What's New for the 2013 Season
The 2013 Season Version of HURREVAC is 1.3.1 (as noted in the title bar of the main program window). This release of HURREVAC marks a major upgrade of the software's mapping engine to accommodate display and analysis of large, memory-intensive gridded data sets such as the National Hurricane Center's wind speed probabilities. Improvements in map presentation and speed/performance have also been made with this upgrade.
Specific new features and improvements to the program are as follows:
- Probability of winds from all tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere is now included as a new map data layer. Map display options are for 5-day (cumulative) probabilities of winds occurring that meet tropical storm, 50kt (strong tropical storm), and hurricane thresholds. County-level reports and graphs provide additional detail on the likelihood of winds meeting these three thresholds at successive time intervals from 6 to 120 hours.
- Report tabs are now contextually labeled and can be renamed. Instead of generic "Report1 | Report2 | Report3 | Report4" labeling, the program will automatically assign names such as "Storm Stats | Wind Timing (Orleans, LA) | Wind Probs (Orleans, LA) | Evac Timing All" for easier reference. The option to enter a custom name is accessed by right-clicking on the report tab.
- Export Report to Excel is offered as a new avenue for getting table-based data out of HURREVAC. In most situations, these .xlsx spreadsheet files will be easier to work with than HURREVAC's 'Print to File' plain text format. This spreadsheet option is accessed by right-clicking on the report tab.
- The map legend area at the bottom of HURREVAC's tracking map has been overhauled to better explain storm features and other data layers displayed on the map. Legend items automatically appear and disappear as needed, but can be made to stay off entirely if unchecked within the ANNOTATION > Map Legends portion of the toolbox. Storm information is initially provided as a title line in the map legend area; however it can be restored to the traditional floating box style by right-clicking on the map and selecting the option to 'Move Storm Info Box Here.'
- Many map features have greater visibility due to improvements in color contrast, symbology, and labeling. One notable example of this is the QPF Rainfall Forecast graphic which has been reworked to match the National Weather Service multi-color intensity scale. River Flood Outlook and watch/warning colors have also been revised to match those in NWS graphic products. More intuitive symbology and labeling have been used for various features such as Actual Track Ahead and Advisory Overlays.
- Tide gages for the State of Hawaii are newly included in the program this season. In addition, all other states' river and tide gages have been overhauled to match current offerings from AHPS and NOAA Tides Online.
- The Download Schedule tab of HURREVAC Setup now contains Default Basin Selections so that storms active elsewhere in the world can be ignored during refreshes of forecast
data. The program is initially configured to focus only on Atlantic basin storms,
so users in other regions will want to make changes to these Setup options to mark
their basin(s) of interest.
Additional changes of note in HURREVAC Version 1.3.1:
- The 120-hour error swath for Atlantic and East Pacific is further narrowed as a result of NHC's improving accuracy in forecasting storm center positions.
- HURREVAC now plots curved forecast tracks rather than using linear interpolation in between 0, 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120-hour forecast positions. This change was made to address instances where a storm's track is projected to turn in between widely spaced forecast positions and a straight-line connection in between the two forecast positions would suggest a substantially different landfall location or closest point of approach. NHC's graphics will also begin depicting curved forecast tracks in 2013.
- HURREVAC now mirrors NHC's alternate storm types for dissipating storms. Whereas the program used to only assign designations of either Tropical Storm or Depression based on wind speed, a storm may now be alternately labeled as Post-Tropical Cyclone, Remnants of ..., Subtropical Storm, or Subtropical Depression.
- The Surge Map Browser and PNG-formatted Surge/Evacuation Zone Map state plug-ins have been removed from the program. This decision was made because many of these maps in HURREVAC were outdated and browser itself had limited functionality. A replacement tool is planned for release later this season. PDF versions of current storm surge inundation maps will be available through the National Hurricane Program Resource Center in the near future and can also be obtained by contacting the FEMA Regional Hurricane Program Manager or the USACE Hurricane Evacuation Study Manager.
- The REPORTS heading has been removed from HURREVAC's toolbox because it had become an inefficient way to access a growing number of different report offerings. The [+] tab should instead be used to make all new report selections.
- The Coordinates/Measurement Browser has been removed from the program. Latitude and longitude coordinates instead appear dynamically in the bottom right corner of the program window. A new on-screen measurement tool is planned for release later this season.
- User preference for wind measurements in knots or MPH is now a global setting within Setup > Default Map. This replaces options that used to be within the individual setup screens for Range Mark and Advisory Labels. Preference for size of Range Mark intervals has also been moved to Setup > Default Map.
- The Basics Only Briefing Display is no longer an option under the STORM FEATURES heading of HURREVAC's toolbox. Its functionality has been replaced by the inclusion of two new items under STORM FEATURES: Past Track and Hourly Forecast Positions. Unchecking both of these boxes will replicate the deprecated Briefing Display look.
- The HURDAT database and Historical Tracks Scan tool in HURREVAC has been replaced by integrated access (found under BROWSERS > Historical Hurricane Tracks) to the NOAA Coastal Services Center web tool for querying historical storm tracks. Hurrevac's native display has been deprecated for now because the format of the HURDAT database was recently changed by NHC.
- The SLOSH MOM and MEOW storm surge data in the tide gage browsers has been updated to reflect the most current information.
- The Hourly Error Ellipse Tool has been removed now that the wind probability graphics and reports are available to better communicate forecast uncertainty.
- The Right-Click Menu on the map display window has been revised and contains some new functionality.