Blizzard Snowfall

If you do not live on the East Coast, you may be unaware that there was some minor snowfall in New England over this past weekend. The Weather Channel went ahead and named the storm Nemo. (I’m going to lay off the suspect and fishy jokes.) I wanted to revisit the storm because of two graphics that both mapped snowfall totals.

The first is from the New York Times. As one would expect, a quality graphic with clear colour ranges to show the impact across the wider New England area, western New York and New Jersey.

The New York Times snowfall totals
The New York Times snowfall totals

But from the local radio station WNYC came an interesting map of users’ observations. Because it’s a local radio station, the difference between the two versions is that the breadth of data is not as far-reaching as the Times’ data from the National Weather Service.

The limits of WNYC user-reporting
The limits of WNYC user-reporting

However, this sort of user-created data allows for more nuanced, locally-specific data visualisations.

User-reported snowfall in the near New York area
User-reported snowfall in the near New York area

Of course, this creates issues with the accuracy of the data. And in the case of this map, whether the amount given was a snapshot of the snowfall at the time the snow was falling or the final tally.

Credit for the pieces go to the New York Times, and to Steven Melendez, Louise Ma and John Keefe for the WNYC piece.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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