Hurricane Harvey’s rains, visualized in R by USGS

September 8, 2017

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

On August 26 Hurricane Harvey became the largest hurricane to make landfall in the United States in over 20 years. (That record may yet be broken by Irma, now bearing down on the Florida peninsula.) Harvey's rains brought major flooding to Houston and other coastal areas in the Gulf of Mexico. You can see the rainfall generated by Harvey across Texas and Louisiana in this animation from the US Geological Survey of county-by-county precipitation as the storm makes its way across land.

Interestingly, the heaviest rains appear to fall somewhat away from the eye of the storm, marked in orange on the map. The animation features Harvey's geographic track, along with a choropleth of hourly rainfall totals and a joyplot of river gage flow rates, and was created using the R language. You can find the data and R code on Github, which makes use of the USGS's own vizlab package which facilitates the rapid assembly of web-ready visualizations. 

You can find more information about the animation, including the web-based interactive version, at the link below.

USGS Vizlab: Hurricane Harvey's Water Footprint (via Laura DeCicco)

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