By now, most of you living here in the US have been alerted to the weather event known simply as Hurricane Irene. What you may not know, however, is which technology is being used to model the likely urban path for this hurricane. As reported here by MSNBC, Hurricane Irene is being simulated carefully by IBM’s own Deep Thunder. This IBM tool allows experts to predict the hurricane’s likely course as it develops with a greater degree of effectiveness. But since the National Weather Service here in the States has its hands full, Deep Thunder draws out additional data from private weather detection networks as well. One of the largest private networks Deep Thunder is accessing comes from WeatherBug. Deep Thunder gathers data from the hyper-local WeatherBug network, in addition to the new WeatherBug Lightning Network.

Lighting up the hurricane’s path with lightning detection

As surprising as this may seem to many of you, lightning can actually provide a good indication as to a hurricane’s strength. And in the case of Hurricane Irene, WeatherBug’s lightning network is called into service to help determine the hurricane’s intensity. Perhaps what makes this so exciting is that WeatherBug meteorologists can not only see the lightning in the clouds, but on the ground as well. This is incredibly powerful data for first responders, city planners, and those simply looking to be as prepared as possible.

Hyper-local weather data on the social Web

Both WeatherBug and IBM’s Deep Thunder technology prove that hyper-local data coming from WeatherBug managed weather stations offer invaluable information during severe weather. Having the technology to manage the lesser indications that others might miss before the worst of a storm hits is a pretty big deal.

To that end, WeatherBug has been on top of making sure that the social media space is kept up to the latest happenings as the hurricane develops. This is nice for people who might be reading Twitter or Facebook, and would like to know how the storm is developing as the weekend approaches. You’ll find critical updates on Twitter and Facebook as new information is available.

Developers: Offer your users access to WeatherBug weather data

If you’re a software developer and would like the ability to provide your users access to WeatherBug weather data, I suggest you signup to use the WeatherBug API right away. Everything you need is on that page including an explanation of the REST API vs the GEO API.

For everyone else, be sure to check for your smart phone updates, then install a copy of WeatherBug for your mobile device. WeatherBug has mobile options for just about everyone, the two biggest being iOS and Android. Yes, you will find options for Android tablets and the iPad as well.