NOAA's National Hurricane Center provides historical data on hurricane tracks from 1851-present (https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/hurdat/hurdat2-1851-2021-041922.txt) .

I need to update a map with these historical storm tracks. I do not know where to start to convert this very large txt file. Going through and manually sorting geo coordinates and re-organizing the file will not be feasible in my situation.

How do I convert this into a usable format?

  • Have you got a link to the description of this format? I'll go look, but it might save us time... Its also possible someone has already converted this, of course...
    – Spacedman
    Sep 23, 2022 at 14:53
  • Some PDFs documenting the format in the folder with the data: nhc.noaa.gov/data/hurdat
    – Spacedman
    Sep 23, 2022 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


There's a repository containing some JS code here:


Running that on the data file produces a GeoJSON output that can be read into QGIS (and I assume ArcGIS etc).

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Each line above is not a single feature, the data is made up of line segment features so the time-component of the track isn't lost. Here's two segments of hurricane NADINE from 2012:

enter image description here

To run the JS you need a JS interpreter like "node" installed. Some editing of the script is needed to point it to your data file (it has one file included in the repo and that name is hard-wired into the code).

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