Visualizing Katrina’s strongest winds, with R

August 13, 2013
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(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Here's a new picture of the devastation wrought by Katrina in 2005. This image shows the maximum wind speeds of the hurricane, not at any particular point of time, but over the duration of the entire storm:

KatrinaMax

The data come from NOAA's H*Wind project, which makes windspeed data from sensors on the ground and floating in the ocean available to the public. Catastrophe scientist Dr. Rob Hodges analyzed the data using the R language to determine the maximum windspeed in small hexagons tiled across the Gulf region and then visualize the results. While the strongest winds blew offshore, they nonetheless contributed to the storm surge that ultimately swamped New Orleans.

You can find Dr. Hodge's R code behind this analysis at GitHub. The visualization itself was created using the spplot function with panel.polygonsplot panel function. Open data also led to this visualization of Hurricane Sandy's path as it the disaster unfolded.

Catastrophe Science: Maximum Observed Windspeeds Using H*Wind Analyses

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