(cyclocane is a CYCLOne and hurriCANE tracker)
If you're missing Stormpulse, here's a map to sample what Cyclocane has to offer.Go to the main page now »
Though Stormpulse had had paid plans for many years, many users were quite upset when Stormpulse discontinued their free access in early 2012 and made it mandatory to have a paid subscription. Adding fuel to the fire of discontent was the fact that subscriptions started at around $300/year (about $25/month) which put the cost of a Storm Pulse subscription far out of reach of most people.
I (Hayley, site creator) had wanted to do a hurricane site for a while, but there was no need so long as awesome free hurricane tracking sites like Stormpulse existed. But when I read on the Stormpulse Blog that they were doing away with the free site altogether, I finally had the motivation I needed to build my own hurricane tracker.
It was quite disheartening to see some of the nasty comments that Stormpulse received after the announcement. If you did a search for stormpulse on twitter around the time of Tropical Storm Debby, there was an especially large amount of hate mail (hate tweets) flooding in.
To be clear, I believe Stormpulse had every right to do what they did. I'm sure that ending the free service was a decision they didn't make lightly, but a decision they nonetheless had to make to ensure the survival and prosperity of their business.
That said, I can also absolutely understand where the users were coming from. Anytime a service goes from free to paid, there is an inevitable backlash. Furthermore, Stormpulse went from being free to being so expensive that few average users would be able to afford it. In a sense, Stormpulse was sending a message that the very people who helped spread the word about Stormpulse in the early days were no longer needed.
Though it's hard to compare exactly, given that Stormpulse Free no longer exists so I'm not necessarily remembering every single feature, I've tried to come up with a list of what Stormpulse used to offer for free versus what Cyclocane now offers for free.
Stormpulse only covers the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic Basins. Cyclocane covers the following:
If you want worldwide tropical storm coverage, Cyclocane has got you covered!
Stormpulse requires a special app to run on mobile devices like the iphone and ipad. Cyclocane will work just fine because the site's mapping technology is mobile friendly.
Stormpulse offers regional, animated overlays from satellite imagery. Currently, Cyclocane does have regional overlays from satellites, however, they are not animated (this is hoped to be added in the future). Stormpulse also has a nice "unified" cloud overlay, whereas Cyclocane only has the regional overlays (also something I'd like to add in the future).
If you're wondering how you can view the satellite imagery, on the Cyclocane map, there's a menu "button" in the top right of the map. When you hover over it, you should see the option to toggle specific satellite views.
Cyclocane currently only offers a limited amount of history data on any storm's path. If you're familiar with the specific spaghetti models, the CARQ and WRNG models provide a somewhat short history (about 24 hours) of a storm's previous locations. If you notice a "tail" on any of the storms, if you click on it, it will almost certainly be a CARQ or WRNG model's path.
On Stormpulse Free, these labels were drawn directly on the map. On Cyclocane, the date and time is part of the tiny popup window you get when you click on a marker on the map.
Stormpulse Free gave you the ability to see the distance between a storm and select locations. Cyclocane does not support this at all at the moment, however, the future plan is to give users the ability to measure the distance between the storm and any point on the map.
In a basic sense, a hurricane track's forecast is just a guess. On the NHC's site, they give you a visual indication of this uncertainty through a forecast cone. Places like JTWC, JMA, and PAGASA also use circles to indicate the uncertainty. This feature will be added to Cyclocane sometime in the future.
I hope you'll find Cyclocane to be a worthy Stormpulse alternative this hurricane season!