Monday, September 11, 2017

The History of the Hurricane

Much has been made about the record breaking nature of Hurricane Irma. The intensity of Irma and the length of time it maintained that intensity meant that it broke all sorts of records. But don't take my word for it. You can compare Hurricane Irma to any other hurricane over the last 100 odd years for yourself using NOAA's interactive map of hurricane tracks.

NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks map allows you to view global hurricane data dating back as far as 1842. Using the map you can search and visualize hurricane data by storm name, location and by date. If you enter the name of a hurricane (for example 2012's Hurricane Sandy) you can view the hurricane's track on the map. Points along each hurricane's track allow you to view details about the wind speed and pressure for each day. A link is also provided to read a PDF of NOAA's storm report for each hurricane.

If you select the 'Hurricanes' option from the map menu then you can view all the historical hurricane tracks on one map. If you select the 'County Strikes' option you can view a choropleth map of U.S. coastal counties. The counties colored dark red have historically had more hurricane strikes than the counties colored with a lighter red.

This map of historical Hurricane and Tropical Cyclone Track Density uses Carto's Torque library to animate the track density of hurricanes and tropical cyclones from 2000-2013. The map uses data from the National Climatic Data Center - NOAA.

The Hurricane and Tropical Cyclone Track Density map doesn't allow you to explore individual hurricane tracks but the heatmap does reveal the areas of the world which are most prone to hurricanes and tropical cyclones. As the animation plays the seasonal nature of hurricanes and tropical cyclones is also revealed by the rise and fall of storm activity on the map.

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