You may recall on Saturday that I mentioned some big things that were coming. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait long. I’m proud to announce that an idea I’ve been thinking about has finally been realized this weekend. Without further ado, the Funnel Fiasco mobile weather site. The idea behind this site is simple: the National Weather Service makes a lot of data available but it isn’t always in a mobile-friendly format. Even the NWS mobile page has some bad navigation (and more importantly, doesn’t include velocity data, which is very important to chasers). All I’ve done is to re-package the data in a way that I want to see it when I’m away from the computer.
All of the data is mirrored and hosted locally to minimize my impact on the NWS servers (and thus save taxpayer money!). The local storm reports (LSRs) are grabbed by a cron job every 10 minutes. I use the comma-separated value (CSV) files hosted on the Storm Prediction Center’s storm report website. The CSVs are parsed by a Perl script I wrote and then a static HTML page is generated. For the radar data, the images are mirrored on demand and a Perl script generates the output on the fly. The radar data piece is a fairly heavy-duty script (by my standards, at least) and so I still consider it in beta. For now, it actually runs on my server at home and not on the main funnelfiasco.com server. I plan to move it onto funnelfiasco.com (and hope it doesn’t kill my bandwidth limits) after further testing.
I have to say, I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve done, almost all in the space of a weekend. It’s nice to be able to add some useful content to my site. I hope that it will get some good use and continue to grow. As I come across data that can be easily manipulated, I’ll add it to the site. Of course, if you wonderful readers have data you’d like to see, please let me know.