If you're in Hurricane Harvey's path along the Gulf Coast in Texas, keeping tabs on this imminent atmospheric leviathan is essential. The storm — estimated to be the strongest to smack into the United States in more than a decade — was a category 3 whopper late Friday afternoon before it was expected to make landfall late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
Here's a rundown of the best hurricane tracking apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
EZ Apps' veteran hurricane tracker has been frequently updated over the years, and offers over 65 detailed storm maps and images, real-time National Hurricane Center info, threat and impact levels, model predictions, audio/video forecast updates, and real-time feeds and push alerts. It also has a dead simple interface, with five top-level categories: hurricanes, tropical storms, depressions, potential cyclones and so-called invests (areas of disturbed weather), including a "latest discussion & analysis" view that gives you fast headlines perched atop a 48-hour outlook radar map. The mammoth array of maps and quick links to critical advisories alongside customizable alerts makes this any easy top-tier recommendation.
Read more: How to Prepare for Hurricane Harvey
Developer Kitty Code's longstanding hurricane-watcher (formerly Hurricane HD) offers a beautifully arranged repository of global meteorological information, including a battery of tracking and satellite maps, five-day weather outlooks, historical storm data, NOAA weather radio and more. Pull up Hurricane Harvey, and you'll find a YouTube live video stream, information about wind speed, storm speed and direction, as well as its track its trajectory from inception. It will even use your phone's locational services to determine how far away you are from the storm.
Developer STKI Concept's Hurricane Hound uses Google Maps to track storm forecasts and the locations of Atlantic and East Pacific hurricanes, as well as tropical storms. It points out areas the National Weather Service is keeping tabs on, too, and offers standard NWS “tropical outlooks and discussions, public advisories, forecasts, and satellite imagery.” Fair warning, the free version of Hurricane Hound tends to lag the ad-free pay version in updates by a year.
Hurricane by American Red Cross
Hurricane by American Red Cross isn't your go-to app for buffet-style, map-o-rama hurricane tracking, but that's also not why it exists. You'll want this instead as a complementary tool that lets you "monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe." You can check local weather alerts, read Red Cross tips on how to prepare for a hurricane (then test your knowledge), and interface with the humanitarian organization's other services, from nearby blood donation centers to shelters. Tap the "thumbs up" icon at upper-left and the app will let any predesignated recipients know you're safe, as well as where geo-precisely you are.