Frequently Asked Questions

ACCOUNTS and ACCESS

Who is eligible to have HURREVAC? How do I get it?

HURREVAC is funded by the federal government and is available free-of-charge to eligible users. According to federal guidelines, program access is restricted to the government emergency management community in the United States.

Visit the registration page on hurrevac.com and fill out the form to apply for an account. Once registered, you will receive an email with instructions on how to log in for the first time.

Can I have program access if I’m not an emergency manager?

No, HURREVAC access is not provided to private entities or individuals who are not affiliated with government emergency management.

I think I may be registered under an old email address and I’m concerned that future HURREVAC announcements will not reach me. What should I do?

At this time users do not have the ability to manage the email address associated with their account. One option is to reregister with your current address as if you’re a new user. However, if the registration page alerts you that the email address you want to use is already associated with a user account, contact us at support@hurrevac.com for assistance. Or, if you have data that you would like to keep in your existing user profile, you can also contact support to update your email address.

May I share my HURREVAC access with other emergency management colleagues?

We recommend that each individual has their own account in HURREVAC. That way, any program preferences that you store cannot be overwritten by other users.

I forgot my HURREVAC login, or I would like to change my password. How do I do that?

Visit hurrevac.com and click on the blue “Launch HURREVAC Application” button to get to the login screen. Then, click “Forgot Password.” From there, you can enter your username or email address to be sent instructions on how to create a new password. If this password reset email does not appear in your inbox within several minutes, first check the junk or spam folder. If the email is still missing, or if your email address has changed since you first registered for the program, or you have any other difficulties with account access, contact support@hurrevac.com for assistance.

I’m outside of the United States, am I eligible for a HURREVAC account?

No. The National Hurricane Program’s products and services, including HURREVAC, are intended for government emergency managers in the United States.

The National Hurricane Center provides hurricane forecasts and hazard information elsewhere in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins. The NHC’s International Storm Surge Scenario Viewer contains planning resources for Hispaniola and the Yucatan Peninsula.

 

DEVICE, DISPLAY and CONNECTION

Are there any special hardware or software requirements for computers to run HURREVAC?

HURREVAC is a web browser-based program and can be used on most computers or tablets that have a modern web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. HURREVAC does not work in Internet Explorer 11. HURREVAC has not yet been optimized for small screens such as smartphones, however you may still find some utility on those devices.

How do I get the most recent version of HURREVAC?

HURREVAC is web-based, so you automatically get the latest version whenever you log in. There is no need to download any updates or releases.

Can I see HURREVAC on my smartphone? is there an iOS version?

HURREVAC can be accessed from web browsers on mobile devices, however the interface is not optimized for smaller screen sizes. HURREVAC is not available as a standalone app, so there are no versions specific to iOS or Android.

Can I use HURREVAC on a tablet? Is it optimized for touch?

Yes, you can use tablets or other touch devices to navigate HURREVAC, but we recommend using a mouse for the best experience.

How do I get HURREVAC during power or internet outages?

It is critical that agencies have a contingency plan in place for accessing the most up-to-date information. In the event of power or internet outages, it is recommended that partners contact support agencies for assistance in getting the latest information. You may also use HURREVAC on your smartphone or tablet if there is mobile data coverage.

During a real storm, can the HURREVAC server handle thousands of users simultaneously?

HURREVAC is cloud-hosted and configured to scale up server resources as needed. Several thousand users were simultaneously logged in and using the system during the large storm events of the 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 Atlantic hurricane seasons, and there were no limitations to program performance or additional users joining.

When I log in, the interface looks faded-out and I can’t interact with anything. What’s the matter?

You didn’t make any mistakes, but you’ll need our help to keep using the program. Reach out to support@hurrevac.com for assistance, we can make a quick adjustment to your user profile to restore functionality.

 

TRAINING and HELP

I’m new to HURREVAC. Where do I learn the basics of the program?

A good place to start is the Learning Resources page. There, you’ll find training videos from our annual five-day webinar series, a workspace guide, and a quick reference guide in PDF format. Once logged into HURREVAC, you can reference the User Guide to find the most comprehensive documentation about the data and features in the program. Just click the question mark icon in the lower right section of the workspace to open the searchable User Guide. You can also click “Training” in the toolbox (lower left corner), which contains self-guided training modules.

Who can help with HURREVAC and its products when we are facing a tropical threat?

For questions about HURREVAC accounts and functionality, users have year-round access to technical support from Sea Island Software, the contractor who develops, operates and maintains the system. The toll-free support line is (888) 840-4089. Routine requests emailed to support@hurrevac.com are answered within one business day. During active storms with watches and/or warnings in effect for the United States, time-critical user needs are addressed immediately even outside of business hours.

For questions regarding hurricane forecast products, the FEMA Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT) is available to help give additional information on confidence, contingencies and forecast and evacuation timing. The HLT is also available to provide briefings to emergency managers after forecast products are released. Contact your FEMA regional program manager to learn more.

Will there be a refresher course this year to review the new HURREVAC features?

The 2023 training webinar series was held during the week of June 12. Visit the Learning Resources page at hurrevac.com to review those webinar recordings and handouts. Check back in the spring for planned webinar dates in 2024.

To review what’s new in HURREVAC since the last webinar, check the Announcements page.

To request specialized training for your agency, contact your state’s hurricane planner or the NHP representative for your FEMA region or USACE district.

 

DATA and FEATURES

How do I get current storm information into HURREVAC?

The program has built-in polling to monitor the servers at hurrevac.com and import new storm data when available. HURREVAC also intelligently retrieves older data like archived storm tracks and previous text advisories whenever those products are selected for display.

Do I have to refresh HURREVAC to see the latest advisory? How long does it take to update

When the NHC or CPHC comes out with new advisories, HURREVAC usually updates within a minute or two of the advisory products becoming available on NOAA’s sites and servers. Certain storm surge-related map layers require additional time for the NHC to process and disseminate. For example, Potential Storm Surge Flooding is typically available 45 minutes to one hour after the advisory time.

If you are having latency issues or an unreliable internet connection, we recommend reloading the site to make sure you see the latest data. When the HURREVAC site reloads, you will have to select the storm and map layers again.

Why did I get a notification to check my internet connection?

When you get a “check internet connection” notification in the upper right part of the HURREVAC tracking map, it indicates there was a prolonged break in your browser’s constant connection to the HURREVAC server. This notification could also appear when there is sustained loss of connection beyond HURREVAC’s control due to your device going offline.

Sometimes a connection notification is prompted by your computer going into sleep mode, or a local firewall timing out the connection. For some users, this may happen more often due to their VPN connection. A temporary loss of connection can impede the automatic updates of new storms or new advisories of active storms, but the program should otherwise continue to operate when you begin interacting with it again.

When disconnects happen, you can reload the website to get back up to date. Or, you can uncheck and recheck the storm (in the Storms tab) if you expect that an updated advisory is available and should be displayed. This causes HURREVAC to reconnect to the server to retrieve that data specifically. When the internet connection is constant, HURREVAC’s map automatically refreshes when new advisories are available.

Can the products in HURREVAC be changed to reflect a time zone other than where my computer is?

Yes, time display settings can be changed. To do so, click “User Preferences” (gears icon) in the utilities bar (along the right side of the workspace) to open the User Preferences window. Then, click the “Map Settings” tab. There is a list next to “Time Zone.”

The default choice is “Match Device Setting,” but a user can select a custom number of hours ahead or behind of UTC (Zulu). Remember to adjust this setting when your location of interest observes daylight saving time.

What regions does HURREVAC have data for?

HURREVAC plots all active storms worldwide using forecasts from the NHC (Atlantic and Eastern Pacific), CPHC (Central Pacific), and Joint Typhoon Warning Center (West Pacific, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, South Pacific, and South Indian Ocean). Note: HURREVAC user accounts are only available for government emergency managers in the United States.

Some map layers created by the NHC and CPHC are only issued for the United States and U.S. territories. The HURREVAC User Guide contains more details about product availability.

Which computer model is used for the forecast track?

The tracks shown in HURREVAC are always an official forecast issued by the National Hurricane Center, Central Pacific Hurricane Center, or Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

The experts at the forecast agencies consider many factors – including the performance of the various global and regional computer models – before they produce forecasts. The official NHC, CPHC or JTWC products are therefore recommended for emergency management decisions.

On average, NHC track errors are lower than any individual model. NHC forecast tracks are also more consistent compared to model tracks, which can veer back and forth throughout the day.
Users interested in learning about the sources of track uncertainty are encouraged to read the Forecast Discussion, which can be found in the “Text Advisories” section of the HURREVAC toolbox.

Can I use HURREVAC to see the ‘spaghetti models’ that show all the places a hurricane might track? Will forecast models be added to HURREVAC?

HURREVAC is not designed for viewing raw computer model output. There are no plans to add forecast model data to HURREVAC. The official NHC, CPHC or JTWC products are recommended for emergency management decisions.

Does HURREVAC show where evacuations have been ordered?

No, the program does not have any information on the status of evacuation orders or other preparedness measures. Please refer to official information from local public safety agencies.

Is there a way to overlay map services or local data?

Custom “points of interest” can be manually added to your HURREVAC workspace, or imported from a properly formatted Excel spreadsheet or GeoJSON file. Refer to the User Guide for more details.

You cannot upload or import line, polygon or raster GIS data into HURREVAC. To perform more sophisticated analysis, the best method is to download storm advisory or storm surge information from HURREVAC and load those layers into GIS software.

Which HURREVAC layers can I export to use in GIS programs?

When a storm is selected, the following products can be downloaded in GeoJSON format by clicking “GIS Export” in the utilities bar on the right side of the workspace. (To use as a shapefile or other format, you’ll need to use a third-party file converter like mapshaper.org). Note that the compressed (zip) file only downloads layers for the advisory that is actively showing on the map.

  • Advisory points (past and current points)
  • Past track (line)
  • Forecast track (line and points)
  • Potential track area /error cone (polygon)
  • Wind watches and warnings (lines)
  • Location-based wind probabilities (points)
  • Forecast wind fields / wind ring (polygons)
  • Past wind swath (polygon)

There are two ways to download storm surge hazard maps in GeoTIFF format. Click “Export Data” when layers are selected in the “Storm Surge (SLOSH) Explorer” panel, or look in the direct download folders under the “Resources” tab. Note that these may be very large files.

  • MOMs (US National, Hawaiian Islands, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands)
  • MEOWs (by SLOSH basin)
  • SLOSH Hindcasts (for select Atlantic storms since 2020)

Is there an API?

HURREVAC is not built to support external applications’ use of its API at this time.

What’s the difference between an exercise storm and a simulated storm in HURREVAC?

The “Exercise Storms” folder in HURREVAC contains storms that are created for use in live exercises and training classes. These storms are managed by HURREVAC’s administrators, so it is not possible to add, edit or remove them from your workspace.

HURREVAC’s Storm Simulator lets users create and share their own custom hurricane scenarios to support planning, training, and exercises. (Refer to the User Guide for step-by-step instructions.) These are saved to the “Simulated Storms” folder. This section of the Storms tab is empty until you have made a simulated storm or imported one from another user.

Both folders are listed in the “Storms” tab, beneath active storms and archived storms dating back to 2005.