As yet another major hurricane, Wilma, bears down on the resort areas of Mexico, and is predicted to careen off and hit southern Florida squarely at category 4 or 5 strength, I suddenly remembered that Rick Crowsey of Crowsey Incorporated / Stennis Space Center sent me some great resources in August for locating hurricane information on the internet.
Rick is a frequent contributor to the ABA LawTech listserv. His company’s expertise is litigation support, specifically in providing spatial information analysis and decision support systems using satellite imagery. Pretty fascinating stuff.
Rick’s #1 recommended site is the Navy’s NRL Monterey Marine Meteorology Tropical Cyclone page. On it you’ll find two graphics: the latest GOES satellite imagery and best track prediction. Rick says, ” My experience is that even though this web site is a bit difficult to find unless you know where to look, and it’s kinda clunky, it has the very best and latest tropical cyclone (hurricane) info for the Atlantic and the Gulf Coast. Usually when you navigate to this page you’ll see the latest image and predicted track on the most current storm. From here you can also pull up info on other storms in this area and around the world. The Navy has by far the most and the best meteorology group anywhere in the world. ”
Rick’s favorite weather page, and his second favorite page for following tropical storms and hurricanes, can be found here. From this top page, he says, “I usually navigate directly to the Java Tools page (link in upper right box), then click on the METARs LARGE version (upper right). This will display near real time information from airports and aviation weather stations, showing your choice of wind speed, cloud cover, precipitation, forecasted weather, wind direction and speed and more. This is a zoomable page, so if you want to zoom in to Pennsylvania you can watch fronts move across the state or know temperature, winds and trends.”
For Rick, no discussion of U.S. hurricanes can be complete without mentioning the National Weather Service’s Tropical Prediction Center. They have a couple of products (strike probabilities, wind speed forecast, etc.) that he likes, though they’re not implemented in the most informative way in his opinion.
Rick gives an honorable mention to the Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Center, the group that actually calculates the predicted track that you’ll find at the NRL web site. He says their web site is pretty goofy, but if you can navigate through the retro implementation you’ll find some very useful information. Rick says, “These guys make lots of information products available, including geographic information that I occasionally use for a project. ”
Last but not least, Rick’s second favorite weather page for generally following the weather can be found here. He says, ” I almost always just pull up the latest radar Java Loop for my area or the nation. To get it for your area, go to the main page, enter your zip code in the upper right corner, wait for the forecast to load, then pull down the Radar menu (upper middle) and select the Java Loop. This is almost always more current than local news broadcasts unless they are accessing this website to track a tornado or super cell in the area.”