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First Look: Hurricane iPhone is heading your way


Many intense hurricanes in the last five years have caused tremendous damage to the the Gulf Coast and eastern US, so interest in keeping a constant eye on tropical storms has definitely increased. Last August, TUAW covered AccuWeather's tropical storm tracker for iPhone. While this information is part of the overall weather coverage available from AccuWeather, there's a recently updated iPhone app that is focused solely at hurricane watchers.

The aptly-titled Hurricane (click opens iTunes) from Kitty Code, LLC is chock-full of hurricane data. Not only do you get up-to-the minute info on tropical storms gone bad, but you can also look at historical information and storm tracks for just about every storm that has been recorded since 1851.

Hurricane first appeared in the App Store in October of 2008, and a recent update has added many more features that will be useful when the 2009 National Weather Service Hurricane Season officially kicks off on June 1st. Click the Read More link to see the details.

The first thing you notice when you start Hurricane right now is that for just a second you see "Current Storms" listed. This is an indication that current tropical storms are going to appear first in the app when the weather gets rough. At this time, the app displays all of the 2008 Atlantic storms from Arthur to Paloma (see below left), and a quick tap on any storm reveals a plot of its position on the globe over time, the maximum sustained wind speed, the time and date at any particular plot point, the barometric pressure at the eye of the storm, and the direction that the storm was moving when the measurement was taken (below right).

At the bottom right of the map is a "forward" arrow, which you can keep tapping to watch the storm evolve until it finally dissipates. You can also back up on the storm track by tapping the "reverse" arrow on the lower left corner of the screen.

The list of past storms is phenomenal. You can go through the list of storms all the way back to 1851 to see interesting facts. For instance, most of us know that 2005 was the biggest year ever for tropical storms with a final count of 28, but did you know that 1933 was the previous runner-up with a whopping 21 storms? Now you do!

While the hurricane season is underway, any storms that are brewing in the Atlantic or Northeast Pacific areas appear in the Current Storms listing. You can also look at the current tropical weather outlook from NOAA by tapping on the Satellite icon. A number of different NOAA products are viewable, including water vapor, forecast charts including track probabilities, and discussions about upcoming storms.

The chances of having a hurricane hit Colorado are infinitesimal, but I still have this app loaded on my iPhone because I do a lot of travel to areas that are in hurricane zones. Hurricane is available for US$3.99 and is worth a look if you live in a coastal area.

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