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Understanding Hurricane Maps

by Michael McLaughlin
Red cone showing the path of a hurricane as it travels through Florida.

The New York Times has published a series of data visualizations to increase the public’s ability to interpret hurricane maps. News outlets and the government often publish cone-shaped graphics that demonstrate a hurricane’s potential path, but people often misinterpret the maps by believing the storm is increasing in size over time or that they are safe if they live just outside the cone. The visualizations show that these maps actually show a range of possible paths from a storm’s center, that the cones grow in size to represent uncertainty, and that the cones contain the path of the storm only 60 to 70 percent of the time. 

Take a look.

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