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Watch NASA Plot Hurricanes Through the Season
06.16.06
 
2005 Hurricanes wind speed graphed on a plot

NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS), housed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. has created a new webpage to help amateur hurricane-trackers see when each storm happened during the season and how strong it was.

Anyone interested in the history of storms and how strong they were, can now see them automatically plotted on a graph called the Atlantic Hurricane Storm Summary at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003300/a003361/.

The graph plots the dates the storm existed versus the highest sustained wind speed for each tropical storm or hurricane during the Atlantic Hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30.

On the bottom of the graph are dates. On the left side of the graph are the highest wind speeds, and the storm strength categories 1-5, of which hurricanes are gauged. The categories represent the Saffir-Simpson scale, which ranks hurricanes for strength. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose National Hurricane Center forecasts hurricanes, wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. The scale is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall.

Tropical Storm Alberto, which formed in early June 2006, is the first plot of the 2006 season. Alberto's winds peaked at 70 mph, so the graph line is drawn up to that height. The 2006 plot automatically updates every 2 hours during hurricane season.

The graphs are available in different sizes and resolutions, based on what fits best on your computer screen, or what you prefer using. The sizes are: 1280 x 720 pixels, 320 x 180 pixels, 160 x 80 pixels, and 80 x 49 pixels.

This page also features all of the storms graphed from 2005 for a comparison. By looking at the 2005 storm graph, its easy to see that Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma all reached Category 5 strength last year.

This is a great tool for scientists, students and anyone interested in hurricanes. It was designed to be a quick reference to help remember the names, times, and strengths of each storm," said Greg Shirah, visualizer for the SVS. "This year we've had several scientists request a similar plot, so I created this page that updates whenever there is a storm."

To access the Atlantic Hurricane Storm Summary page, please visit: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003300/a003361/.

 
 
Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center