Hurricane season, 2012

Each year is a new hurricane season, and each year the internet is a little different. Here's some things that are new that I've noticed.

Every single meteorologist is on Twitter (or close enough), and there's an ample supply of both local weather reporting and national weather forecasting to satisfy anyone's need to look at weather models for hurricanes to come. The word of the year is "spaghetti model", illustrated below, showing a whole series of separate tracks from different atmospheric models to predict a set of possible futures for the storm.

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Another novel thing this year is the appearance of the hurricane app for your smart phone or iPad. Hurricane HD for your iPad focuses solely on hurricane tracking, giving you alerts and forecasts and graphical updates as conditions change. (I haven't used it, but the screen shots look good and straightforward). The Red Cross Hurricane App includes “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way. Both have access to NOAA Weather Radio, which is one of the typical channels found on any of the scanner apps that are available.

If you are interested in listening to hurricane radio traffic, one good source is Radio Reference. In addition to listening to police scanners and fire service radios, you can also tune into the National Hurricane Center SKYWARN network and hear weather and condition reports directly from amateur radio operators in the field.

One thing that hasn't changed is the excellent hurricane coverage from Weather Underground, with the weblog of Dr. Jeff Masters a clear and precise account as conditions change. The comment board on this blog is notable for being well behaved and well informed, a rarity in this day and age. Weather Underground was recently purchased by Weather.com. There's no visible changes yet to hurricane information, but a few more TWC meteorologists are blogging on the wunderground site.

Here in Michigan, the worst we can expect from a hurricane is flooding from the far-north remnants of a storm. Others will not be so lucky. Do your best to be prepared.

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