Program Reference




hurdec - Tropical advisory decoder


hurdec [parameters...] filename


Command Line Resource Default Description
-h help No Lists basic help information.
-df=filename default wxp.cfg Sets the name of the resource file.
-na=name name the program name Specifies the name used in resource file parsing.
-me=level message out2 Specifies level of messages to be displayed
  • file information - mess
  • table of storm data - out1
  • product level information - out3
  • parsed information from product - out4
-fp=path file_path the current directory Specifies location of database files.
-dp=path data_path the current directory Specifies the location of the input raw data files.
-cp=path con_path the current directory Specifies location of decoded/converted data files
-nc=name_conv name_conv name.cnv or name_conv file This sets which name convention file to use.
-if=in_file in_file trp_dat Specifies the input file name tag.
-cu=[hour] current none This specifies to use current data files.
-ho=hour hour none Specifies the exact hour that a data file is valid for.
-nh=hours[,skip] num_hour Value Generally 0 Specifies the number of hours worth of data to use in the program
-pa=param[,param...] parameter none Specifies addition parameters to program.
filename (positional) filename none Specify input filename


The hurdec program parses tropical advisory products in order to generate a wide range of data files containing information on specific hurricanes. The input to the program is raw tropical data file from the TPC (Tropical Prediction Center) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) which can contain any number of products. To simplify the process, it is highly recommended to save the hurricane products (WTxx) in a separate file type as specified by the trp_dat file name tag.

The program parses three types of TPC products:

The output of the program is the following set of files for each active storm:

The program puts these files in directories sorted by storm, region and year. The above files are put in the directories for each storm. The directory structure looks like:

storm1 storm2... storm1 storm2... storm1 storm2... storm1 storm2...








The regions include:

Finally, the program produces a listing file which is put in each year directory:

This file is only a list of those storms that were active within the period parsed. This list can be used to determine which storms need to be updated on a regular basis. Also, this list can be parsed and new storms added to an overall names file which has all the named storms for a particular year.

Automating the Hurricane Processing

The hurricane program will process each storm that has advisories in the raw tropical files that are in the range specified by num_hour resource. When reprocessing the data, hurdec reads in the track.dat file for every storm that it sees in the raw files to obtain any older advisory information, adding the new advisories onto the end of the file.

There are a couple of scripts that go with the hurdec program. The first is hur_update which runs all the tasks to generate images and HTML pages based on the information generated by hurricane. This script should be run in cron once every 2-4 hours or roughly 10-15 minutes after each advisory in order to get the latest advisories. The script does the following tasks:

  1. it runs hurricane to process all the latest hurricane information.
  2. it uses the storm.list file to generate a list of the currently active storms. It updates a names file with each new storm.
  3. it generates satellite images for each active storm using xsat with the last.dom file. The visible file is sat_vis.gif and the IR file is sat_ir.gif. It also generates a small IR image named sat_ir_s.gif for inclusion into the storm.html file.
  4. it generates full Atlantic visible, IR and water vapor images on the same projection as the yearly tracking chart.
  5. it runs the hur_plt script.
    1. generates a yearly tracking chart based on the names in the names file. When a new storm develops, the hur_update will add its name to this file. You can delete names out of this file when depressions become tropical storms.
    2. generates storm based tracking charts using mapplt and the track.dom file.
    3. it generates small track charts for inclusion into the storm.html file.
  6. it runs hur_html_setup which is a Perl script that generates a large HTML file for each region and year named index.html.
    1. it inserts each of the storm.line files for a general storm summary
    2. it generates a HTML table using all the storm.html files generated by the hurricane program.

When all this is completed, there is an up to date HTML hurricane page with all the tracking charts updated and current satellite images.




Last updated October 2013