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.

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Preliminary Path Estimate for the 4/13/2012 Norman, OK Tornado


Preliminary likely tornado path created at 600pm CT

This post covers the Friday 4/13/2012 tornado that impacted Norman, OK in the evening hours.  The tornado outbreak continues into Saturday.  For the newest blog post covering the Saturday, 4/14/2012 Tornado Outbreak with interactive map, Click Here. (THIS INCLUDES THE PATH OF THE WEDGE TORNADO SW OF SALINA, KS)

4/13 – 1028pm CT – Added link to NWS Norman preliminary UNOFFICIAL track map from @NWSNorman

4/13 – 928pm CT – Updated interactive map to include links to media video and photo of damage with locations.  The locations verify quite well with the initial map points

It’s incredible to think of how today progressed…. First I shared a presentation on this topic to several of my peers around the country to share a methodology with the hopes of helping people tomorrow and in other tornado outbreaks, and the next thing I know, I’m talking to my brother in Oklahoma who is trying to get home to Norman after school, with a tornado warning for his home town.  It’s amazing to see the impact of how technology and information can be brought together to help protect lives.  I ended up helping guide him home to keep out of the storm while the tornado passed less than 1/2 mile from his house, telling him to stay put and keeping him out of harm, but still guiding him home.  Thankfully everyone in the family is safe, but it’s incredible to know that it makes a difference so close to home.

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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

Maps in the Classroom – Free Resources & Training


Are you looking for ways to share information on music, history, science, the arts, or many other disciplines in new ways?  Are you looking for a way to “connect the dots” to present material to your students?  Are you in a profession where information silos are prevalent and you’re looking for opportunities to explore and integrate previously disconnected resources?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to take a look at this free webinar from ESRI called “Teaching with GIS: Introduction to Using GIS in the Classroom“.  You may be thinking, “I’m not a geographer” or even “maps don’t really relate to my subject area”.  Here are some ideas for maps and how they can be used: 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