Spaghetti served fresh: Forecast models on the map

This morning we launched a new release of our interactive map and website software.

Features and bugfixes:

  • Added forecast (spaghetti) models to the map. (See below)
  • Added a Full-Screen link from home page to display the map at 100% width and 100% height. You can find it at the top-right (above the tracking map).
  • Added hurricane category to the summary box. Now the title of the box will be “Hurr. (H2) Gustav, +120 hours” rather than just “Hurr. Gustav, +120 hours”. The H2 means a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
  • Pressure text was being chopped off occasionally in the summary box at the bottom of the map.
  • Fixed incorrect times (e.g. “+12 hours”) when clicking on points in the NHC forecast cone. This is now fixed to show the correct time difference between the latest coordinate and the time of the forecast position.
  • Removed meaningless latitude, longitude locations from the Gulf of Mexico. These were just serving as placeholders for Wind Probabilities and add no value to the display.


To activate the models view, select an active tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane and click Forecast Models: ‘On’ in the layers menu at the top-right of the map. After a brief pause (while the data is retrieved from our server), you should be greeted with a view that looks something like this (in this example, for Tropical Storm Hanna):

Click anywhere along a model’s forecast track to see the name of the model, projected position, time, and pressure (if available). Hovering over any of the points along the model’s forecast track will expose a small pop-up box that tells you the geeky acronym of the model–things like XTRP (extrapolated path if the storm continues its current trajectory), GFDL (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab), BAMD (Beta and Advection Model – Deep), etc.

To view the models for Tropical Storm Gustav, click “GUSTAV” and repeat the same step (“On” in the Forecast Models: toggle).

The data for the forecast models comes from the South Florida Water Management District, with the colors for the various paths matching the color scheme they use for their own spaghetti maps.

A special note to all of our API affiliates: we have been receiving emails lately asking how to “get a new map” for Gustav or Hanna. The simple answer is to change “current” in your URL to “tropical-storm-gustav-2008” or “tropical-storm-hanna-2008”. This will ensure that the map automatically focuses on the desired storm. More examples available here.


12 comments so far

  1. […] imagery.  Something we don’t have yet: forecast/spaghetti models.  Our source for the Atlantic spaghetti models (the South Florida Water Management District) does not provide this data, so we’re looking […]

  2. Far Left Texas on

    I’ve been reading here and Googling spaghetti strings and still don’t understand what these things are. Does anybody have a link to some sort of “Spaghetti Strings For Dummies”?


  3. Nicholas on

    I would also like to request the ability to view previous model forecast tracks. This would be a neat way of visualizing verification for the various models.

  4. Baylink on

    One other suggestion (yeah, I’m full of … them :-)

    regarding the last point in this posting, you might want to consider /2008/4, etc. Knowing the name or what the strength is isn’t *really* a fit restriction for API arguments, is it?

    /2008/latest is probably good too, and /2008/current for all current storms instead of the last one in the list.

  5. Shane on

    TheLyles – I could probably help with that. It’s all out there floating around. Are you looking for a specific storm or more general numbers of which models do better? I think I know the different places to find that.

    Brad – Man, how do you find all the time!?! You do amazing work.
    For the consensus forecasting… that’s a big deal to me. I can’t seem to find the link, though. I see instructions, but not a form for each storm. I’d love to see this highlighted a bit more and become something really useful. I totally believe in it.

  6. TheLyles on

    My 11 year old would like to know if anyone has numbers on which model has been right in forecasting the storm?

  7. mankoff on

    Any chance you can keep records of model predictions, so that we can look at historical storms (or historical periods for a current storm) and see both the spaghetti and the reality path the storm chose?

  8. Jimbob the Sailor on

    I saw the lady weather-guesser on the (cough) Weather Channel say the storm surge is going to
    be 30 feet high.

    If you measure from average high water that should put it atop the tallest telephone pole. I think that is wrong!!!

    Do you have a model (or answer)for that???

  9. Shaun on

    Perhaps I’m blind but I don’t see the ‘Forecast Models’ toggle option – has it been removed for some reason?

    Thanks for the great resource though!

  10. Ed Foster Jr. on

    Way to go! The spaghetti model feature is a real added bonus.

  11. Brad in Texas on

    You keep making terrific improvements and the spaghetti is very much appreciated.
    I know people’s displays differ greatly, but on mine the reddish forecast track barely barely shows up. I wish it were a tad more prominent. But of course I also wish Heather Locklear would fixate on me.

  12. Justin on

    Awesome. Way to go guys

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