As if Hurricane Irene weren’t bad enough, here comes Hurricane Sandy to do its worst, a no-one’s-exaggerating historic 450-mile storm-of-the-century howler, already wreaking havoc on East Coasters still roughly a dozen hours from landfall Monday night.
The predictions are ominous: 85-m.p.h. winds; expected storm surges greater than Katrina’s; water levels in New York City expected to reach up to an incredible 11 ft.; the number of people expected to be impacted between 50 million and 60 million. Sandy isn’t just an intimidating storm, it’s a potentially terrifying one.
Want to keep tabs on it with your phone or tablet? We published this list of hurricane-tracking apps when Irene hit in August 2011. Here it is again, updated and joined by new ones.
Hurricane (iPhone, $2.99). Kitty Code’s storm tracker rates 4.5 out of 5 stars across all versions, with over 1,700 users weighing in — an encouraging sign. It’s a one-stop hurricane shop devoted to tracking maps, satellite views, five-day forecasts, radar and bulletins related to hurricanes. You can see Hurricane Sandy’s full path, from its starting classification point to its current position. And if you want quick metrics on any given storm, all you need to do is tap on one to summon informational pop-ups that detail wind speed, storm speed, direction, pressure and so forth.
Like any good iOS app with location service enabled, it’ll even tell you how far you are from various points in the storm. And if you’re looking for historical info, it has “detailed, interactive” historical hurricane data for the Atlantic (back to 1851) and the East and Central Pacific (back to 1949). The iPad version, Hurricane HD ($3.99), essentially prettifies all of the above, offers a more easy-to-navigate interface and adds video and blog updates from HurricaneTrack.com.
Hurricane Track (iOS, free with ads). Mach Software’s app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch comes with eight live radar animations (including stuff like “visible,” “shortwave,” “water vapor” and “aviation”), local forecasts, projected storm paths five days out, weather discussions and more.
iHurricane HD (iOS, free with ads, $2.99 for ad-free). iHurricane HD bills itself as the only Hurricane app that lets you track multiple Hurricanes simultaneously on a single, interactive map (with clickable icons). The free version offers satellite views, national radar, informational metrics like wind speed and millibars, historical storm data, e-mail alerts and the distance between you and the storm (by coordinates).
Hurricane by American Red Cross (iOS, free). The official Red Cross hurricane app is less a storm tracker than a disaster-information repository. It’ll give you a peek at any tracked storms (including Sandy), but its real strength is in its “if this happens, do this” preparedness list, as well as its breakdown of shelters folded into your phone or tablet’s mapping software, letting you pinpoint each shelter’s location. Oh, and Android users, you can grab a version of this app here.
Hurricane Hound (Android, free with ads, $1.99 for ad-free). If you’re an Android user, the app of choice seems to be this one, a hurricane tracker that uses Google Maps as its backdrop. It’ll track both forecasts and locations of Atlantic and East Pacific hurricanes and tropical storms, point out areas the National Weather Service is keeping tabs on and offer standard NWS “tropical outlooks and discussions, public advisories, forecasts and satellite imagery.”
Hurricane Software (Android, free with ads). An Android hurricane app by the same company (HurricaneSoftware.com) that makes iHurricane HD for iOS, this free-with-ads tracker — now out of beta — lets you view hurricane-coordinates data, high-resolution maps, satellite images, warning information and storm tracks. If you want the ad-free version, there’s Hurricane Software Pro ($2.99).
Alternatively, you can always check out weather-app standbys like the Weather Channel (for iOS or Android) or something called iMapWeather Radio (for iOS only) that’ll let you tap weather forecasts and “receive critical voice and text alerts on life-threatening weather events.”
Of course, nothing beats a good old-fashioned hand-crank-powered radio; be sure to buy one with a dedicated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) option. Radios certainly don’t hurt to have as a handy backup in the event that cell towers go down, or jam up.