Hurricane Dorian is rapidly approaching the U.S. and it’s currently rated as a Category 3 storm, with forecasts set to upgrade it soon to a Category 4. It’s approaching Florida and is expected to make landfall on Labor Day.
So what can you do to stay safe if you’re in Dorian’s or any other tropical storm or hurricane’s path? Thankfully, there are plenty of hurricane trackers to help you prepare for these potentially deadly events. Whether it’s the most advanced NOAA predictive models or simply tips for finding emergency shelter, here are the best apps and websites to prepare for the worst.
Hurricane Tracker ($4)
Initially released in 2009, Hurricane Tracker has been one of the most popular hurricane trackers for years. The app uses data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to relay audio briefings and maps. Hurricane Tracker also broadcasts all NHC advisories and maps in real time to keep you up to date on the latest developments. You can customize the app to receive alerts as new storms form and/or as existing systems make landfall.
Similarly, the Model Watch feature uses predictive models to better prepare for any swerve Mother Nature decides to send your way. Unlike the other offerings on this list, this app will cost you a few bucks, but when it comes to tried and true dedicated hurricane apps, Hurricane Tracker is our pick.
The American Red Cross created the Hurricane app and it’s one of the best free hurricane trackers for Android and iOS. Hurricane allows you to monitor conditions in your immediate area as well as locations currently within a storm system. The app, of course, incorporates an interactive storm tracker map and also predictive models to help you plan for the worst ahead of time.
Like other apps, Hurricane will relay real-time alerts and updates, however, one of the standout functions is the in-app communication feature. Anyone in the direct path of the hurricane or storm system can post custom messages or select status updates within the app. This allows you to easily to communicate with loved ones without leaving the app itself.
The Red Cross has compiled a series of step-by-step guides to help individuals prepare for a storm, and advice to heed during and after a hurricane. This includes a tool to lead individuals to their nearest Red Cross shelter, as well as tips for managing drinking water if your area has been flooded our plagued by power outages. It is important to note that the Hurricane app is available in both in English and Spanish.
If you do end up losing power during a storm, it’s best to keep a portable power source on hand just in case. That said, here are some of the choicest portable generators and power stations on the market.
The AccuWeather site isn’t the sexiest page to behold, but all aesthetics and user experience aside the page relays a bevy of useful meteorological information. A series of tabs along the top of the screen divides the globe into five oceanic regions. Once you’ve pinpointed a specific area, data and models are compartmentalized into multiple comprehensible tables. One of these tables clearly breaks down the most critical storm metrics (status, wind speed, gust speeds, location, and directional movement) into a basic two-column grid.
The Forecast Eye Path feature in the center of the page displays landfall estimates and categorical system upgrades/downgrades throughout the predicted storm path. The Interactive Hurricane Tracker seems a little squished in the top right of the screen, but fortunately, this table is clickable. Once the tracker has been opened separately, you can select the system or systems you’d like to monitor from a drop-down menu overhead.
The NOAA National Hurricane Center Tracker certainly looks like a .gov website — but regardless of its old-school layout, the page still displays all of NOAA’s scientific data in a clean, simple format. The basic clickable grid above the interactive meteorological map allows you to activate or deactivate three basic features: forecast length, forecast track line, and initial wind field. Forecast length can be set to either “Full” or “three-day.” However, it is important to note that the “Full” forecast function will also relay the three-day forecast.
The map is also color coordinated to illustrate watches, warning, and current wind extents for the predicted path. Below this full-screen map is a small table containing the latest information on directional wind speeds, maximum sustained wind speeds, movement, and exact latitude and longitude location. A small section of text beneath these tools and legends explains the model NOAA uses to predict tropical storms and hurricane systems based on historical data.
In the event that you need to evacuate due to a hurricane, we’ve also curated a list of items to keep stowed in a car emergency kit just in case.
The entire top of the Stormpulse screen is an interactive map. You can easily zoom in or out with your mouse wheel or by simply using the buttons on the screen. The map displays all hurricanes and systems with a region and you can easily scroll over a storm to look at real time as well as predicted information. A small table in the corner of this interactive map relays the latest updates information on the categorical status of the system itself, location, wind speed, location, and pressure.
The RiskPulse feature expands upon this visual data and paints a clearer image of what this visual data means in layman’s terms. This explainer also includes information of location-specific rainfall totals, landfall estimates, categorical increases/decreases, storm surge, and much more.
While most of our infrastructure currently isn’t capable of withstanding even the most moderate of tropical storms, some of the best minds in engineering are working on a series of flood-proof homes to prepare us for a wetter and warmer world moving forward.
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