Atlantic Basin looking quiet as new storm brews in east Pacific

All is quiet across the Atlantic Basin as we start the week. The tropical wave that flared up yesterday near Florida has all but vanished – at least in terms of deep convection. Conditions just do not favor development here or anywhere else across the Atlantic right now. As I posted last week, the Saharan Air Layer has been quite dominant in recent weeks, providing plenty of dry, dusty air and some incredible sunsets for south Florida. I do see signs of the SAL beginning to lose its grip and it won’t be too many more days until we have to begin watching the coast of Africa for signs of development from the westward moving tropical waves.

In the east Pacific, invest area 90-E is likely to become a tropical depression before too long but it will move generally westward and not pose any problems for land areas.

Saharan influence to keep tropical Atlantic quiet

Saharan Air Layer

Saharan Air Layer

This part of the hurricane season is typically very quiet and for good reason. It is during this portion of the year that we see the strongest of what are called “SAL” outbreaks. SAL stands for Saharan Air Layer and it is a the equivalent to spraying Raid on insects: it kills hurricanes.

The reason is simple. The low to mid level dry air originates from the Sahara and North Africa. Often times the SAL is populated with fine dust and other suspended particles such as sand. This acts to squash any chances of tropical convection and moves generally westward, eventually reaching the Caribbean and even the United States.

During especially strong SAL outbreaks that end up moving in to the Southeast, the result is often an incredible sunset for a few days as the dust filters out just enough sunlight to create a brilliant deep orange to red glow. It is also not uncommon for dust to collect on car windshields.

The good thing about SAL is that it means no hurricanes. With a strong layer of dry, stable air, there is absolutely no chance of development in the tropical Atlantic; not until the environment moistens up. This usually begins to happen around the second week of August. If the SAL outbreaks continue past that time period, then we may start to wonder about whether or not there will be much of a hurricane season left. However, I would bet that this is yet another typical July SAL event and a month from now, we’ll be talking about the potential for development across the same region that is so hostile right now.

Until then, enjoy the quiet, and perhaps the brilliant sunsets, courtesy of SAL.

New tracking maps coming soon

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 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.

JavaTrack 2.0

JavaTrack 2.0


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.

HurricaneTrack for iPhone and Android: An Overview 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 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.