A beautiful animation just out shows Hurricane's Sandy's wind gusts as the Frankenstorm moves up the East Coast.
Screenshots taken from the map animation capture Sandy's winds advancing north late on Oct. 28 and early on Oct. 29.
The map was created by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, artists/technologists who lead Google's "Big Picture" visualization research group in Cambridge, Mass., according to their website.
The map highlights just how big and powerful the storm is. As of 11 a.m. ET on Oct. 29, it had strengthened and boasts maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). It's currently transitioning into an extra-tropical storm, similar in some respects to the Perfect Storm of 1991, and could strengthen further. Its winds have piled up water and are expected to create a life-threatening storm surge that could exceed 11 feet (3.4 meters) in some areas.
Sandy currently has hurricane-force winds extending up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center, and tropical storm-force winds out to 485 miles (780 km), according to the NHC. That's second only to 2001's Olga in terms of the size of wind field of a storm. (Olga's winds extended out 600 miles (965 km).)
Faster winds in the map are shown as thicker white lines, and the speed of the wind can be determined by zooming in and clicking on individual gusts. The map was created by taking surface wind speeds from the National Digital Forecast Database, which is updated every hour.
"So what you're seeing is a living portrait," the duo writes on their site.
This story was originally written for OurAmazingPlanet and is republished with permission here. Copyright 2012 OurAmazingPlanet, a TechMediaNetwork company.