Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interactive Tornado Tracks Map is Live

or jump right in, here: tornado.idvsolutions.com

So lots of questions surrounding the original tornado tracks map sent me back to the data a few times for some answers.  Turns out, the very best way to interrogate the tornado tracks data set was to drop it into our viz software, where I could slice and dice it on the fly (rather than via a chain of queries in a GIS or as a universe of pivot tables in Excel) and see the results right then and there.

We plopped the source data (which is freely available at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/ and goes from 1950 through 2011) into SQL and put lots of criteria for filtering right in the web page so we/you could visualize whatever combination sounds interesting/useful.

Anyways, have at it...but be advised that it is a pretty big dataset so when you ask for every tornado in the past 61 years, it could take a moment.  But it will be worth it!

Here are some things I was curious about, in no particular order.  If you find something interesting, by all means share it and include the #tornadotracks tag in Twitter so we can see it too!

Every recorded tornado since 1950.

The terrible 2011 season.

A close-up of Joplin, showing how frequently tornadoes have passed through over the past 61 years.  The track of 2011 is highlighted at right.

1974 was another particularly bad year for tornadoes.  The rash moving north through the Midwest actually occurred over one day...

The night of April 3, 1974.

Tornadoes in New York?  Not Manhattan, it turns out.

The most expensive (in terms of property damage) tornadoes since 1950.  Here is every tornado that caused more than $50 million in property damage.

Every known F5 (or EF5) since 1950.

Recorded Hawaiian tornadoes since 1950.

You may have seen this before, but it is an example of creating a set of related images in the website and stitching them together into a more narrative infographic.  There images were made using this website.  We did something similar but for time slices and dropped the images into a couple YouTube movies, you can find here.

5 comments:

  1. It occurs to me that at least some of the tornadoes along the east coast may have been spun off from hurricanes. It would be interesting to see a map/video that correlates the two types of storms. Great job, and very interesting maps!

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    Replies
    1. yes it does seem that they did. I agree good job on the maps. Its nice to see the little blue lines instead of whirling devestating wind.

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  2. It occurs to me that at least some of the tornadoes along the east coast may have been spun off from hurricanes. It would be interesting to see a map/video that correlates the two types of storms. Great job, and very interesting maps!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Littleoldlade is correct: the Joplin track is about 2 miles off. That's not significant on a national map, but had the Joplin tornado actually followed the track shown on the inset above the loss of life and property would have been much less.

    ReplyDelete