Real-time Hurricane Path Tracking Resources

Hurricanes are a big deal down here in the South where our coastline is subject to abuse on an annual basis during the second half of summer. I grew up near the Gulf of Mexico, and can remember several storms hitting my area during my lifetime, the most recent of which resulted in a week without electricity or public works.

My parents invested in a generator, which kept our food cold and some fans on through the day. It provided just enough power to keep their neighbor’s refrigerator going as well. It was a small thank you for allowing us to run the noisy generator through the night.

When disaster strikes, you may not always be able to rely on power or an active Internet connection to keep you informed. Local radio can convey information in words, but how do you get access to radar and other visual information about the storm?

In 2004, the state of Florida was hit with four hurricanes in about a month’s time. That’s pretty severe, and people on the ground there (as used to these types of storms as they may be) needed to know that more was to come.

Hurricane Katrina separated the city of New Orleans from the rest of the world. Information (and electricity) was unavailable for many of its residents. Only a few mobile towers remained operational, and any additional storm activity would have come as a surprise to many of its residents.

So how do you keep updated with real-time hurricane tracking? In the event that all power is lost, what are the available alternative resources of information?

Useful Websites

In the event that you’re either preparing for the storm’s arrival or you happen to have access to electricity and Internet connectivity, there are several great sites out there to help keep you informed in real-time.

Weather.com has a hurricane tracker that gives you extremely detailed information and updated radar to keep you informed as things progress.

The National Weather Service also has a site featuring less aesthetically pleasing and yet equally informative real-time maps and radar. This is a useful resource if you’re dealing with Edge or 2G connections from a mobile device.

Mobile Apps

As long as the cell towers remain operational, you should have access to all the information you need in the palm of your hand. There are hundreds of great apps out there for storm tracking and general weather information, but a few of them stand out above the rest. Below are my recommended apps, but remember that you can always access the above websites through a mobile browser in a pinch.

  • LEX 18 StormTracker (Android) (iOS) *FREE*
  • Hurricane and Hurricane HD by Kitty Code (iPhone) (iPad) *$2.99/3.99*
  • Hurricane Software (Android) *Free*
  • The Weather Channel (Android) (iOS) *FREE*

Battery Powered Weather and Shortwave Radio

Real-Time Hurricane Path Tracking ResourcesAM/FM stations may go off the air in the event of an emergency. A flood came through my home town while I was working at 92.3 KVLT and we did our best to stay on the air to keep the public informed about what was going on throughout the emergency. Unfortunately, our tower eventually fell victim to rising waters and we were forced off the air. This happens, so relying strictly on AM/FM radio stations to keep you informed can cause problems down the line.

Shortwave radio, however, can receive broadcasts from virtually anywhere in the world. A battery-powered shortwave radio may cost quite a bit more than an AM/FM alternative, but that investment can be well worth it if you find yourself without power and disconnected from the outside world. Hurricane Watch Net, one of the longest-running storm tracking resources can be heard on 14.325Mhz.

You can also buy an NOAA Weather Radio to access the public service band provided by NOAA. This service is provided in the U.S. only, so if you live outside of the U.S., you may want to check your local weather radio listings for information. NOAA broadcasts from over 1,000 transmitters scattered throughout the U.S. While not all of them will be up and working in the event of a severe storm, there is a good chance that one of them will reach you wherever you may be. These radios can be battery powered and can be purchased from local stores or even Amazon.

Image: Amazon

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tjwhitt80 Tj Whitt

    Some good sites, app, and radios. Good information all around. Here are some more excellent sites : Storm Pulse – subscription based. Very good tools and radars. https://secure.www.stormpulse.com/products/ . Wunderground’s Tropical Storm page http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/

  • Guest

    That Is good info to know
    Thanks hopefully the people who will get hit will be ok

    We pray for all of you

  • Anakin Mignone

    Good to know you can track storms

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000919793012 Charlie Parker

    It’s good you can see when theres a storm heading towards you!

  • Weion

    Technology can be amazing at times, but our obsession with it can be our downfall at times, we crave simplicity and technology gives us that, but when that is taken away from us we struggle because we don’t expect that at any moment your technology may cease to function.

    This was a good article and hopefully technology will advance even more in the future for our survival; we just need to stop being so dependent on it.

  • http://twitter.com/owencallum96 Callum Owen

    Some good applications and sites here. Hopefully they will be reliable in helping people who are in regular hurricane paths. These weather systems, is there one for the UK where it just shows constant rain?

  • Joshua Weatherill

    I live in the UK so there’s really no need for anything like this for me. On the other hand we had a small earthquake a few years ago (the first iv’e ever experienced) so this may be something to consider.

  • Ozzzzysh

    Things like this really make me happy that Google Now exists. Google Now is evolving to include emergency alerts. I remember being in a tornado warning with the power out when I was young and that sense of obliviousness is terrifying in that sort of situation. If I would’ve had something to keep up to date with what was going on I would far more peace of mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielmulkey7 Daniel Mulkey

    THANK GOD for technology like this!

  • http://www.cyberfanatic.com/ CyberFanatic

    Some day I truly believe that the government will come up with a way to stop hurricanes. They cause to much trouble for us people. Personally I have never experienced a hurricane or anything of that nature because I live in New York and haven’t seen anything like that yet. Glad to know that there is technology that can help with this though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjwhitt80 Tj Whitt

      CyberFanatic, there is no humanly way possible to stop nature. The power needed to create, sustain, and dissipate any hurricane is way beyond what humans can achieve.

  • Jesse Aranda

    Shortwave radio, very interesting in how in times of natural disasters the high tech stuff doesn’t always work, but the old fashion stuff is very reliable. I myself have a radio for Tornadoes. As a fellow Texan I’m sure you know about that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjwhitt80 Tj Whitt

      “When all else fails…ham radio” Like you stated, it is interesting how sometimes we turn to older technology to help save lives and help communicate during disasters. As another fellow Texan, I too know that knowing and being prepared for any natural disaster is high priority.

  • steve362

    Its about time someone made that possible. After what happened in Japan. In the case of an emergency, people really need to get there important information to see what’s happening.

  • HerezMikey

    When I get an iPhone, I will get an app to tell me about snow falling in the winter. I live up near Buffalo and sometimes we get hit hard in the winter and it will be nice to know when we are going to get hit. Fortunately (and I seem to like to use this word today), up here in New York we don’t really have to worry about hurricanes and earthquakes. I feel bad for those who do.

  • http://twitter.com/ferilers Fereli

    These can really save lives. I live in Las Vegas and earthquakes are the most threatening natural disasters here so I’m definitely getting an app that can warn me about them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003595445085 Bram Derksen

    This could be very handy, but I don’t need it because I live in the Netherlands and we don’t have natural disasters there :)

  • thomas houps

    TBH this app is a little useless for me as i live in the uk so the chances of me having a hurricane is very slim. but you never know if one will strike

  • http://bkgcom.blogspot.in/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    well this is seriously cool, once again i didn’t knew such applications or devices existed, we dont face a lot of natural calamity but certain parts of the country do face natural disaster and the steps listed here might actually help people save their lives. Great share once again

  • http://www.facebook.com/beshoy.lovesjesus Beshoy Shafek Malk

    I remember hurrican irene, my family and friend stayed in a brick house incase, but it wasnt that bad where i lived, this real time thing could have been useful….iam sure it was bad in places but i felt it as it was just a little harsh thunderstorm โ˜”โšกโ˜

  • http://mumbleandtumble.tumblr.com/ klandwehr

    I live in an area, where Tornados, winter storms and flooding are the disasters that we have to watch out for. This pass spring our area was hit by a wave of tornados and I found the best way to follow the path of the tornados was actually local news, they actually did an excellent job of reporting the path in almost real time. I would also recommend the Google Crisis Map http://www.lockergnome.com/news/2012/08/31/real-time-hurricane-path-tracking-resources/. to follow an on going situation

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucas.follbring Lucas Follbring

    It’s strange how addictive a weather app can be. I follow the rain on a local rain radar app, and it is weird how I look that up sooner than looking out the window.

  • anthonym

    hmmmmm