I am very excited to announce that our app, HurricaneTrack, will be available for purchase in the App Store beginning August 1. It will be released for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad first followed by an Android version just as soon as possible.
With a wide variety of hurricane and weather related apps already available, what makes HurricaneTrack different? It’s simple. We take you there. HurricaneTrack was designed to keep its users informed before, during and after a hurricane. Here’s how…
Each day, a detailed but concise video blog, the Hurricane Outlook and Discussion, will be posted to the app. It will cover any potential development areas in the Atlantic and east Pacific through the use of satellite pictures, maps and other graphics. Think of it as your daily hurricane video briefing and therefore as a tool to keep you informed. When there is the threat of landfall, the video blog will highlight the potential impacts, what to expect and what our plans are for field coverage. The daily video blog is sure to be a very popular feature. Keep in mind that during the off-season, the video blog will address other severe weather threats such as winter storms and tornado outbreaks. This makes the app useful even when we’re not in hurricane season.
Of course, the app will also have our social media feeds dynamically updating as we post info to Twitter or Facebook. This blog will also update anytime we post new blogs to the site.
When a hurricane is threatening to make landfall along the U.S. coastline, the app will become your portal for a vast amount of information and live data. This is the true heart of what HurricaneTrack is all about. From the moment we leave the driveway to head to the landfall zone, HurricaneTrack will keep you up to date. You can track our progress via GPS position right in the app. We have a live web cam that will update the image directly from our specially equipped hurricane tracking Chevy Tahoe 24 hours a day during the entire field mission.
You want video updates? We will deliver. The field mission video blogs will be a fantastic way for you to stay up to date on not only our mission to cover the hurricane, but also what is going on with the hurricane and the region it is forecast to impact. I am not talking about a few video posts each day. This is the next level. I am talking about several video posts each hour, each day, of the entire field mission! Each video will give you a chronological storyline of what is happening on the ground. As the hurricane draws closer, the video blogs will become increasingly important as we will be able to provide you with real information on actual conditions where the hurricane is coming ashore. You will feel like you are right there with us, experiencing the effects right along with us.
Live Weather Data and Web Cam
No other hurricane tracking app provides its own live weather data from instruments set up specifically for that hurricane landfall. HurricaneTrack will feature data from three 5-meter wind towers equipped with high-end RM Young wind and pressure sensors. We are not talking home weather stations here. This is the same equipment that NOAA uses on their Hurricane Buoys and Sentinels to gather live data during the most intense hurricanes. Our wind towers will be deployed to capture the best possible data. Each site will be labeled and ID’d in the app so you will know right where it is. The data will upload to the app dynamically every 60 seconds! You can literally watch the data change – no need to refresh, the app does it for you. In addition to the live weather data, each tower will also have a live web cam running, also posting an image every 60 seconds. There is simply no better way to monitor real time conditions during a hurricane than with HurricaneTrack.
When the hurricane has made landfall and the focus turns to the aftermath, we’ll be there. I have learned more and more that the demand for information in the post-hurricane period is almost as high, if not higher, than during the landfall itself. People want to know “what happened?” We will help to answer that question by use of post-hurricane video blogs, photos and reports. Depending upon the severity of the hurricane, we plan to remain in the region affected for several days after landfall. We can then utilize the reach of the app to provide detailed information through our video posts about the aftermath and what areas appear to need the most help. When the wind dies down, we won’t take off and leave the aftermath in our rear view mirror. Our work continues and we will do our best to continue to post info from the affected region. This is what will make HurricaneTrack the complete package.
On August 1 the app will be available for purchase for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (keep in mind we do not have an iPad specific version though HurricaneTrack will work on an iPad). We will have a special introductory price for a limited time only. This is the first version of the app. It is up to you, our audience, to support it and help to make future updates possible. Show us how important it is to you. Post feedback, let us know what we can do to improve and what features would really be helpful in future updates.
Version 1.0 is information driven. There are no tracking maps, model plots or satellite pictures. That will come. I do not want to re-produce what so many other apps already have. Instead, I focused on creating an information based product that will serve as an excellent foundation on which to grow. The maps, model plots, sat pics, etc will come. When they do, they will exceed your expectations. If you want to stay up to date with our brand of hurricane news and information, plus the exclusive field mission features, then HurricaneTrack is a must-have app. Next Wednesday, you can be among the first to get it!
I am pleased to announce that we are close to completing a new version of our popular Java-based hurricane tracking maps.
We first introduced the JavaTrack maps in 2001 and have had a good run with the first edition. It is now time for an upgrade.
The new version will be more visually appealing, showing contour lines in the oceans and land areas to indicate elevation change to some extent. They will also feature the “cone of uncertainty” by virtue of displaying the average track error for each forecast position. What is nice is that you will be able to toggle the cone on and off as needed.
The maps will be fully interactive as well, just like the original version. Any place name that you see on the map will be “mouse-over-able” and will reveal more information such as links to additional info, etc. This was a hugely popular feature of our original edition and I am glad to continue that tradition.
We’ll also bring back the historical tracking data which will contain past tracking info to 1851. This too was a very popular product of HurricaneTrack.com and it will be back soon.
The new JavaTrack maps will be made available within the next couple of weeks and in plenty of time for the start of the peak of the hurricane season.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The latest computer model guidance regarding tropical storm Debby has not helped to paint a clearer picture of where the storm, forecast to be a hurricane, will eventually make landfall. In fact, this could be one of the more complicated storms to deal with in quite some time.
Currently, Debby is experiencing some shear which means the upper level winds are blowing across the top of the storm from a certain direction rather than fanning out in all directions. The shear is keeping the storm from being able to align itself vertically and the deepest convection is displaced well away from the center of circulation. This shear is forecast to relax but as mentioned in the latest NHC discussion, it is not a guarantee, so Debby may have some intensity issues over the next few days. It is important to note that intensity forecasting is where the least amount of skill lies and significant changes up or down are possible. The latest forecast maintains the notion that Debby will become a hurricane as it turns west across the warm Gulf of Mexico.
The track forecast is turning out to be quite difficult. What was once a fairly straight forward forecast that Debby would turn west under a developing ridge of high pressure has turned in to a potential huge change coming up. The NHC mentions the ECMWF model which has shown Debby moving west and even south of west towards Texas for the last several days now has the storm making landfall in Louisiana in about three days. As I mentioned, this is a big change from previous runs and we’ll have to see what happens with each subsequent run. In other words, is this the beginning of a trend of just a temporary “goof” by the model and it will get back on its “west” idea soon. We’ll have to wait and see. Track forecasting is sometimes quite easy, this time, it looks to be just opposite.
Let’s talk about rain fall. Taking a look at the HPC’s precip forecast for the next three days, we can plainly see that Debby has a tremendous amount of moisture to dump along its path. The Florida peninsula through the central Gulf Coast could receive several inches of rain as Debby moves quite slowly, allowing the rain fall totals to pile up. This is not to be taken lightly. Fresh water flooding from excessive rains generated by tropical cyclones is a leading killer. Often times flooded roads are accessed by people who think that they can navigate the waters. This is a dangerous idea and I urge people to be mindful of the potential flooding impact from the rain. I would like to point out that you can use weather.gov for a wealth of information regarding your local conditions. Just type in your ZIP Code and the landing page will likely contain all sorts of locally based watch/warning info, hurricane local statements and more. This info is for your area, not a national broad brush forecast. Remember: weather.gov
I am currently in Georgia after wrapping up a project I had with CNN to launch a weather balloon and its payload to high altitude yesterday morning. The prep and launch were spectacular, I cannot wait to show you the video of that. The ascent went very well and we were able to track the payload using APRS. I will post a separate blog about this project later tomorrow, complete with some video of the launch. I’ll also talk about what went wrong and why we were not able to recover a majority of the payload after the balloon burst.
Once I return home from GA later today, I’ll begin preparing equipment for a trip to the Gulf Coast to provide on-scene coverage and info as Debby passes by or perhaps makes a direct impact on the region. I’ll lay out my plans tomorrow as a lot will hinge on what the forecast track is and how strong Debby gets. Meanwhile, everyone along the Gulf Coast should keep close tabs on the latest forecast info from the NHC and your local NWS. I’ll have another post here tonight with frequent updates on Twitter.