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NWS pulls plug on older style radar imagery as of July 5th, 2006.
 
 

As we've been mentioning in our support forums for months now, as of July 5th, 2006 the National Weather Service has stopped providing radar images in the GIF format using the older style radar displays. This follows the NWS changes on their websites, done earlier this year to migrate all publicly available NWS radar imagery to RIDGE GIS type radar imagery.

The NWS made public several announcements ( read one here ) of their older style radar imagery discontinuance, as we have on our support forums. 

This means that versions 2.x of StormPredator are no longer able to receive site specific radar imagery, although the forecast, warning maps, national and regional satellite and radar functions of StormPredator versions 2.x will continue to operate.

If you are a registered owner of any version of StormPredator prior to version 3.00, you will be affected by this NWS data migration to the new format. If you've purchased StormPredator after March 1st, 2006 the upgrade is free. Simply use the contact form in our tech support to send us your name, serial number, and/or invoice number if you have it. We'll check the purchase record and email a new serial number to you.

A low cost upgrade to version 3.x of the program is available for $19.99 for a download and $24.99 for a CD ROM for purchasers of the program prior to March 1st 2006.

Why are we charging for this upgrade?

It is important to note that we have never charged for an upgrade since StormPredator was released on 10/1/03, and there have been many feature upgrades since then that we have offered free to our loyal user base. However, this version 3.0 is essentially an entirely new program. It uses different radar data, has many more displayable products, has improved accuracy, and many new and exciting features not possible in previous versions. SP 3 represents months and thousands of hours worth or work. And this is just not to the program itself. All the skins had to be redone, all the basemaps had to be reworked, plus dozens of other adjustments had to be made.

So while we know that paying for an upgrade is not something everybody wants to do, we felt the sheer volume of work and new features on Version 3 justified the upgrade charge.

What new features are in SP3?

There are many new features that make this program even better, a complete list is here

What's new in version 3 and why would I want it?
Its a whole new program, with dozens of features that could not be done in version 2.x See a list here The biggest features: more radar products, warnings overlay, GIS accuracy in plotting storm positions and ETA, plus 3D terrain mapping.

Is there anything else that we get with Version 3? This feature has been removed.
All version 3.0 and higher owners get our upcoming lightning imagery (see sample1 and sample2 ) free of charge. This will update lighting strike imagery overlaid on the radar map every time a radar image is updated (about every 5 minutes) and will allow for looping of lightning images for the past two hours. Users will be required to register for a free FTP account with our company.

Why can't you offer a free patch to keep the older version I own running?
We would have preferred to do that, since our history had been to provide ongoing improvements to the program. But the change forced by the NWS migration to RIDGE was not just a simple image or URL change, it was an entirely new method of retrieving and assembling and displaying radar images. Everything was different, the coordinate system, the image format, radar site basemaps, the change from a single layer to multiple layers, the change form a single composited image to one that is assembled from parts, the image aspect ratio, the color table schemes, the product types and many more things. Such a broad scope of changes to the image data made it impossible to simply issue a patch to keep the older version operable.

Can I try out Version 3 without upgrading right away?

Absolutely. You can download the trial version which will operate for up to 15 days and try it out.

Will I be able to run it on my PC? I'm running Windows 98.

Unfortunately, we couldn't keep supporting Windows 98 and still do all the things needed for this new enhanced version of the program. Microsoft itself no longer supports Windows 98, and has recently dropped sales of Windows 2000 as well. SP Version 3.x will run on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Media Center Edition.

Will I need a faster PC to run version 3 of StormPredator?

Possibly. It depends on the machine you are running now. RAM is a big factor, as SP3 uses much more RAM than previous version 2.x to accommodate all of the layers of maps and radar data. If you are running less than 256 MB of RAM, chances are SP3 will run slower or not at all. We recommend a minimum of 512 MB of RAM and a Pentium 4 @ 2 GHz or faster PC to run SP3, along with a video card capable of DirectX9.