doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Mapping the Wind

Information comes in all shapes and forms.  This project from is intriguing.  It’s also so appropriate since I went to bed last night, comfortable in the knowledge that spring had finally come and then awoke this morning to snow everywhere.

Where does weather come from?  If you’re a watcher of the news, you know that it’s from the jet stream and how the winds carry the weather with it.

Wind map is mesmerizing!  It pulls wind information from the National Digital Forecast Database and then creates an animated visualization of where the wind is moving over the United States.

I wish I could embed a live animation here but a screen shot is the best that I can do.

Go to the live site and see it in action.

Now, normally a map that just features the mainland United States is something that I gloss over, this is interesting.  We get amused when we watch weather forecast on some American television stations and wonder if a child watching really thinks that the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet just north of Minnesota or south of Texas!

There is, however, a zoom feature that makes this interesting to me.  I located Detroit, which is just north of Essex County, and click a couple of times to zoom in on the neighbourhood.

Again, you have to see the map live to realize that those lines represent winds.  So, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and points between (Essex County) are subject to winds coming from the north.

That definitely puts things into perspective – if there’s cold and snow to the north, here it comes.  The site includes a link to Wunderground so that you can get a more traditional look at the current weather.

Looking around the website, there is also a gallery worth exploring.  Of real interest are imagery of Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac.  Click on the image to see how the wind was moving.  The legend and the visual representation really tells at least part of the story.

For weather junkies or anyone teaching about the weather, this is a resource worth hanging on to.

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2 responses to “Mapping the Wind”

  1. I wish there was one of Canada. Really interesting.


    1. Absolutely. Although it’s relatively simple. Wind from the north – COLD. Wind from the south – WARM. The map would let us see it coming!


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