Cool Toys Pic of the day – Tornado Maps

Based on yesterday’s events locally, I thought folks might appreciate
a pointer to or reminder of a few tornado tools, just in case.
Curiously, both of these are originally from the University of
Michigan! Tornado Paths is from the UM Department of Atmospheric,
Oceanic, and Space Sciences. Wunderground began at UM as the
brainchild of Perry Samson and has just gotten better and better over
the years, even after going independent. Yes, this Perry “Weather is
normally abnormal” Samson.

Perry Samson explains the tornado and the extreme weather in Michigan:

You will notice the map he refers to in the video? That is Tornado Paths.

Tornado Paths:

In my screenshot it shows the tornadoes of the past 48 hours, and
there is nothing in the US except that collection in Michigan. In the
video, Perry is showing the view from “this date in history”, showing
that there are NO records of any previous tornadoes in Michigan on
this date, and that usually in the USA, tornadoes this time of year
are much further south.

The Wunderground Interactive Tornado Map is rather different.

Wunderground (Weather Underground): Interactive Tornado Map:…

Part of what I adore most about Wunderground is the way they
incorporate community. They used citizen science before the phrase
existed, with individuals contributing data from weather stations set
up in their backyards and so forth. They have extended that with
community contributed photos, and integrating social media in other

They are using Google Maps, overlaid with current data and historical
data tables showing layers with the info you choose (Today, All
Storms, Historically Significant). Somehow, I suspect yesterday’s
storm will qualify as all three! The icons show different levels and
types of weather. Click on an icon, and the bubble pops up with more
information. The first tab, Info, shows a brief meteorological
description of the activity and severity. The second tab (Photos)
shows community contributed photos, geotagged and annotated. The third
tab (Radar) show a historic timeloop of the radar before, during, and
after the event. The fourth tab (Video) shows user videos of the
tornado selected from Youtube. All in all, a pretty impressive
collection of information, much of it crowdsourced.


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