Track hurricanes with one of these smartphone apps

Storm clouds gather over fields in Indiana. The apps aren't meant to be used for life-or-death decisions. JIM AVELIS / (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star
Storm clouds gather over fields in Indiana. The apps aren't meant to be used for life-or-death decisions. JIM AVELIS / (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star (JIM AVELIS / (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star)
Posted: August 24, 2012

As Tropical Storm Isaac threatens to become a Caribbean hurricane that could hit Florida in time for the Republican National Convention next week, here are some smartphone applications to put detailed weather data at your fingertips.

The site makes free hurricane tracking apps for Android, Apple, and Windows Phone 7. Each platform's app has a different name: Hurricane Software for Android; iHurricane HD for Apple; Tracking the Eye for Windows. Ad-free versions cost $2.99.

The app follows tropical storms in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans. This week, the app's focus is Isaac, whose path and increasing intensity have it headed for Puerto Rico, Cuba, and other island nations, which were battening down Wednesday.

Enter your e-mail address to get storm alerts. Charts and images from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are numerous and help the non-meteorologist understand the difference between a Category 1 and a Category 5 hurricane.

The app carries this caveat in its "about" information: "This product is not to be used to make life-or-death decisions," and says to refer to local sources if you are in the path of a storm.

AccuWeather Inc. has free apps for most devices, including BlackBerry. With location service on AccuWeather for iPhone, the app opens with a local-conditions screen showing the temperature, the "RealFeel" temperature, a user-friendly graphic showing wind speed and direction, and other data.

If you need to tell everyone what you find - and who doesn't? - there's a "share" button for posting on e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.

Forecasts go out for a full two weeks, which could stretch your credulity. Animated and overlay maps use radar and satellite images.

Tap the "Video" button to watch daily local and national forecasts, disaster, and travel-weather news, and features by meteorologists.

A "Lifestyle" tab tells about current conditions for bicycling, fishing, golf, and other activities and risks for catching a cold or the flu, as well as the weather risks to asthma, migraine, and arthritis sufferers.

NOAA Radio Free, from JJACR Apps for Apple, is one of many applications - some of which charge, while others like this one are advertising-supported - that serve up the weather broadcasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

They are the same old scratchy, government-issue broadcasts, but with an app, you get to check out the forecasts for almost anywhere around the country.

Contact Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114,, or follow @ReidKan on Twitter.

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