About Mark Sudduth

Greetings! I am Mark Sudduth, the founder and editor of HurricaneTrack.com. The site began in 1999 as a way to post info concerning tropical storms and hurricanes for any interested visitors. Little did I know how big it would become in the years since. Now, we have millions of visitors from all over the world who have come to rely on the site as a no non-sense, tell it like it is resource for all things hurricane related. We are supported by a combination of corporate sponsors and our loyal Client Services members who subscribe to premium content on our sister site, premium.hurricanetrack.com. I am married with six energetic and intelligent children and live in southeast North Carolina. I graduated UNC-Wilmington in 1995 with a BA in Geography and have studied the effects of hurricanes on our society ever since.

Hurricanes Daniel and Emilia moving westward under strong high pressure

The east Pacific hurricane season continues to churn out the hurricanes. We now have Daniel and rapidly intensifying Emilia to track. Both systems are moving away from Mexico and out farther in to the Pacific. The reason is fairly simple: strong high pressure to the north, driving each hurricane westward due to the clock-wise flow. This is very similar to Ike in 2008 which moved generally westward from Africa all the way to Texas. It did so because strong high pressure, deeply entrenched in the atmosphere, pushed it along with no chance to turn north before landfall. Sometimes the pattern is just right and a tropical cyclone will move west for many days until it encounters land, cooler water or strong winds aloft to tear it apart.

In the case of Daniel, it will eventually feel the effects of much cooler Pacific water temps and gradually lose its punch. Folks in Hawaii should fare just fine as the remnants of Daniel track well to the south of the island chain.

Emilia will track a bit more WNW than west for a few days until it begins to weaken and be steered more by the low level easterly winds. Emilia poses no threat to land and likely never will.

In the Atlantic, all is quiet. This very typical for the first half of July when dry, stable air blasts off of Africa and in to the tropical Atlantic. I see nothing in the global computer models to suggest any development over the next week at least. So enjoy the hot weather as best you can- the hurricanes are nowhere to be found.

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HurricaneTrack for iPhone and Android: An Overview

HurricaneTrack.com has been up and running since 1999. During that time frame, we have seen technology advance at an incredible pace. Now, the mobile app market is enormous and growing faster than ever. It is time for us to jump in and offer a mobile app for our audience.

HurricaneTrack Splash Screen

HurricaneTrack Splash Screen

During hurricane season, information is a valuable asset. Knowing what to expect is critical to planning and your general understanding of the impacts that a potential hurricane landfall will have on your life. You don’t have time to sift through site after site, searching for a simple, easy to understand explanation of where the hurricane is, where it is forecast to go and what conditions are expected when it gets there.

When a hurricane is forecast to make landfall along the U.S. coast, you want to know what is going on in the landfall region. You want to be kept up to date on the latest conditions with video reports and live weather data. This is the most important part of hurricane tracking: the landfall. This is when it matters the most to have reliable, accurate and up to date information. Who can you turn to? HurricaneTrack for iOS and Android (iPhone,iPod Touch, iPad and most Android phones and tablets) is your answer.

There are plenty of apps available that track hurricanes using maps, model plots, satellite photos, radar and more. We recommend Hurricane and Hurricane HD by KittyCode, LLC (disclaimer: we provide video content to KittyCode for use in their apps). The tools available in their app are remarkable and easy to use. There is a historic track database and a news feature that allows users to get the very latest tracking info on any tropical cyclone activity world-wide.

HurricaneTrack Homepage

HurricaneTrack Homepage

Now enter HurricaneTrack. What will make it stand out? While the app will feature our blog, a daily video blog, Twitter and Facebook feeds, it will become extremely useful when there is a hurricane or tropical storm threatening to make landfall along the U.S. coastline (and perhaps some international locations as well). The app will be the focal point for our field missions and deliver exclusive content that will help you to answer one very important question: what is going on where the hurricane is hitting?

From the moment we leave the drive way until the day we return, we’ll post video blogs to the app. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we can post a video blog within minutes, keeping our audience up to date every step of the way. If we get new recon data while heading down the Interstate, we can post that. If we run to evacuation traffic or get word of important, breaking news, we can post that and you will have immediate access, right in the app. We’re talking dozens and dozens of video posts. More importantly, we’re talking BEFORE, DURING and AFTER. You feel like you’re part of the field mission as post video blogs detailing what we are doing, what the conditions are, interviews with local officials and much more. The video blogs during our field missions will be an incredible way to keep up with not only our work but also the conditions where the hurricane is expected to make landfall. If it’s important to us, we’ll shoot it and post it to the app!

HurricaneTrack Live Weather Data

HurricaneTrack Live Weather Data

Next up is the field data. Only HurricaneTrack will offer LIVE weather data originating from our specially designed 5-meter wind towers. Users will have access to as many as three complete sets of live weather data PLUS a live web cam image from each tower. What’s more, and this is where the video blogs come in handy, we’ll post video showing where we set up each tower and why those locations are important to monitor.

The weather data is made up of wind speed and gust along with pressure. All of the instrumentation is from RM Young who produce some of the finest meteorological equipment in the world. We’re talking top-notch data here that will update every 60 seconds! Compare this to other weather data apps that may only update once per hour or maybe every 10 minutes. Only HurricaneTrack has wind towers specifically designed and set up to measure the hurricane that you are tracking. We choose where to place the towers to provide the best data possible and it will feed in to the app LIVE!

Last, but certainly not least, we’ll provide you with a live in-vehicle web cam image direct from the HurricaneTrack.com Chevy Tahoe. It will update at least once per minute with a shot right from the top of the Tahoe. You’ll see what we see. Add to that our live GPS tracking right in the app and you’ll know right where we are every moment of our field missions. This is important to know because we might be near your neighborhood or some other location that is important to you. So when we upload a video, you’ll know right where it came from. Also, knowing our location, you may wish to interact with us via Twitter or Facebook. Feel free to do so! We may not be able to respond to every interaction, but if you know where we are and want us to check out a certain area or provide info on something specific that might help you, just ask. If we have time and can do it safely, we’ll give it our best effort.

The bottom line is that our app will become an important part of your hurricane news and information tool kit. Whether it be our daily video blogs to keep you posted as to the latest goings on in the tropics or the live weather data and video blogs from the field, no other hurricane tracking app will give you as much useful information as HurricaneTrack. In short, it will be the essence of what we are all about: information.

How much will it cost? The app will be subscription based and available for $1.99 per month or $9.99 per year, unlimited use NO ADS. We have made it very affordable and feel that it will serve the needs of anyone who lives along the U.S. coast or who has interests in the areas that could be affected by hurricanes.

As for future upgrades and enhancements, we do plan to add our own tracking maps and model plots to future editions. For now, we wanted to roll out something that no one else offered and the live weather data, field mission video blogs and the multiple web cams/GPS tracking of our vehicle will be a great start. Just think, no matter where you are, if your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android powered device can access the Internet, you’ll be connected to the very best of our information and live data. We are very excited about the app and hope you will be too. As soon as we get approval from Apple and Google, we’ll let you know and officially debut HurricaneTrack. It should only be a matter of a few weeks now, hopefully less.

Any questions or comments? Please feel free to post here or email me.

 

 

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Atlantic nice and quiet, east Pacific a little activity to watch

The Atlantic Basin is free and clear of any tropical activity this 4th of July holiday period. There are no areas of concern and none of the global computer models indicate any development over at least the next five days and probably more.

In the east Pacific, there is one area of concentrated convection well off the coast of Mexico. The NHC indicates that some slow development is possible as the system moves generally off to the WNW and farther away from land.

In other news, our iPhone/Android app is getting closer to its release. We are all very excited about it and I’ll be posting a series of blog entries detailing the various features of the app. The first will be posted tomorrow.

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Debby exiting Florida but leaving behind a lot of water

I know that folks in Florida will be glad to see Debby moving on off the coast and out in to the Atlantic. The storm dumped anywhere from 12 to 20+ inches of rain across portions of Florida. Freshwater flooding will be an ongoing concern as rivers fill with the run off and swell to flood stage and beyond. You can check the progress of the flooding situation by utilizing the fantastic resources of the Southeast River Forecast Center. Click here to access their site. It will give you specific river flooding info for your area and provide daily updates to that data.

Debby is certainly a lesson in understanding all of the effects of a tropical cyclone. I hope that people realize that we’re not just worried about the impacts from big, mean hurricanes. Even a moderate tropical storm, even a depression, can dump excessive amounts of rain on an area and cause significant flooding issues.

Once Debby leaves Florida behind, it will move out in to the Atlantic and likely regain some of its strength over the warm waters. However, it will move away from the Southeast and not be a problem any longer.

The remainder of the tropics are mostly quiet although there is a well developed tropical wave moving westward across the open tropical Atlantic. The NHC tagged it last night as “low probability for development”. This area is not usually favorable for development in June so the fact that we are seeing some potential is interesting. I’ll keep an eye on the system as it moves westward. It is likely going to bring some rain and squally weather to portions of the Lesser Antilles in a few days but should remain only a tropical wave and not develop much.

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Debby another lesson in understanding tropical cyclone hazards

Even as Debby continues to dump rain across portions of northern Florida today, there is a lesson to be learned from the event. That lesson is to understand that tropical storms and hurricanes have multiple weapons that can cause problems. It’s not just the big headline making wind and surge machines such as Katrina, Ike or Camille. Even a weak tropical storm, like Debby is now, can create huge disruptions in the lives of those who are in the path.

Let’s take a look back at TS Allison in 2001. It formed in June and moved up out of the western Gulf of Mexico and settled in over Houston, Texas. The result was around $5 billion in damage due to the 40+ inches of rain that fell across the region. Allison is the only tropical storm to have its name retired from the 6 year list of names. Yet, for Allison, there was no mass evacuation like we saw ahead of category 5 Rita in 2005 or category 2 Ike in 2008. People usually do not flee a 60 mph tropical storm. Instead, the millions of people who live in and around Houston were treated to days of torturous rain and flooding. It was an epic nightmare and one that will never be forgotten.

Tropical cyclones produce heavy rain as a means to disperse the heat that builds up in the tropics. It’s that simple. As I mentioned in a previous post, that rain is a function of the storm’s heat engine doing its thing. It’s just unfortunate that us humans happen to live where these rains can pose serious issues for us.

Debby has dumped in excess of 20 inches of rain over parts of the Florida Panhandle. Sink holes are opening up, parts of I-10 are closed due to flooding and life for many people is simply miserable today. Yet, this was no hurricane. It did not have the “scary” 130 mph winds that would get a lot of attention. It did not push a 20 foot storm surge towards the coast. Yet what Debby has done still managed to cause a lot of grief for a lot of people. There’s no avoiding it, you can’t move your house out of the way of the relentless rain. Evacuating is only necessary if flood waters get too high. So what can be done?

My point is that people all along the coast and then a couple of hundred miles inland need to realize that tropical cyclones are more than just wind and surge producers. First and foremost they are rain makers. Too much water in too little time always equals problems. And, as we have seen time and again, too much rain over a long period of time is just as bad. So as we progress through the hurricane season, remember that all tropical cyclones are capable of inflicting damage and causing loss of life. The degree to which the various effects manifest themselves depends on many variables. This is why it is important to not focus on the hype of “a hurricane might be coming” but rather think of it as “there is a dangerous weather event that could possibly¬† change my life forever”. Then, prepare accordingly.

As for the future of Debby? It should cross Florida in the coming days and finally move faster out in to the open waters of the Atlantic. Let’s hope it does as Debby has more than left its mark on Florida.

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