How high?

You see this sort of visualization on the news whenever there’s a story about flooding or climate change. Given the current weather rainy condition, it’s an appropriate time to take a look at “Flood Map“.

When you visit the first time, don’t be too concerned yet. At a water level of 397 metres, we’d all be in serious trouble.

Zero in on the location that you wish to explore. In my case, I did some research as to my exact location but there are quick picks for various cities. That was the easiest way to go so I chose Windsor.

Now it gets interesting when you start to experiment with the Water Level values.

There are all kinds of provocations that come to mind just messing around locally. Of course, the concept is more than just local. Explore some of the places in the news. Or some of the traditionally very low cities – New Orleans comes immediately to mind.

I’m the first one to admit that I’m out of my academic element here but the exploration is intriguing. We have low areas in the county near Leamington and particularly the Hillman Marsh. As a result of the recent rains, roadways in that area have been flooded and consequently closed. I can now visualize how it happens.

New weather

Well, actually, there’s nothing new about the weather; it’s just how you might want to get it.

Recently released from Environment Canada is Weather-Can, a mobile version of the information on their website.  It’s 7:20 on Sunday morning as I write this.  It looks to be another cool day ahead.


The presentation contains pretty much the same things that any weather application would have.  Temperature, forecast, for now and the immediate future.  What I find intriguing is what’s not there and what else is in there.

What’s not there

Advertising.  By itself, that’s enough reason to consider taking this application for a spin.

Something else that’s not there that might make you retain your old application are non-Canadian locations.  Sometimes, it’s just nice to take a look at the weather in warmer locations to acknowledge that summer is on the way.  There is a link embedded in the left menu that will let you head out onto the web to get that sort of information.

What else is there

As you’ll note from above, it’s got features like Air quality, Air pressure, Visibiliy, and the Dew point.  My other applications don’t include it.

A bit of Canadian trivia.  This, I like.  While I’ve only had the application for a couple of days, this was so refreshing to see.


The science behind the weather – there are links there to explain some of the terms used in weather reporting, climate reporting, and more.  Since they access information on the web, it does take a bit of time to load.

Finally, Weather-CAN offers two widgets that you can place on your home screen for weather at a glance.

Features (from Environment Canada)

Key features:
• Current conditions, 24-hour forecast and 7-day forecasts for over 10,000 locations in Canada
• Never worry about missing alerts! Push notifications for all weather alerts issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada
• Weather information for your location (following you as you travel) as well as for saved locations anywhere in Canada.
• High resolution radar animation on a zoomable map background
• Today and short-range forecast widget for quick, at-a-glance weather information
• Accessible in English and French, and an in-app ability to switch between languages
• Message centre – interesting messages from friendly, human meteorologists

You can download the application here:

A Beautiful, Windy Map

I really enjoy visualizations on the computer.  This one puts me over the top.

Visit the website:  and sit back and watch.

Wind patterns are animated and displayed on the globe.

How do we verify the source?  That’s always important.  There’s no easily apparent source or author until you click on the “earth” title in the bottom left corner of the screen.  Details on the source appear there.  I got excited and changed the URL to but nothing appeared.  A bit of disappointment.

But you can play with this screen.  Click and hold your mouse and take it for a spin.

When you stop, you’ll see the vector map for a second.

And then it gets populated with the wind visualization.

Given the big storm that we’re supposed to get this weekend, this could be an interesting watch.

For the classroom, I’m seeing the following:

  • colours show intensity;
  • density show speed;
  • winds faster over water than land.

I wish I’d paid more attention in Geography and Science classes!

In addition to spinning, you can also zoom in to a location – in my case, the Great Lakes.

Well, that looks good enough for a dog walk!  Gotta go.

Take some time to play and explore.  If you have additional ideas or explorations, share them below.

There is Hope

I don’t know about you but I’m sick of winter. I don’t know why this winter was so particularly annoying but it was. We didn’t have a great deal of snow but the cold and the wind just continually would make things so unpleasant. As a three times plus a day dog walker, I got to feel the miserable weather so often.

This past weekend, things started to look up. We were up to 17 degrees for one day before the bottom fell out again. The long range forecast doesn’t look all that promising.

I ganged up on Wiarton Willie for a bad forecast on Facebook. It made me feel better for a bit but the next walk reaffirmed that spring was still a ways away.

Then, another stormageddon smacks Ontario this week.  Enough already.

That’s why I found this recent article from The Atlantic as a real spirit pickerupper.

It’s a collection of 33 photos from around the world. These are incredible images – the type I wish that I could take. It requires being in the right place at the right time with the right camera and the settings just right.

Enjoy it here.

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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