The Hurricanes Are Coming

It’s hurricane season in the northern hemisphere right now, and plenty of news and weather organizations remain dedicated to alerting people if a storm is about to impact their area. There’s no shortage of ways to receive this information, either. We all have our favorite weather app or forecasting site, and there are emergency alerts to cell phones, TV, and radio stations as well. If none of that suits you, though, you can also roll out your own weather alert readerboard.

[Damaged Dolphin] built a weather alert readerboard using a Raspberry Pi and a 64×128 LED matrix. The Raspberry Pi runs Raspbian and uses a HAT from Adafruit, and once connected to the internet pulls down weather information for a specific area using custom python code. From there it can display any emergency weather alerts instantly on the readerboard screen including alerts for hurricanes. It does rely on data from the National Weather Service though, so if that is not available in your area some modifications will need to be made to the code.

While he notes that you probably shouldn’t rely on his non-professional python code exclusively when getting weather information, it would still be a good way of retrieving information about weather events without having to refresh a browser all the time. Once the storms have passed though, be sure you’re prepared for the days following.

Thanks to [b00tfa|l] for the tip!

8 thoughts on “The Hurricanes Are Coming

  1. Last time the hurricane came by the substation and a section of the city was without power for a week. My cable internet provider do not have signals at all. i.e. no power, no cable TV, no internet. So don’t rely on single source of information.

    Thankfully we are a civilized country, so no looting here. Large stores and malls in areas with power pull out their extension cords for people to charge their mobiles.

    Radio on my old walkman is my means of getting information in most outages as it requires little power and radio station have their backup power.

    1. This is more of an early alert system. Prior to the warning, it also scrolled the watch [orange] messages. Usually infrastructure would be lost when the hurricane has arrived. So I wouldn’t need to rely on this to tell me that there’s a hurricane coming since it is already here. It does also provide other valuable information since it looks at the county alerts and zone alerts. The zone alerts are more localized. I have it check what is happening on North Shore since I am not in that area. I can see when there is a high surf watch [yellow], advisory [orange], or warning [red]. It also will display special weather statements [green] like when we had King Tides recently and coastal flooding was expected.

      But that’s not all. It also will run news headlines from RSS news feeds, current weather, and weather forecasts. For fun, every hour Sonic the Hedgehog runs across the board. Because this does rely on the Internet, there is a network checker. It checks if it has an IP, gateway, and DNS. Then does a best guess and scrolls a message what to check if it can’t connect.

      If you’re a amateur radio operator and into 90’s aesthetic, I am working on a similar system to use pagers.

      But yes, having an old stand-by radio is necessary. I have one in my hurricane kit that has a dynamo, solar, and battery.

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