Map Stories – April 27, 2014 Tornado (Mayflower and Vilonia, AR)


This Entergy substation SW of Mayflower received a direct hit from yesterday's tornado.  Click the image to view the preliminary track of the storm

This Entergy substation SW of Mayflower received a direct hit from yesterday’s tornado. Click the image to open an interactive map for this point as well as other areas along the damage path.

It’s April again and that unfortunately means it’s tornado season.  Clicking the image to your right will take you to an interactive story map showing the tornado path for this storm, with links to videos, pictures and other supporting information.  The story shows a step by step view over a 60 minute period during the life of this tornado.

This storm rotation path is based on NWS Weather Radar observations.  Points were added to depict the center of rotation at roughly five minute intervals as the radar updated.  Those points are then connected to depict an approximate rotation path, which is then buffered on each side to depict a 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile and 1 mile wide area.  The tornado width has not yet been determined by NWS Little Rock, however these ranges help to depict likely impact areas, with the most likely impact area being the 1/4 mile wide corridor (red area), followed by the orange area (1/2 mile wide corridor) and finally the 1 mile wide corridor (yellow area).

Additionally, the damage photos and videos were added to the story map AFTER the damage path was created.  This means that as videos and pictures are reported to/by local media, social media, emergency managers, etc., the location of the photos can be compared against the preliminary estimated damage path in order to verify the accuracy of the information.

The preliminary impact corridor is essentially serving to identify the hazard zone.  On top of that map, information on community facilities, demographics, etc can be overlaid, thus creating an realtime operational impact analysis or risk assessment.  That in turn can be used to help refine the response to the hazard so the community can respond and then recover as fast as possible.

When you don’t know the impact zone of any natural disaster, it’s nearly impossible to get your arms around the situation and make sure that the appropriate resources are being called upon to assist in the response.  However when the impact zone is clearly identified, it can facilitate improved collaboration and effectiveness of the response – from individual citizens and neighbors, to community groups, charities and finally local, state and national officials.

If you find this resource helpful, please pass it on to others.  Thanks.

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Interactive ESRI Story Maps view of the April 27, 2014 tornado that impacted Mayflower and Vilonia, AR.

 

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Deadly Tornadoes Cut Through Central Oklahoma (Edmond, Carney, Norman, Bethel Acres, Shawnee)


Earlier this evening, several supercells erupted in Central Oklahoma, producing several strong to violent tornadoes.  These tornadoes impacted communities such as Edmond, Carney, Norman, Bethel Acres and Shawnee.  Much of the attention now including prayers have been focused on those impacted in a mobile home park directly in the path of the tornado where at least one fatality has occurred.

The following link goes to an interactive map showing the approximate paths of the three most significant tornadoes that impacted Central Oklahoma.  The map has a bookmark feature where you can view the Edmond, Carney and Norman to Shawnee tornadoes.  Similar tornado path maps have been very helpful and highly accurate for other significant tornadoes events over the past several years.

Click on the graphic to launch an interactive map.

Click on the graphic to launch an interactive map. The map contains bookmarks for the 3 tornadoes as well as an address lookup feature.

This information is unofficial information, but is based upon NWS Radar scans and uses the National Climate Data Center Weather/Climate Toolkit (NCDC WCT) and ESRI’s ArcGIS Online.  For official storm survey results, please follow the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma (@NWSNorman).  In the coming days, the National Weather Service will be performing storm damage surveys.  When more information is made available, I’ll be linking to those products.

Storytelling with Weather



I love how maps can be used to tell a story.  This fact just became easier with a recent addition to ESRI’s ArcGIS Online tools.  When you create a web map in ArcGIS Online, you can make it into a web application using a number of templates.  One of the most recent additions is the Tabbed Storytelling template.  There are still a few bugs that need to be worked out (like customizing the “Add Title Here” area), but all in all, it’s a great addition to the templates used by ArcGIS Online.  It took me 45 minutes to an hour to put together the map at the following link.

http://www.arcgis.com/apps/Compare/storytelling_tabbed/index.html?appid=86756c43ae9147ca8baf3581764d0c8f

What’s even more amazing about this is that you can create separate maps that can paint different parts of the puzzle, but it allows you as a user or your customers to view the comparison between the maps.  This is great because it allows individuals to make the logical connections between the maps which ends up in having more people ask additional questions.  These questions drive curiosity but they also tend to stick in people’s minds. Continue reading

Is it Possible?? Interactive Wind Forecast Map???


It can’t be possible… I’m always going to have to go to the same website to see a text product and try to put together in my mind where the worst winds, rain or snow is going to be located.  It’s not possible to do this another way…

… Or Is It??? …

In previous post Quick Web Maps – How’d you do that???, I presented how interactive maps can be ArcGIS Online.  In today’s example, we are going to look at viewing the same Web Map except this time using ArcGIS Explorer Online.  (For more information on ArcGIS Explorer Online, follow the ESRI ArcGIS Online Blog.

Today’s map will look at wind speeds from the National Weather Service National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD). Continue reading

Quick Web Maps – How’d you do that???


  • As a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professional for nearly 10 years, I’m used to having people ask, “can you make a map of…”  With the increase in the use of Social Media and the use of web services to share information, it has become much easier to share the data behind the scenes.  Enter in a concept called interoperability.  For many years, the term interoperability was used when two public safety agencies (ie. police and fire) used different radio frequencies and they couldn’t talk to each other.  But as new technology has been developed, interoperability is being used more to describe:

Assembling separate but related pieces of information from different sources and/or disciplines in order to answer a common question

In this morning’s post, October snow and Online Web Maps, I put together a web map showing elevations above 3,500 feet (a snow level discussed my many meteorologists and spotters).  Let’s walk through the separate but related pieces of information and steps to the process to show how they are interoperable with one another to answer the common question “If it snows above 3,500 feet, where will the snow occur?” Continue reading

October Snow and Online Web Maps


October is finally here, and just in time we are having reports of snow in the Mid-Atlantic / Appalachian Mountains.  Earlier today, I saw a tweet  from Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel.

@jimcantore: I remain bullish on HEAVY WET #SNOW EVENT above 3500ft in WV,VA, & NC Sat nt thru Sun.More tree issue than anything

We don’t usually get snow this early, but it has been known to happen.  With that in mind, the main question comes up, “Well what is above 3500 feet???”  Enter GIS and some new functionality from ESRI’s ArcGIS Online.  In recent months, they have added the capability to load GPX tracks, Shapefiles, KML files and reference existing WMS and ESRI REST Services.  This past week, they added functionality to “Publish Maps” from ArcGIS Online.  Below is a quick map that was created in just over 2 hours using ArcGIS for Home and ArcGIS Online. Continue reading