one other app on the market that gives as subtle Doppler knowledge that this program has.

MyRadar NOAA Climate Radar by Aviation Information Programs

Whereas not as a complicated radar product by default as RadarScope, MyRadar is a particularly good all-in-one climate app as a result of it has the flexibility to composite a number of Doppler radars directly, displaying a whole image of climate patterns for a whole area.

The fundamental model of the app is promoting supported, however there are in-app upgrades that permit you to open extra options, equivalent to a hurricane tracker ($2.99), skilled radar ($6.99) and Apple Watch performance ($.99). Adverts might be disabled for a further payment of $1.99.


Picture: ZDNet

NOAA Climate Professional by Apalon Apps

Comparable in perform to MyRadar, NOAA Climate Professional ($four.99) makes use of the product knowledge feeds from NOAA to provide composite climate visualizations you may view in your cellular system.

Whereas not as subtle as MyRadar with the entire add-ons, I occur to essentially prefer it due to the clear and easy consumer interface. Hurricane monitoring is inbuilt, without having so as to add different subscription merchandise, which is a pleasant plus.



Stormpulse/Riskpulse (Basic storm tracking free, real-time subscription web site)



Stormpulse (and Riskpulse) might be essentially the most superior of the entire instruments talked about right here, but it surely’s doubtless overkill for the common end-user.

It is actually extra of a professional-level suite supposed for companies to do danger assessments which have amenities in hurricane-prone areas, or for corporations which are depending on delivery and transportation.

The fundamental tracker is free with LinkedIn login credentials, and the visualizations are very cool.

What different good hurricane monitoring and forecasting apps and web sites do you want to make use of? Speak Again and Let Me Know.

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About Alejandro Bonaparte

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