With the severe weather from last Sunday and the potential for more on Thursday, I wanted to outline a couple of features you may come across on the interactive radar (witn.com). Part 1 focused on the winter season, Part 2 caters more towards severe weather. If fact, click on the interactive radar right now and become familiar with the various features. The storms don’t have to be in our area for the radar to be useful and it will only help on Thursday when the active weather is here!
Storm Icons: As you zoom in closer to a given storm, little icons will begin to pop-up. Through data gathered by the radar, these icons are placed on various storms to indicate the kind of “weather” they are producing. For example, you could come across a wind, hail, heavy rain, or even a tornado indicator. Hovering or mousing over the icon will produce a storm track for the given threat while left clicking the icon will display some existing information about the storm.
Alerts Tab: One way to stay current with a severe weather situation is to use the “Alerts Tab” at the bottom of the interactive radar. Left click the alert button and an overlay of the issued watches/warnings/advisories will be displayed. Additionally, right clicking on a color filled county and selecting “View NWS Bulletins” will then bring up the corresponding text related to that watch/warning/advisory. Basically if your city is filled-in with color, right click and hit the view bulletins tab to find out why. This information will stay current and the colors will disappear when the watch/warning/advisory expires.
Radar Loop: Click the play button at the top right of your screen, under the date and time. This button will take the radar back an hour or so and lapse through to the current time. This is a great feature when trying to figure out where the storms are progressing. Also, a lapse of the radar will help identify if a system is weakening or strengthening.
Zoom tool: At the left side of your screen you will notice a circle with a couple appendages. The one extending out of the bottom of the circle is your zoom tool. Click the + and – signs to zoom in and out (you can also click and drag the gray button or use the scroll tool on your mouse). A unique feature is the street level mapping. This gives you the ability to zoom all the way into your house. If you can't find your house, click the magnifying at the top of the page. Here you can just enter in your address.
Maps: You can switch between map views by clicking on the “Hybrid” button. This can be found to the right of the circle we talked about earlier. You can choose between Hybrid, Road, or Arial. The road map will show and label any roads/highways in the area. This display is very similar to any GPS unit that lets you plot directions. The Arial map will show you a bird’s eye view of the area (trees, lakes, your house). Finally, the Hybrid map will combine the best of both the Arial and Road map into one easy view and comprehend display.
There are a number of other features to explore within the interactive radar. This is a great tool should you ever find yourself wondering about impending severe weather and don't have a television. If you have any questions or are looking for something specified, please leave a comment and we'll try to help you out.