Final Assignment : Tornado Tracks in the United States (2000-2004)

on 01|02|2015
Filled under: Final Assignment

For the final assignment I have selected a new data set because my previous data set did not include exact time stamps of the events and had some limitations. Since I have major interests in climate patterns, therefore, I selected a data showing the Tornado tracks in the United States for 5 years (2000-2004).


Description: Repeating the techniques of mouse hover, color coding and zooming in and out, I have created a time based visualization of the tornadoes, in a way that the tornadoes start to plot on the map starting from year 2000 and ending at 2004, and then the visualization repeats again like before. The map used is a Landscape Map, which relates with the tornadoes, since many tornadoes occur in areas with more vegetation or mountains etc. By zooming in on each tornado, the time stamp becomes visible on mouse cursor. Moreover, the map clearly represents the areas, states, cities, towns, roads etc around the tornado giving an idea of likely affected places.


The rotating ellipses with different colors symbolize the tornado (wind which rotates with speed) and they are drawn with using the length and width of the tornado from the dataset to give an idea of “How far the tornado spread?” Since tornadoes come with lighting, so to give an effect of lighting I am giving them different changing colors. I did try to synchronize the speed of rotation with respect to scale of the tornado (since scale of tornado corresponds to wind speed, and there is no separate speed column in my dataset) to make the animation more meaningful, but it didn’t seem to work

Year Slider: I believe that this dataset of about 6000 data-points would have been easier to visualize if I could make the year slider work, with time animation, so that the tornadoes with respect to a single year can be viewed separately. Since it does not seem to work with time animation, and is working with color Threshold only, therefore as an alternative, I have used a color coding of yellow circles for years 2000-2002 and red for 2003-2004

Toggle Scale: I have added a toggle, clicking by which the tornadoes are now displayed in the colors and sizes corresponding to the Fujita scale e.g., Scale 0 for the least damaging tornado, therefore drawn with a circle of smallest radius. An F Scale key is displayed on the bottom left corner as well.

Loss Toggle: I have added a toggle on clicking which the tornadoes are represented by circles with sizes according to money loss and the number of injuries is displayed with a rectangle, as shown in the figures below. I am again using mouse hover here to display the exact amount of money loss in dollars. This feature also allows one to see that every tornado in which injuries occurred does not necessarily ended in money loss and vice versa.



Overall, according to the visualization, a number of tornadoes struck mostly the lower & central part of the United States, with the deadly tornadoes in the years 2000-2001 and some in 2003-2004. The toggle for money loss can effectively reflect on the tornadoes with the greatest money loss, as the greatest one came on 8th May, 2003 with money loss of 370 million dollars and 134 injuries near Newcastle, Oklahoma

The processing files can be found here maha tornado tracks final assignment

The animation video can be viewed below (smaller file size with small resolution due to 8 MB Blog limit for data), large file with high resolution would be submitted with coursework CD

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