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Subject: I9) What computer software is available for tracking tropical cyclones?

Contributed by Tom Berg


(Note that this does not constitute an endorsement of any product.)


Free Tropical Cyclone Tracking programs


  • JStrack (Windows/UNIX) -- JStrack is a freeware hurricane tracking program for Unix and Windows 9x/ME/NT/2k/XP.

    Version 3.0.2 on 16 Aug 2008

    Key features include:

    • automatic data updates via incoming e-mail (WX-ATLAN) or FTP from NHC server (a filter "reads" the NHC products and extracts the data)
    • three maps, courtesy of Ron Murphy, NWS Birmingham: Overall picture, US East Coast, and US Gulf Coast + S. FL.
    • plots wind radii (default is for current/forecast positions only). After all, you need to know where the storm's WINDS are, not just where the eye is.
    • plots NHC probabilities data (via menu---see next item)
    • menu associated with any past/current storm position from which you can plot/remove forecast positions, wind radii, and probabilities, view details on the storm (wind speeds, course, etc.), view the NHC products associated with that time/position, and so on.
    • given user's home coordinates, 'X' plotted at that point on the map
    • given user's home coordinates, JStrack can warn the user if the storm is currently within a given number (def. 60) of nautical miles, or is forecast to come within that distance (this part assumes a straight line between forecast points, and should not be considered 100% accurate!)
    • ability to run user-defined commands when storm data is updated for a storm currently on the screen and/or for a new storm, and/or for situations where the storm is, or is forecast to be, within the above distance in nautical miles. This can be used to wake you up in a situation where the storm is a potential threat, and missing an advisory could put you in a dangerous situation. It has also been used by at least three web sites to do a screen capture and update a web page (for 24x7 ops).

    For more info, screen pics, etc., see http://www.purl.org/net/jstrack or contact Jim Graham.


  • StormTrakker -- StormTrakker is a plotter/database program for tracking Atlantic basin tropical cyclones. Among its many features are over 30 regional and detailed maps covering the tropical Atlantic basin, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and all US mainland coastal areas in detail. NHC forecasts are supported. Databases are included for all tropical cyclones from 1900-1998 for the historical searching and plotting options. Tropical storm and hurricane force wind radii are also supported. Also provides the capability to enter the computer model forecasted positions for plotting.

    Web site for download -- http://www.nexrad3.com/StormTrakker.html


Priced Tropical Cyclone Tracking programs


  • Global Tracks (Windows) -- Global Tracks contains over 10,000 historical tracks of hurricanes and typhoons, dating back as far as 1886. This can be helpful tool in forecasting a hurricane's future track. The software automatically ingests the current hurricane and typhoon information from different hurricane agencies and plots directly onto your desktop. There is a distance calculator that will tell you the precise distance from the eye to any point on the map you choose. You can create your own color maps or use a predefined map from Global Tracks library. It also displays the closest point of approach to any selected city.

    Global Tracks
    Latest version 7.4.1
    October 2, 2009
    Price

    Platforms -- Windows with internet access
    Online internet service for advisories - YES
    Web site for download -- www.extremewx.com


  • HurrTrak -- Shareware version of most detailed tracking software available. Price listed is for latest full version, 10.0, actual price.

    HURRTRAK

    EM/Pro 2010
    Price $ 880.00
    S&H $ 25.00

    RM/Pro 2010
    Price $1875.00
    S&H $ 25.00

    Online internet service for advisories - YES
    STORMINFO 2010
    $260.00 per year

    Web site for download --http://www.pcwp.com/


  • Tracking the Eye -- View the movement of the storm on a map of the eastern United States and the Caribbean. Graph and full color printing. Track storm information including type of storm, storm coordinates, wind speed and pressure, direction and speed of travel, date and time of coordinates, damage, and more. Print your storm map. Track up to 40 storms at once. Includes data for over 750 historical storms from 1900 to 1996.

    Tracking The Eye
    Latest version 8.4, Jan. 16, 2010
    Price - $19.95
    Platforms -- Windows 95/98/XP/Vista/Windows 7
    Online Internet service for advisories - YES
    $19.95 per year
    Web site for download -- http://www.hurricanesoftware.com/

    iPhone App
    Latest version 1.6.1, Feb. 4, 2010
    Free
    Yearly updates? - YES
    Free
    Web site for download -- http://www.itunes.apple.com/app/hurricanesoftware-coms-tracking/id300594730?mt=8

    Facebook App
    Latest version 1.0, Jan. 16, 2010
    Price - Free
    Online Internet service for advisories - YES
    Free
    Web site for download -- http://www.apps.facebook.com/hurricanesoftware/

Last Updated April 21, 2010

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