Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane Gustav and Weather Technology - Update 5

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm somewhat of a weather geek (understatement :).

It goes back many years to when I placed one of the first independent weather stations on the Internet and joined with several rapidly growing weather communities on the Net.

Numerous friendships were made over the years, and I continue to learn almost as much about weather, as I do about computers, the Internet and yes, the ever-changing world of SEO (and Google), every day. 

While the science of local weather forecasting in the US has improved dramatically over the past few years, hurricanes are another story.  They can be spotted forming earlier. There are more computer models and better resources. But, in the end, they seem to always surprise us one way or another.

For those that are interested, I still maintain a collection of good weather, hurricane, and earthquakes websites here.  Many of the websites and blogs have been around for many years. Most have improved dramatically.  For all intents and purposes, it's now a live bookmark page for myself that I visit about once a month to update.

There are a lot of excellent hurricane meteorologists on the web and in syndication on TV.  My personal favorite is Joe Bastardi at  Jeff Masters also usually has a pretty good take on things at Wunderground.

During this event, I've been making a few posts to Friendfeed including this thread.  A large weather community is building there as well (with now three rooms devoted to weather).  The interaction is excellent between those watching and some who have just seen the storms pass over.

The FACT is that many weather vehicles (like local forecasts) are now incredibly accurate.  Hurricane forecasting is based on models and history (and experience).  Even the best forecast tracks still can't be exacting as these finicky systems can stall over warm water, or race to land, at any time.  As time goes on, no doubt, the models and computer comparisons will improve.

In the meantime, if you're in the path of one of these systems, watch their progress often.

Hope this helps a few as what appears to be the most significant hurricane in a while, Gustav, continues to gain momentum.

Update 9 PM Aug 30:  Earlier this evening, numerous announcements were made regarding mandatory evacuations in New Orleans as well as the current dramatic increase in the size and intensity of  Hurricane Gustav as it crosses Cuba.  Florida is feeling the outermost feeder bands at this hour.  New links and more are being posted to my FriendFeed (by others) and others to the Hurricane Room including numerous live feeds from throughout the area.  Excellent overall coverage.  I have added some additional resources to as well.

Update 11:29 PM ET - Another excellent link to four local Louisiana TV stations (Thanks Bwana)
(One of the best links during this event)

Update 5 AM ET - DirecTV has launched a Hurricane Gustav Information channel (363) with evacuation and other information. 

Another good list has been published here .

It's 11 PM on Saturday night and you certainly don't need me to tell you about the extraordinary evacuation of the Gulf Coast throughout the day today.

To the hundreds of people that chimed in to help in anyway they could on Twitter, Friendfeed, and the many other microblogging services and aggregators (prior to full time coverage by the mainstream media) .... If you helped one person get out of harms way, you did a GREAT thing.