Feedback: Help Make These Maps Un-Suck

Dennis Mersereau · 07/01/15 09:04PM

Hi! I need your feedback, if you wouldn’t mind. Several readers have chimed in over the past week or two about how I could better design the maps that appear here on The Vane to make them more readable for both desktop and mobile users. I aim to please, so if you have any comments or suggestions about how I can make my maps better, please let me know.

Dennis Mersereau · 05/29/15 07:16PM

As we close in on the end of meteorological spring, here’s a look at the 737 tornado reports sent to the Storm Prediction Center between March 1 and May 29 (today). It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, all things considered. The actual number of tornadoes is lower than 737—multiple reports exist for many tornadoes, and some damage reported as being caused by a tornado turns out to be straight-line wind damage, instead.

Dennis Mersereau · 12/24/14 02:57PM

There's a nasty cold air damming event going on across the Piedmont this afternoon. Here in Podunk, North Carolina, our high temperature was supposed to be 68°F. The current temperature is 48°F. The wedge is cruel and stubborn.

Maps: Here Are All of the Areas That Were Hit by Tornadoes in 2014

Dennis Mersereau · 12/23/14 03:01PM

This was a quiet yet memorable year for tornadoes in the United States. With around 900 tornadoes on the books, here are some interesting maps that show all of the areas hit by tornadoes in 2014, from the twin tornadoes in Nebraska to storms nearly a mile wide in Mississippi.

Hot in December? You're Probably Not Reading These Maps Correctly

Dennis Mersereau · 12/02/14 04:59PM

One of the biggest (and most welcome) weather stories today is that a warm-up is slated to descend over the United States during the next two weeks. The maps we use to show the possibility of above-average temperatures are being misread by much of the public, and that's a problem.

Here's Your World Today, Explained (November 18, 2014)

Dennis Mersereau · 11/18/14 04:16PM

Your world is a beautiful place, most of its inhabitants aside. The wonder of looking at our pale blue dot from hundreds of miles in space will never get old. Here's a look at your world today, in all of its awesome goodness.

Maps: When Does Your City Usually See Its First Snowfall?

Dennis Mersereau · 11/17/14 04:14PM

People keep calling these early-season snows "unprecedented" when they're really not. What is the earliest it's ever snowed, and when does it usually start snowing? Let's take a look at some data from major cities around the country to settle the question.

Here's Your World Today, Explained

Dennis Mersereau · 11/11/14 02:56PM

Here's a true color look at our home planet this afternoon; the western half of it, anyway. It's beautiful, and there are lots of really cool features you can see from space today. Let's take a closer look at our pale blue dot.

Maps: Half of Iowa Needs a T-Shirt While Half Needs a Parka

Dennis Mersereau · 11/10/14 05:10PM

The leading edge of the Arctic air filtering into the U.S. is abrupt and ruthless—temperatures in Iowa at 4:00 PM ranged from 72°F in the southeastern corner of the state and 27°F with a wind chill of 11°F in the northwestern corner of the state. Ahh. Or brrr, depending.

This Powerful Mapping Tool Lets You Plot the Weather Along a Road Trip

Dennis Mersereau · 11/06/14 03:06PM

The National Weather Service has developed a powerful tool that allows users to create custom weather maps that show everything from temperatures to snow totals. The tool's most excellent feature, by far, is the ability to track future weather along the path of one's road trip.

Those Animated "Real-Time" Wind Maps Are Fooling You

Dennis Mersereau · 09/15/14 01:51PM

If you have a social media account, chances are you've seen someone share one of those beautiful streamline maps that people commonly say show "real-time" winds flowing around the world. There's just one li'l problem: nobody is using them correctly.

Here's How to Make a Map for Those of Us Who Can't Draw a Line

Dennis Mersereau · 08/22/14 02:28PM

I suck at drawing, and odds are you do, too. One of the great things about computers is that they do the work for us. We have spell check to save us from those embarrassing tyops and calculators for hassle-free math. For those of us who love maps but can't draw, there are programs that create great maps with little skill needed.

Here Are Maps of All 38,728 Tornado Warnings Issued Since 2002

Dennis Mersereau · 07/23/14 01:30PM

Over the past twelve years, we've seen tens of thousands of tornado warnings across the United States. Almost every major city east of the Rocky Mountains has seen a tornado warning at some point since 2002, and the resulting maps are pretty cool looking.

Dennis Mersereau · 07/08/14 10:36PM

The Storm Prediction Center's moderate risk for severe weather fell flat today, with most of the severe weather occurring all around the area at highest risk but not much inside of it. Busts happen. They're good for residents but bad for forecaster verification. When it comes to the "crying wolf effect," though, we're actually lucky this kind of bust isn't commonplace.