Hurricane Christina track map from the NHC
The east Pacific is off to quite a busy season with the second hurricane forming overnight. Fortunately, Christina will remain well off the Mexican coastline and will have very little impact on the region’s weather.
Top winds are 75 mph with more intensification forecast by the NHC. Water temps in the area are running a little bit above the long term average but will eventually cool along Christina’s path, causing it to weaken in a couple of days.
There are no other areas of concern in the east Pacific or in the Atlantic.
New Feature Coming to Hurricane Impact
Today I am introducing a new feature for our iOS and Android app, Hurricane Impact. It came about as a result of my work during winter storms this past season – we kind of stumbled on to it by accident and I believe it will add a valuable layer to our unique app.
I call it “Share Your Impact”. Quite simply, it is a way for users of the app, or anyone else really, to share video with us that we, in turn, post to the app and share with its users. This makes the app more interactive between us and you and allows our users to become contributors to the content of the app.
It was during a powerful winter storm in late January that I was covering in the northeast part of North Carolina – near Elizabeth City. The snow was coming down big time and I posted several video blogs to the app, keeping a chronological log of the winter storm. I was in touch with my colleague in southeast Virginia, Jesse Bass, about conditions there. He told me the snow was beginning to increase in Portsmouth too. I asked him to shoot some video with his iPhone and send it to me via text message. He did just that and within a few minutes, I was able to watch what he was experiencing nearly 50 miles away. Anyone with an iPhone or other Smartphone can do this, it was nothing new. But then it dawned on me, why not save the video to my camera roll and then post it to our app just like it was video I shot myself? This would allow anyone who has our app to see Jesse’s video. I did just that and it worked perfectly.
I was so excited about the prospects that I jumped on my laptop and began interacting with several subscribers to our Client Services site. We have a live chat that our members use to post back and forth between each other and us in real time. I told them about the discovery and asked anyone who had the app to check. Low and behold, they were watching Jesse’s video from Portsmouth – only minutes after I had initially received it myself. We were on to something.
I asked one of our members, who also lives in southeast Virginia, if he wouldn’t mind sending me a video clip of his own to add to the app. Again, within a matter of minutes, I had another 45 second clip, shot by a user this time, added to the app. I put the word out to other subscribers and asked them to do the same – text me a short video clip of their conditions and I would add them to the app’s video section. Within an hour, I had several user generated video clips from over four locations around North Carolina and Virginia. This meant that the app was no longer one way. Now our user base could contribute their experience, their impact. It was obvious, we had to take this mainstream and open it to anyone, anywhere.
Fast forward to the Nor’easter that blasted Cape Cod and Nova Scotia in late March. I was in Chatham working the storm, posting my own video clips to the tune of 3 or 4 per hour. I got in touch with another one of our subscribers who lives in Nova Scotia. I knew he had an iPad and asked him to take a longer video clip, about 90 seconds, and email it to me as an attachment. The storm was pounding Nova Scotia with hurricane-force winds and blinding snow. In less than a half an hour, I had exclusive video, shot by someone who was being affected by the storm, posted to the app. I knew we had something special in the making and what it could mean for hurricane season.
Hurricane Impact Video Page
The idea is to share your impact with us and we will share it with users of our app. You don’t even have to own Hurricane Impact yourself, though it would probably be more fun if you did. The plan is simple enough. Starting June 15, we will have a special Gmail account set up for anyone to send a short video clip to that gives us a look at how a hurricane or tropical storm is impacting them. Now I realize that user-generated content is nothing new. However, we’re not talking about the Web, we’re talking about exclusive content for our mobile application and it’s all hurricane related. I think it will be a big hit with our user base – especially as it continues to grow.
Here’s how it will work:
Anyone with the ability to record a short video clip, using pretty much any device, can record about a minute of video and send it to us. Tell us what you’re doing to prepare for a hurricane that is coming your way. Ask questions that we can answer in a video post of our own. Show us how your are getting ready for the storm. Keep it short and to the point, and no funny business. No video will be posted without it being vetted by one of our staff. So forget about sending something that you wouldn’t show your mother or grade school teacher – it won’t make it to the app. Tell us where you are, what is going on and how you feel about the situation. And always, always, always shoot in 16:9 landscape mode, do not hold your iPhone or other device vertical – hold it horizontal so it looks like a Hollywood movie or TV show playing on your computer. Once you have shot the clip, email it to us, give a brief description of what we’re looking at and where you are located and we’ll add it to the app for anyone else who has our app to view.
Think about this for a moment. Hurricane Impact now becomes a portal for sharing your experience. It is a window in to your world and how the hurricane or storm is impacting you. That’s the bottom line, right? How is the situation impacting you? This takes it right down to your location, your home, business or where ever you may be. Having a hard time evacuating due to traffic? Send us a video clip showing that. Hunkered down with the family all set and ready to safely ride out the storm? Share that! Once it’s all over, take us outside and show the aftermath when safe to do so. Yes, cell service may be spotty afterwards but we will take what ever we can get and share it with our user base. It is a great way to add utility to Hurricane Impact that brings the experience full circle. You’ve tracked the hurricane all the way to your doorstep – now share the impact with the rest of us. I believe this will catch on and be a big hit.
So, if you don’t already have our app, get it. You won’t be disappointed. The app is focused on the impact and has features that no other weather or hurricane app does. We have a daily video blog called the Hurricane Outlook and Discussion, live weather data coming from our own meteorological equipment set up just for the storm or hurricane, live web cam images coming from our own cameras, video posts from the field, tracking maps and links to live video during our field missions. And now, the ability for you to share your experiences with us and other app users.
It is available for iOS devices as well as Android. Your support of the app helps to make it better. If you own it now and have enjoyed the content it provides, leave a review so others can have a guidepost of what to expect. It is easy to remember the name too: Hurricane Impact. Search in the App Store or Google Play and then share your impact, questions, etc. with us starting June 15!
I will have a special blog post on June 15 with the Gmail address that we will use. I want to test the feature at that point too by inviting users, or anyone who can record video, to send us a quick clip with a question about hurricane season or anything you ever wanted to ask us. I’ll post them to the app along with a video response to follow. You’ll see quickly how this will be a very unique feature and one that will add value to what is already an innovative hurricane app.
M. Sudduth 8:52 AM ET June 11