How To Track a Hurricane

A hurricane is technically classified by meteorologists as a tropical cyclone. Tropical refers to its geographic origin while cyclone refers to its counterclockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise revolution in the Southern Hemisphere.

The basic material that is needed for tracking hurricane is a grid map of the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean depending on your location. If you really want to come face to face with one, you'll also need a sturdy laptop with a wireless connection. A compass can be quite handy on the field as well as a scientific calculator for computing the distance just in case your laptop conks out.

  1. Learn everything in advance. Study the fundamental terms. Some people even take a course or two in Meteorology to further specialize their knowledge of hurricanes.  
  2. Join hurricane enthusiasts. Join the US Air force reserve troops that actually fly into the area to conduct research. As an alternative, you can also join certified professionals who regularly go hurricane hunting.    
  3. Stalk the hurricane. Seek possible formations of tropical waves and depressions. These are described in latitude and longitude. Consult satellite images and ocean maps online. Watch out for some potential tropical waves as not all develop into hurricanes. The pathway must be over warmer oceans, as this provides them the energy to create great winds.
  4. Visit reliable websites. The most reliable website is the National Hurricane Center which collates information from satellites and supercomputers. They also have tracking charts available for download and publishing. One usually enters the longitude and latitude of the storm in the tracking map. Wait for the forecast generated on the screen based on the data entered. However, there could be different forecasts. Previous encounters with major hurricanes will hone forecasting skills so read up newspaper sections or journals that specialize in meteorology or oceanography.
  5. Prepare for emergencies. Before you set off to meet the hurricane in the predicted landfall area, you've got to prepare for the worst. Inform your family about your plan. Take along a first aid kit and emergency supplies (water, blankets, nonperishable food). Weather radios with extra batteries will update you on recent developments. Remember to bring flares and a waterproof video camera to document your work. 

A hurricane usually starts as a low pressure area, which is also known as a tropical wave. As conditions worsen, it develops into a tropical depression. When it generates powerful speed, it becomes a tropical storm. The most devastating of all is the hurricane status, when winds of the tropical storm reach 74 miles per hour.

It is helpful to determine the path that the hurricane will take. Experts on tracking hurricanes have helped local government units secure properties, evacuate livestock and clear locals many hours before the expected landfall. This has prevented many disastrous consequences. Amateurs have used similar sources of information as these scientists for the thrills of catching the hurricane in action from a safe distance. 


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