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

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.