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Tracking Rita

September 24, 2005

Accuweather animation of enhanced infrared satellite imagery of Rita approaching landfall

With Hurricane Rita making landfall in Texas and Louisiana tonight, I’ve been scouring the Web for everything and anything to shed more light on what’s going on this instant. Thought I’d share some top picks for tracking the storm and its effects in case others in Net land were in the same proverbial boat.

The National Hurricane Center and Accuweather provide some of the greatest detail and most up to date information available. Go there first. If you’re looking for a reliable site year in and year out for hurricane updates but find NHC and Accuweather a bit difficult to parse (both are very data dense), try CNN’s Hurricane site. It provides fairly up to date news and tracking information. Just about everything you find on air on CNN, you can find on their site. A bonus feature: A “storm names” section at the bottom of the main page which shows all Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific (i.e. possible US) named storms.

Multi-view of two Louisiana stations during Rita landfall

Next up, WeatherServer.net’s Hurricane Center is providing live video from TV stations and audio from fire scanners in the landfall areas (Houston, New Orleans, etc.).

Examples: Click here to watch three Louisiana stations simultaneously or here for Houston ABC affiliate KTRK channel 13. If you want the latest, on-the-ground developments, this is your one stop shop.

Prefer to track things in your aggregator or feed reader? Ask and ye shall receive:

Hurricane Rita in Google Earth

Finally, in the “truly amazing even if you understand how it works” category, I’d highly recommend checking out the latest imagery, predictions, sea temperatures, and more compiled and overlaid on a 3D Earth from the hard working members of the Google Earth Community. Visit the Community’s Current Events board especially the Hurricane Rita data compilation post. Power user Frank Taylor has collected some of the best Google Earth Rita links in a recent blog post. Get Google Earth if you don’t already have it, then click here to load Taylor’s compilation. Be sure to experiment with turning the various Rita tracking info, satellite photos, and other layers on/off, clicking on the many embedded links for additional information, etc. Truly an incredible tool!

Wherever you are and however much attention you’re paying to Rita coming ashore tonight, say a prayer for the people in southeast TX and southwest LA. And then visit Redcross.org in the coming days to find out what help, if any, is needed after the storm.

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