Archive for the ‘weather’ Tag

Weather maps for emergency operations and planners

“The most detailed, easy to navigate, fully-featured tracking site I have seen.” Evan, Dept. of Homeland Security

During the 2008 and 2009 Atlantic hurricane seasons, thousands of decision-makers from Fortune 500 executives to local marina managers used Stormpulse to visualize the impending dangers and coordinate their efforts.  Since then, we’ve received hundreds of emails from these “power users” asking for more.  To better serve these customers, on June 1, 2010, we launched a new series of plans focused on the needs of emergency operations and disaster response teams.

In addition to all of the features available with our base-level Stormpulse Pro plan, these plans include the ability to add additional users to your Stormpulse Pro account, severe weather alerts for up to an unlimited number of custom locations, coastline highlighting for tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings, and a wind probabilities layer which provides an excellent visual interpretation of the National Hurricane Center’s wind speed forecasts.

What other features can you expect in 2010? How about wind probability alerts, storm surge alerts, and an enhanced version of our popular forecast models layer? With the ocean heat content rising, we’re also considering the addition of a sea-surface temperatures layer. Your feedback is appreciated!

You can read more about these plans and see an overview of key features by going to our Emergency Operations products page. You can also fill out this form if you’d like to schedule a demo for your company or team. We’d be happy to discuss your team’s specific needs.

P.S. Here’s a video on YouTube that shows Stormpulse in action at the Harris County Office of Emergency Management.  This county includes the city of Houston and is responsible for an area larger than Rhode Island.  Look for Stormpulse on the projectors at 0:04 and 0:10 seconds into the clip.

Add markers to weather maps with the Stormpulse API

You can now add your own location data to any Stormpulse map embedded on your site.  To learn how, read our updated API documentation, or watch these video tutorials.

NOTE: This functionality is available to all API users until June 1, 2010.  On June 1, 2010, certain restrictions may apply to API users embedding the map on media (mass audience) sites and API users embedding the map on corporate intranet portals.

Just another small step towards opening up our maps to the rest of the world.  We look forward to adding new functions, objects, and data sets to the library.

If you would like to sign up for an API key (free), you should go to this page on our site.

Locality, beauty, and speed: major updates to Stormpulse

Now with city-level coverage for thousands of U.S. locations and ZIP codes

We’ve spent the last four months working on an update to make Stormpulse.com more local, more beautiful, and faster.  And as of this morning, you can go and see for yourself.

Major highlights:

  • Home page attempts to geo-locate and route you to a local weather page.
  • Current conditions box shows current temperature, conditions, and winds.
  • Forecast box shows high and low temperature and an hour-by-hour summary for the next three days.
  • Map imagery with a resolution of 500 m/pixel–four times greater than our previous maps (so you zoom in four times closer).
  • Speed boost: the map only loads the severe weather information it needs for your current view (no loading or rendering data needlessly).
  • Map enhancements–clearer labeling and more beautiful terrain.

Those are the big items.  Other items we get excited about:

  • When viewed with an iPhone, the weather information is displayed in a friendly, readable fashion (and more mobile support coming soon).
  • The ‘Share Map‘ feature now works for U.S. Severe Weather and allows you to share down to the plotpoint for a storm.  For example, a close-up view of Katrina bearing down on NOLA.  This will work for forecast positions during an active storm as well.
  • Improved color scheme for severe weather alerts.  In our first attempt at severe weather coverage, we adopted the National Weather Service’s colors entirely.  Since then, we’ve seen a few big storms come and go, and a lot of winter storms come and go, and we’ve adjusted our colors to improve visibility on the critical alerts, and quiet down the less important ones.
  • Simplified site navigation bar.  Fewer choices with an expandable button at the end means less confusion, we believe.
  • Intelligent expanding and contracting of weather info boxes in the left column.  We are big believers in only showing what matters and hiding the rest.  We’ve tried to make some smart decisions about what to hide and what to show by default.  Tell us if you disagree!

Since so much of this is visual, I thought I’d include a few more screenshots that do this update justice.

A Winter Storm Watch in Hartford, CT:

Wintry weather in … Texas?!  Yep.

As always, we looking forward to hearing what you think.

The Stormpulse Team

Nationwide severe weather on Stormpulse

This morning we updated the site to include most of the severe weather watches and warnings published by the National Weather Service (weather.gov).

This includes many, many types of hazards such as:

  • Severe Thunderstorms
  • Tornadoes
  • Floods & flash floods
  • Fire watches/warnings
  • Winter storms (snow, sleet)
  • Frosts/freezes
  • Extreme heat

Here’s an example of some frost creeping into Charlotte, NC this morning:

Frost in Charlotte, NC

We’ve adopted the same colors as the official NWS charts (though that may change), and we’ve added value (in our Stormpulse way) by making the areas clickable, by joining together neighborhoring shapes into a single area (less clutter, less confusion) when they share the same advisory/alert, and by giving you access to the complete description right inside the map.

Along with the mapping visuals, you’ll also notice we have a search box that supports searching by state, city, or zip code.

Search

Example searches: “Memphis, TN“, “33411“, “New York, NY“, “Minnesota“, “California“, “FL“.

Play around and have fun with it, and let us know what you think.  We are considering this very much an early version (‘beta’ in developer lingo), so beware of hidden bugs and potential performance issues if you are using a slower computer.

Hurricane Ike sporting 105 mph winds, says Shell E&P Drilling Platform

At 2:45pm EDT, a Shell International Drilling Platform (also known as NDBC buoy 42361) recorded Hurricane Ike‘s southeastern eyewall at 105 mph at a pressure of 967 mb:

Meanwhile, a buoy stationed off the southeast coast of Galveston, TX is observing 17 ft. waves with winds out of the ENE at 40 mph, gusting to almost 50 mph. Also interesting that these are 17 ft. waves coming in on a 45 ft. water depth. Pressure there is at 995 mb, a 4.6 mb drop since the last observation.

A better buoy GUI: ocean observations on the Stormpulse.com map

This morning we rolled out a buoys feature that we were forced to remove before our initial launch but have been able to bring back (just in time for a new hurricane?). The dataset is sourced from the NOAA’s National Buoy Data Center.

To access the feature, click ‘More’ in the top-right Layers menu to expose the ‘Ocean Buoys’ option. Clicking ‘On’ will retrieve the latest weather reports from all over the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean, and place them on the map in the form of blue boxes and red boxes. Blue boxes represent sea-based observations, while red boxes represent land-based observations. Clicking one of these boxes will bring up details in a ‘dock’ near the bottom of the map.

We can see that thanks to the high-potential disturbance off the coast of Puerto Rico this morning, NOMAD Buoy 41043 (seen here as the blue box in the northeast quadrant of the disturbance) has recorded wind gusts of 31 mph:

These observations update once every few hours, assuming all of the communication between that little object in the vast blue ocean and our servers works properly.

Since our last release, we’ve also fixed a bug such that the entire description for a tropical disturbance can now be seen–just click ‘More…’ in the description box at the bottom of the map when a disturbance is highlighted.

We’ve also added a small feature that will show you the population of a city if you click the label on the map.

Users of the Stormpulse API do not need to do anything to take advantage of these enhancements.  They should already be visible to you and your web visitors.