Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 every year, bringing powerful and destructive storms that can wreak havoc on coastal communities. With modern technology, we have many ways to track hurricanes and stay updated on their movements. Live hurricane tracking platforms provide real-time data on storm locations, forecasts, and potential impacts.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various online resources available for monitoring hurricanes as they form and track across the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Whether you live along the coast or just want to stay informed, this overview of live hurricane tracking maps, models, webcams, and more will help you follow storms this season and prepare appropriately.
Overview of Live Hurricane Tracking Resources
There are numerous platforms that provide live updates on tropical storms and hurricanes. Here’s a quick overview of some of the main options:
- Government agencies – The National Hurricane Center, NOAA, and local National Weather Service offices offer official forecasts, radar, satellite imagery, computer models, and more. Their data serves as the authoritative source.
- News outlets – Major news organizations like The Weather Channel and WeatherNation provide around-the-clock coverage with meteorologists explaining forecasts.
- Tracking maps – Online hurricane platforms from Google, Windy, Ventusky and more compile data into user-friendly interactive maps.
- Webcams – Live video feeds from coastal areas give a real-time peek at conditions on the ground as storms approach.
- Mobile apps – Apps like Hurricane Tracker provide alerts and live radar on your phone or tablet for tracking on the go.
- Social media – Twitter and Facebook pages for government agencies and meteorologists share frequent updates during active storms.
Hurricane Tracking Maps
Interactive online maps provide one of the easiest ways to monitor hurricanes in real-time. With just a click, you can check the latest position and forecast for storms as well as layers showing the precipitation, wind speeds, computer model forecasts, webcams, and more. Here are some top options:
National Hurricane Center Tracking Map
- Overview – The NHC’s official tracking map offers the latest coordinates, wind speeds, forecasts cone, computer model data, satellite imagery, and more for active storms in the Atlantic and East Pacific basins.
- Key Features – Switch between map views for 5-day forecasts, wind speed probabilities, cumulative precipitation, and 3-day track history. Click storm icons for additional details. View satellite loop. Data updates every 3 hours (more often when storms near land).
- Mobile – iOS and Android apps available.
Windy Hurricane Tracking Map
- Overview – This interactive weather map clearly plots storms alongside radar, temperature, precipitation, clouds, and ocean data.
- Key Features – Click hurricane icons to see forecast path, wind speed and model data. Transparent layers allow overlaying multiple data sets. Video timeline shows forecast over 7 days. Create custom maps.
- Mobile – iOS and Android apps available. Offers augmented reality camera overlay.
Ventusky Hurricane Tracking Map
- Overview – Ventusky’s hurricane tracking tool plots storms over interactive radar, satellite, and ocean current maps.
- Key Features – Click hurricane markers for forecast details. Overlay 250+ map layers like precipitation forecasts, sea temperatures, and traffic cameras. Animate the timeline to see the forecast cone move.
- Mobile – iOS and Android apps available.
Google Hurricane Tracking Map
- Overview – Google’s crisis map shows hurricane locations, spaghetti models, forecasts cones, evacuation routes, shelters, traffic, and more.
- Key Features – Minimal interface focuses on storm position, forecast path, and precipitation radar data. Links to preparedness info. Leverages other Google services like Maps.
- Mobile – The mobile-friendly site works on iOS and Android. No app available.
WU Hurricane Tracking Map
- Overview – The Weather Underground hurricane tracker map plots storms and includes forecast details, model data, preparedness tips, and news links.
- Key Features – See present movement and forecasts for next 5 days. Click storm track lines to view model data. Get safety recommendations for different hurricane categories.
- Mobile – iOS and Android apps with radar, alerts, and hurricane features.
AccuWeather Hurricane Tracking Map
- Overview – AccuWeather’s Hurricane Center offers tracking maps alongside news, videos, forecasts, and preparedness information.
- Key Features – Interactive map shows current position, past track, and projected path for active storms. Clickable forecast cones. News and videos relevant to each storm.
- Mobile – iOS and Android apps include radar, alerts, and hurricane tracking capabilities.
Hurricane Forecast Models
Complex computer models analyze meteorological data to predict a hurricane’s path and intensity. While models don’t always agree, evaluating different forecasts helps estimate the most likely outcome. Here are some key models to watch:
- GFS Model – The American Global Forecast System model initialized by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. New run every 6 hours. Often diverges from other models.
- Euro Model – The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model initialized by the European Union. Many consider it the most accurate model. New run every 12 hours.
- HMON Model – The Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting model focuses specifically on hurricanes. Run by NOAA 4 times per day when storms are present.
- UKMET Model – The United Kingdom’s Met Office global model. Generally agrees closely with the Euro model. New run 4 times per day.
- CMC Model – The Canadian Meteorological Centre model. Tends to forecast storms further east than other models. New run every 12 hours.
- ICON Model – The new ICOsahedral Nonhydrostatic weather model developed by the German Weather Service. Promising for hurricane forecasting but limited track record so far.
- NAVGEM Model – The Navy Global Environmental Model focused on marine forecasts. Typically forecasts more intense hurricanes than other models. New run 4 times per day.
Webcams for Monitoring Storm Conditions
It’s one thing to see a storm on radar, but another to actually watch the impacts in real time via webcams stationed along the coasts. Views of beaches, marinas, piers, and other locations let you visually monitor as hurricane conditions arrive.
- Surfline – Network of coastal HD surf cams from North Carolina to Florida to the Caribbean provides live video overlooking piers, beaches, harbors, and breakwaters.
- Hurricane City – Features live webcams from Florida and other hurricane-prone areas, along with real-time chat rooms to share reports.
- Windy – Weather map includes hundreds of coastal webcams with pinpoints on the interactive map showing each location. Click to view live video.
- Explore – Network of nature cameras from different organizations includes coastal views where storms may be visible. Hosts live hurricane cam channels during events.
- La Jolla HD Cam – This YouTube live stream from California provides a scenic ocean view that may capture storms as they move north along the West Coast after crossing Mexico.
Satellite Imagery of Hurricanes
Satellites provide an unmatched top-down view of hurricanes, revealing details on the structure of the storms that no radar on the ground can offer. Visible and infrared satellite images help track movement and intensity.
- NOAA Satellites – View live visible and infrared imagery straight from NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite looking down on the Atlantic.
- Tropical Tidbits – This site compiles satellite images into looping animations, helpful for monitoring storms over time. Change products and regions.
- CIMSS Satellite Blog – University of Wisconsin site explains what’s happening meteorologically with annotated satellite images.
- NASA Worldview – Interactive tool to layer satellite data sources, customize imagery, and animate for timelapses. Requires downloading data.
- CIRA – The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere shares satellite images and animations focused on tropical cyclones.
Mobile Apps for Hurricane Tracking
Mobile apps leverage your phone’s GPS and push notification capabilities to provide location-based alerts and real-time radar access when you’re on the go:
Hurricane Tracker App
- iOS | Android
- Live radar layer shows approaching storms. Unlimited tracking of multiple storms at once. 8-day forecast cone and computer model data. Satellite and webcams. Alerts, damage reports, preparedness info.
Weather Underground App
- iOS | Android
- Radar with tropical tracking layer. Alerts notify as storms near. Detailed 7-day forecasts. Live reporting from over 250,000 personal weather stations around the world.
NOAA Weather Radar App
- iOS | Android
- Official NOAA app provides latest Doppler radar images. Map layers for tropical cyclones, wind, and flash flooding. Worldwide radar coverage. Real-time lightning detection. Severe storm alerts.
MyRadar Weather Radar App
- iOS | Android
- Fast-loading animated radar images. Wind information shows storms’ radial extent. Ability to measure storm movement. Radar loop playback shows where storms have been and are heading.
Storm Radar App
- iOS | Android
- Streamlined radar app focused specifically on tropical storms. Tracks active cyclones with projected and past paths. Detailed forecasts of timing for rain, wind, surge.
Twitter Accounts to Follow
Twitter provides a timely way to stay on top of the latest updates from official meteorological sources as well as credible hurricane experts:
- @NHC_Atlantic – Official tropical cyclone updates from the National Hurricane Center for storms in the Atlantic.
- @NHC_Pacific – Updates from the NHC for storms in the Eastern and Central Pacific basins.
- @NOAA – Broader weather updates, news, and resources from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- @JimCantore – On-camera meteorologist for The Weather Channel known for reporting live from storm locations.
- @pppapin – Meteorology PhD student who provides in-depth technical analysis.
- @JeffLindner1 – Harris County Flood Control meteorologist focused on Texas impacts.
- @ericblake12 – Hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. Explains forecast reasoning.
Facebook Pages for Hurricane Info
Facebook serves as a centralized spot for storm preparedness and response resources from weather agencies:
- National Hurricane Center Facebook – Official NHC storm updates, forecast discussions, weather safety tips, and links to full website resources.
- National Weather Service Eastern Region Facebook – Covers tropical updates for storms impacting the Eastern seaboard, Caribbean, and Gulf coast.
- National Weather Service Southern Region Facebook – Provides forecasts, warnings, and outlooks for the Southern U.S. from Texas to North Carolina.
- NOAA Office of Coastal Management Facebook – Shares coastal news, storm surge insights, resilience tips, and preparedness checklists.
- FEMA Facebook – Posts about emergency response efforts, disaster declarations, shelter locations, and recovery programs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Live Hurricane Tracking
How accurate are hurricane forecasts?
Forecast accuracy has improved significantly over past decades thanks to better modeling, satellites, radar, computing power and data gathering techniques. The NHC’s average track forecast error is now under 100 miles at 48 hours and around 150 miles at 72 hours. Intensity forecasts remain more challenging.
What’s the difference between a hurricane watch vs warning?
- Hurricane Watch – Hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. Review your plan and prepare.
- Hurricane Warning – Hurricane conditions expected within 36 hours. Complete storm preparations and leave area if directed.
How can I get alerts for storms in my area?
What category of hurricane likely requires evacuation?
Evacuation decisions depend on many factors, but generally Category 3 storms and above call for evacuating from vulnerable coastal areas, because of the potential for devastating wind damage and life-threatening storm surge. Follow advice from local officials.
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What supplies do I need if sheltering through a hurricane?
Gather a 2 week supply of water, non-perishable food, medications, batteries, flashlights, radio, first aid kit, cash, important documents, and other emergency items. Don’t forget needs for kids, pets, seniors, or those with disabilities.
What’s the difference between hurricane watches, warnings and cones?
- Hurricane Watch: Hurricane possible within 48 hours.
- Hurricane Warning: Hurricane expected within 36 hours.
- Cone: Probable path the storm center might take. Size often misses worst impacts.
How can I stay safe during a hurricane?
Stay inside a secure shelter on the lowest level. Avoid windows and doors. Beware of flying debris outside. Never drive through flooded roads. Listen for emergency instructions. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
Key Takeaways on Live Hurricane Tracking and Monitoring Storms Online:
- Interactive tracking maps, weather models, webcams, satelitte imagery and mobile apps provide valuable real-time storm data.
- Pay close attention to National Hurricane Center forecasts, warnings and preparation guidance.
- Have multiple ways to receive alerts for your area, such as weather radio, phone notifications and warning sirens.
- Evacuate promptly if ordered and take all hurricane hazards like flooding seriously.
- Rely on official government sources for emergency instructions before, during and after storms.
With smart use of the myriad of live hurricane tracking resources now available online, you can monitor approaching storms closely and make well-informed decisions to stay safe this season. As technology improves, forecasting accuracy will only get better, giving people more time to prepare. But proper preparedness and prompt emergency response will always remain key to making it through hurricane events.