Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy early Sunday morning.NASA

Online tools to use to track Hurricane Sandy's power

Hurricane Sandy is proving to be a storm not to be trifled with. If you need to stay abreast of the latest developments, there are plenty of useful resources you can find online.

Whether you're within Sandy's wide path or miles away, here are some tips to use if you can get online, and sometimes even if you can't, to stay informed.

Live audio and video

The Weather Channel's live broadcast Monday morning.Photo credit: The Weather Channel
An image from The Weather Channel's live broadcast Monday morning.

If you subscribe or even just have satellite radio hardware, satellite radio provider Sirius XM has replaced its preview channels with live audio of The Weather Channel’s coverage of Sandy.

You can find this on channel 1 on XM radios, and channel 184 on Sirius. As this channel is available whether you’re subscribed or not, any XM or Sirius radio can listen in, even if your subscription isn't active.

The Weather Channel is streaming live video of its on-air broadcast for the duration of the storm. The video stream is compatible with mobile devices including iOS and Android. This could be useful for folks who have already lost power, but still get connectivity bars on their phones.

Various local television outlets are simulcasting their coverage online: Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate WPVI offers live video, and NBC affiliate WCAU is doing the same. In New York, expected to be one of the hardest hit areas by Sandy’s storm surge, ABC affiliate WABC also is broadcasting live online.

Storm danger

The information upticks are in response to the power of Hurricane Sandy, the so-called megastorm that is more than 900 miles wide. Sandy's path will take it across some of the most populous areas of the country and put more than 50 million people at risk.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urges residents to evacuate low-lying areas of the five boroughs, the Weather Channel reports the hurricane was still intensifying as of early Monday morning, and the storm is even impacting the Great Lakes to the west including the Chicago area.

Tech companies including Facebook and Google postponed product events scheduled for New York City. AT&TSprintT-Mobile, and Verizon all say they have emergency measures in place to keep their networks running and restore service as soon as possible during any outages.

On the Web

Anyone looking for raw hurricane data can turn to the National Hurricane Center for information. Links to current information on Sandy appear right on the front page, including current intensity, forecast tracks, and radar and satellite data. The Weather Underground features some key storm data as well.

Google's Crisis Map displaying Hurricane Sandy data as of Monday morningGoogle
Google's Crisis Map displaying Hurricane Sandy data on Monday morning

Beyond its live online broadcast, The Weather Channel has loads of coverage worth reading, including a Top 5 things you need to know post and a breakdown of expected impacts on major cities on the East Coast.

The site's front page also includes current Hurricane Sandy data such as the storm's category rating, location, direction, wind speeds, and pressure.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times dropped their pay walls for the duration of Hurricane Sandy so you can views their coverage. Other New York newspaper sites worth checking out online include the New York Post and the New York Daily News.

Google activated its crisis map Web application for Sandy, which overlays forecast information and radar data over information such as weather observations, and locations of storm shelters. If Google's Web app includes too much data to take in all at once, you can turn different layers of data on and off on the right-hand side of the page.

If you want to really appreciate Sandy’s mammoth size, head over to NASA’s Earth Observatory page. Scroll down and you’ll find links to about a dozen high-resolution images of Sandy; more hurricane images may be added over the coming days.

Apps

If you want to get an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet app for dedicated Sandy information there are numerous options, but your best bets are probably apps from the Weather Channel (AndroidiOS), the Weather Underground (AndroidiOS), FEMA—the Federal Emergency management Agency—(AndroidiOS), and Hurricane by the American Red Cross (Android, iOS).

American Red Cross hurricane app.
The Red Cross hurricane app

Don't forget that many smartphones and MP3 players come equipped with an FM radio receiver, which could come in handy for getting vital reports, especially immediately after the storm passes. If you haven't done so yet, test your device's FM radio app to see if it's working properly.

Most FM radio apps require headphones to act as an antenna, so make sure you keep a pair in your pocket after you've tested that the app works.

Social media proves its worth

The Weather Channel has a dedicated hurricane twitter feed, @twc_hurricane, that includes news and tweets from users in the storm's path such as this Instagram shot from Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Reuters news wire, @reuters, has a lot of Sandy-themed information, and The Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams, @StephanieAbrams, publishs key storm data.

Federal Emergency Management Agency on Twitter
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Twitter

For tips and shelter information, you should also bookmark accounts such as @fema from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross, @RedCross. New Yorkers should also keep tabs on @311NYC, the city's Twitter equivalent of the 311 government services phone number.

Finally, if you want raw citizen journalism check out the #sandy hashtag, as well as local hashtags like #nyc, #philly, or any other city in the storm's path.

Facebook, Google+, and Instagram

Facebook's Global Disaster Relief page is a good resource for Hurricane Sandy information, as is the Government on Facebook page. Google+ users can bookmark the Hurricane Sandy 2012 stream (warning, this stream is moving fast) for tips and information being posted from across the search giant's social network.

On Instagram's mobile apps, you can also use the #sandy hashtag to find photos of the storm. You cannot search Instagram directly from the web, but services such as Statigram allow you to search through the thousands of pictures that have been posted to the photo-sharing service.

For more go-to tech tips in disaster situations check out:

Have suggestions or favorite apps and sites to keep up to date on Sandy? Please share them with everyone in the comments.

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