Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stormy Weather

Typhoon Paka on December 15 at approximately 0...Image via WikipediaI've been following the news of the hurricane traveling up the eastern seaboard.  Hurricane Irene's intensity seems to have peaked long ago and it is starting to deteriorate into what we call around here a "banana bender".  It sounds like a wet storm so I suppose flooding is the worst concern.
Living on Guam for the past 22 years has exposed me to over 15 major typhoons- as they're called in this part of the world.  I've been through three Super Typhoons: Yuri, Paka, and Pongsonga.  A super typhoon has maximum sustained winds of 150mph or greater, comparable to a category 5 hurricane. 
It's been almost 10 years since we had our last typhoon.  I don't know how long our luck will last but we'll be ready for it.  Guam is situated in a convergence region so it has seen many typhoons in its history.  Most of our structures are built out of concrete because anything less gets torn apart.  Guam doesn't have many tall trees for the same reason.  But with the extended lull in activity the island's vegetation has had a long holiday.  I'm sure the next typhoon that comes along will cause a big mess in this regard.
The first lesson I made for Real World Math was the Typhoon Project.  Using Google Earth as a typhoon tracker was an obvious choice when I first saw it.  I saw it as an interactive map of a weather event.  I'm sure I wasn't the first person to use a mapping graphic in that way, but it seemed original to me back in 2007.  Now I see similar graphics for Hurricane Irene in all of the news' sites I've been reading.  The National Weather Service has a kmz generator which, as I understand it, can create radar overlays for Google Earth.  I haven't tried it yet so let me know what you think.
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