17Sep2012 Update: JStrack 3.3.4 is out
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WX-ATLAN: Getting NHC Advisories via E-mail

WX-ATLAN is a mailing list (formerly the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf topic in the WX-TROPL list).


The server for the WX-ATLAN mailing list, from which those of us running Unix systems with procmail installed get our data sent to us automatically, has changed. Some/all of you may have already seen a flood of incoming products from WX-AtLAN.....

You will need to log onto the new server (see below) and follow these instructions:

  1. Go to https://lists.illinois.edu
  2. Click on the "First login? (non-netID users)" link. This will be at the very upper-left on your screen.
  3. Enter your email address and click on "Request first password".

    You will receive an email shortly with a link to complete the subscription process. So you can update your e-mail filters, the e-mail I received was from lists-request@lists.illinois.edu and had the subject: "CITES Mailing Lists / your environment"

  4. Click on the link to generate your initial password (actually, it'll give you a URL to sign on with; from there, create your password.

    Once you create a password you will automatically be logged into the list processor system.

  5. Complete the data asking for your full name if it isn't already there—this will help later if you have problems with your subscription.
  6. Click on "List of Lists". You will see all the lists the University of Illinois offers, At the top of the screen click on the "W" to take you to the lists which begin with the letter "W".
  7. Click on "WX-ATLAN" and then "Subscribe".
  8. Once you are subscribed, which is almost immediately, click on "Subscriber Options" to go to the sub-topics page.
  9. Select only those sub-topics you wish to receive and then click "Update".

    NOTE: For JStrack, you MUST select at least "FORECAST" (this is the product from which JStrack gets the vast majority of its data). I also highly recommend STRMDSC, ADVISORY, and OUTLOOK. If you subscribe to the OUTLOOK product, you will get an email every six hours, whether or not there is anything to report. If you don't want the extras, with nothing to report, and you're running Unix and using procmail to filter the advisories, you can add this rule.

    :0 HB:
    * ^Subject.*OUTLOOK: Nws National Hurricane Center Miami Fl
    * .*Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 5 days.

    If you want a copy to refer back to just in case, change "/dev/null" to a filename (e.g., NHCOutlook) to put in whatever directory you defined as MAILDIR.

  10. When you are done click on "Update" and then "Logout" at the top of the screen to log out of the system.

    In the future, just visit https://listserv.illinois.edu and login to manage your subscriptions.

    If you have any questions please email Chris Novy cnovy@cox.net

The outlook topic is not used by JStrack, but it's good for keeping up with what the NHC is watching, even if it's not named yet.

procmail: Processing NHC Advisories Automatically As They Arrive via E-mail

In order to actually use the WX-ATLAN stuff automatically, you need an e-mail filter program that will recognize the NHC/TPC products and pipe a copy to the standard input of JStrack's filter program (filt/filt.tcl). The freeware program, procmail is ideal for this purpose (as well as filtering of other e-mail).

Here's how you set it up:

  1. Download the source for procmail from www.procmail.org.
  2. Configure and compile procmail following their instructions for the Unix variant that you're running
  3. Assuming you're root, configure procmail to serve as your MDA (Mail Delivery Agent). RTFM in the procmail docs for how to do that with the MTA you're using (e.g., sendmail, postfix, smail, etc.).

    Assuming you're NOT root, you'll need to use procmail from your $HOME/.forward file (again, RTFM in the procmail docs—they tell you how to do this).

  4. Create a $HOME/.procmailrc from their examples, and include the following (note that the directories given are for my machine—edit as needed):
          # the 'w' says keep the lockfile until the filter finishes!
          :0 cw:
          * ^To.*WX-ATLAN
    Btw, remove the leading spaces—those are there for readability here.
  5. Subscribe to WX-ATLAN (see instructions above)

After that, as advisories arrive via e-mail, they're automatically processed by JStrack's filter program (whether the tracking portion of the code is running or not, and, obviously, regardless of whether or not you're logged on).