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Hurricane surfing

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As Hurricane Isabel rolls in from the east, those of us inland are keeping tabs on the storm through a growing battery of Web sophistication. Tracking models, animations, and plenty of other bells and whistles are now at the fingertips of amateur meteorologists.

To get a close-up of what's happening as Isabel nears the Outer Banks, one of the best places to surf is the National Weather Service's buoy site, which offers a nearly real-time glimpse of conditions around several buoy locations off the coast.

There's an interactive map at the weather service's Data Buoy Center at www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southeast.shtml

Try the Frying Pan Shoals buoy (FPSN7) for an idea of what Isabel's bringing in terms of wind and wave--assuming we're not looking out the window to find out.

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