Hunker Down!

Severe weather season roars back to Charleston today. I’m in “hunker down” mode here, monitoring all sorts of varying weather information. Here’s how to keep up:

  • On Twitter, I’ll live-tweet the storm event at @chswx. If you just want warnings and forecasts, I recommend @CharlestonWX. Also see @weatherwatches for advance notice of potential watches. Don’t forget local media, as well, including Rob Fowler, Josh Marthers, Joey Sovine, and the Live 5 Weather Team.
  • I’m uploading radar images periodically to There’s an animation script which gives you 10 frames and many Level III products to play with.
  • If time permits, I’ll do some writing with more detailed analysis at my new weather blog. Given the fast pace of these storms, blogging may be somewhat prohibitive. (It’s much easier to blog a hurricane than it is a springtime weather event.)

Despite all this technology we now have, your best defense is to have a NOAA Weather Radio and make sure to heed all warnings that come down from the National Weather Service or other emergency management officials. Remember, the Internet is a great tool, but is not intended for life-or-death decisions. Stay safe out there!


Good Hanna resources online

I’m not the only one talking about Hanna, not by a longshot. First of all, the most real-time information about Hanna will obviously come from Twitter Search. More long-form blogs include the venerable Jeff Masters from Weather Underground, who’s posting about two to three times a day or so. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed Brian Neudorff‘s coverage all the way from Rochester, NY. His site has a smorgasbord of useful resources to check into as well, more than I can easily list here; he’s also got a good Twitter presence. Looking a bit more locally, WCSC also maintains a weather blog at, which primarily features posts from Chad Watson but Bill Walsh is known to post fairly regularly as well. When he’s not busy with his duties at The Weather Channel, former ABC News 4 meteorologist Brian Goode also chimes in about the situation here in Charleston on his blog.

For the forecast data, I’ll usually alternate between the Hurricane Center and Weather Underground; sometimes one is faster than the other at getting advisories out. Weather Underground also shows you a few basic computer models; FSU’s models page takes it to a whole new level. If you’re a spaghetti kind of guy, the Colorado State Tropical Cyclone Guidance page will more than hit the spot.

If you’re interested in interactive tracking maps, StormPulse is tough to top. For the Google Earth users out there, Tropical Atlantic has a large tropics-specific package that contains multiple satellite shots, forecast model plots, guidance, and much more.

If there’s a resource you particularly love, please leave it in comments!


Gustav knocking on Category 5’s door

Hurricane Gustav radar fix in Cuba

Major Hurricane Gustav is closing in on Category 5 status very quickly, raking Cuba and giving Key West quite a blustery time in the process. As of the 5 PM advisory, Gustav’s packing 150 MPH sustained winds, making it an intense Category 4, and is moving to the northwest at 15 MPH. This puts the storm somewhere along the Gulf Coast roughly Monday night. Model guidance agrees well on Gustav’s track at this point; it’s now a matter of wobbles — five miles east or west could change the prognosis for New Orleans, Houston, Biloxi, and other cities along the coast pretty substantially. As it stands, New Orleans may see sustained hurricane force winds on the eastern side of the storm, which is where the worst storm surge will occur. However, a lot can change between now and Monday.

Update: Here’s a map of the official NHC forecast track along with the spaghetti models to demonstrate variability in the landfall locations. Models look roughly at the Texas/Louisiana border all the way to right next to New Orleans, which is a disastrous scenario if that’s the one that comes to pass.

Track and models for Gustav

How I’m Following Gustav

Social media has mobilized throughout the day for getting the word out about Gustav. Twitter is figuring heavily into the mix, as one might expect: I’m following Mark Mayhew, who’s on the ground in New Orleans, as well as The Interdictor Project, one of the several aggregators of information about Gustav being made available this afternoon. (Interdictor may sound familiar to those who followed the Interdictor LiveJournal during Katrina; it was one of the best blogs that was actually on the ground through the duration of the storm.) I’ve also begun following Vanessa (aka iThinkMedia), who’s on the ground in Alexandra, LA, and James Wheeler, who lists his location as the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You can get the big picture using this Twitter search. A centralized Gustav Ning site has been set up for disseminating information and also for coordinate efforts to help folks who may be displaced by the storm. Finally, for you FriendFeeders out there, Wayne Sutton is compiling a list of resources for following Gustav.

Gustav is captivating me not just because of the obvious meteorological aspect, but also how folks are mobilizing so quickly using social media tools to disseminate information. This will be quite a study in social media’s maturity, and it’ll be interesting to see how things turn out.

In Brief Weather

Great tropical weather resource

I encourage you to check out the Hurricane room on FriendFeed, the hyper-aggregator service. The room, created by Rob Williams and suggested to me in comments the other day, brings in a variety of sources of information about hurricane threats in one location with full interactivity and commenting. (Rooms are why FriendFeed kicks boo-tay.) I highly recommend it for getting all the updates and news in one place.