Example Google Maps Display of Hurricane Irene (2011) Model Tracks on Approach to the Northeast United States
Many of the model tracks presented here are static images with fixed display windows and no user interactivity. While there is a lot of utility in such images, particularly in terms of viewing or printing images quickly, the Internet increasingly provides interactive experiences with greater flexibility and utility for many users. For the past three hurricane seasons, in addition to the static images, we have provided hurricane model guidance in a form that is readily ingested by both Google Maps and Earth for interactive display. Such products are available for all avaiable track guidance for each of the three basins depicted on this site.
To access these maps for the most popular guidance products, simply choose the "Google Maps Display" from the drop-down menu for each active storm on the front page. You'll be taken to Google Maps, where the guidance will load automatically. Both track and position information for each model are available; the position information also includes basic forecast intensity information. You can choose to display only tracks, or only positions, or a mix thereof; the latter option is particularly helpful when trying to compare the forecast position of a storm at a single forecast time from each model. If you wish to change to the most recent "late" or "ensemble" model guidance, simply append "_late" or "_ens" to the end of the storm identifier (e.g., al092011) in the Google Maps address bar and reload. Future additions may include revised position icons, a single file for all guidance and/or active storms, and incorporation of other available data sources (such as satellite imagery and reconaissance data).
Both current and archived guidance products are available. In this way, you can easily compare how the guidance has evolved over time in a fully user-controlled display environment. The archived files are available from the "Archived Maps" page linked at the top of this page. Simply click to that page, then choose your desired storm. Data are available from late July 2010-onward. The files you are looking for all end in ".kml". Simply right click on the desired file, choose "Copy link address..." (or similar), then go to Google Maps and paste the address into the Maps address bar. If you do this in Google Earth (described below), you can view all of the guidance in a single window.
In addition to the standard Google Maps displays, you can load these files into Google Earth. This is particularly useful if you wish to overlay one or more other products alongside the model guidance. To do so, simply copy the full address of the chosen kml file, open Google Earth, go to File->Open, and paste the address into the address bar. A Google Earth view of the guidance is also available from Google Maps if you have the Google Earth plug-in installed within your browser.
Disclaimer: The availability and timeliness of these data are not guaranteed. The data displayed here should NOT be used for making life and death decisions. If anything on these plots causes confusion, disregard all of the information on these pages. Always take the word of the official sources when preparing for any potential storm impact.
Site and Contents © 2007-2013, Clark Evans (with help from Shane Young).