Just as the 2017 hurricane season was starting to look like a dud (thankfully), Harvey, a massive Category 4 hurricane plowed through the Gulf of Mexico and ravaged the city of Houston. Now, with Category 5 Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storm systems ever recorded just starting to heat up in the Caribbean (and with pals Jose and Katie just behind her), we now have three hurricanes swirling through the Atlantic basin for the first time since 2010.
As is the case with any other severe weather system, it’s best to have the latest information to better withstand or avoid a disaster ahead of time. Thankfully, there are plenty of hurricane trackers to help you prepare for these potentially deadly events. Whether it’s the most advanced NOAA predictive models or simply tips for finding an emergency shelter, here are the best apps and websites to prepare for the worst.
Hurricane tracker apps
Hurricane Tracker ($4)
Initially released in 2009, Hurricane Tracker has been one of the most popular hurricane trackers for years. The app uses National Hurricane Center (NHC) data to relay audio briefings and maps. Hurricane Tracker also broadcasts all NHC advisories and maps in real time to keep you up to date on the latest developments. You can customize the app to receive alerts as new storms form and/or as existing systems make landfall.
Similarly, the Model Watch feature uses predictive models to better prepare for any swerve Mother Nature decides to send your way. Unlike the other offerings on this list, this app will cost you a few bucks, but when it comes to tried and true dedicated hurricane apps, Hurricane Tracker is our pick.
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The American Red Cross created the Hurricane app and it’s one of the best free hurricane trackers for Android and iOS. Hurricane allows you to monitor conditions in your immediate area as well as locations currently within a storm system. The app of course incorporates an interactive storm tracker map and also predictive models to help you plan for the worst ahead of time.
Like other apps, Hurricane will relay real time alerts and updates, however, one of the standout functions is the in-app communication feature. Anyone in the direct path of the hurricane or storm system can post custom messages or select status updates within the app. This allows you to easily to communicate with loved ones without leaving the app itself.
The Red Cross has compiled a series of step-by-step guides to help individuals prepare for a storm, and advice to heed during and after a hurricane. This includes a tool to lead individuals to their nearest Red Cross shelter, as well as tips for managing drinking water if your area has been flooded our plagued by power outages. It is important to note that the Hurricane app is available in both in English and Spanish.
If you do end up losing power during a storm, it’s best to keep a portable power source on hand just in case. That said, here are some of the choicest portable generators and power stations on the market.
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