ArcGIS Online

Map in a minute: Map winter storms using ArcGIS Online and Living Atlas

After a night of heavy rain, I awoke to see the storm lifting from the local mountains. Snow levels were down to an elevation of 2000 feet, with accumulations reaching 18 inches in mountain communities. Winter storms sweeping the U.S. later this week were predicted to bring record setting snows to the West Coast, and across the U.S. heavy snows are forecast from the Central Plains to the Mid-Atlantic Coast, with 23 states under a winter storm alert.

Snowfall

 

Make a winter weather map

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World includes authoritative live feeds and other content that helps you learn more about current and predicted snow conditions. Follow these steps to make your own winter weather map in a minute (or less), using Living Atlas live feeds and filters to focus on winter weather watches, warning, and advisories.

Choose Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic  to see specific steps for each.

 


 

Map Viewer

Step 1 — Sign in to your ArcGIS account. Open Map Viewer Beta, click Add layer, then Browse Living Atlas Layers.

Living Atlas search

Step 2 — Enter “weather” in search to locate USA Weather Watches and Warnings. Click (+) to add it to the map.

Add layer

Tip: To learn more about any layer, click the layer title to View item details.

View item details

From the USA Weather Watches and Warnings item details we can learn that the layer is a live feed from the National Weather Service. The feed publishes official weather warnings, watches and advisory statements for the United States, and is updated every 5 minutes. The watches and warning are classified into 43 different categories.

Viewing the map layers, we find that the feed contains 11 layers, including boundaries.

Weather watches and warnings
View larger image

To simplify the map and focus on winter weather, follow these additional steps.

Step 3 — Toggle the visibility of all layers off except USA weather watches and warnings – Events ordered by size and severity. You can also remove all layers except this one.

Toggle layer visibility

Step 4 — View the National Weather Service watch/warning/advisory definitions. Decide which definitions you want to focus on. For this example, a filter will be created to focus on those that pertain to blizzards and winter weather.

Step 5 — Open the layer filter. Ensure that USA Weather Watches and Warning – Events Ordered by Size and Severity is active (you will see a blue highlight on the left side indicating it is selected).

Select layer

Click Filter in the settings toolbar on the right, then click Add expression.

Add expression

Step 6 — Construct a filter expression as follows:

a – Select Type as the attribute from the list.

b – Select includes as the operator from the dropdown list.

c – Choose the desired values from the dropdown list.

Expression

Tip: By default, attributes are listed by Count. Choose A to Z to make finding specific attributes easier.

Change order

Step 7 — When finished, click Save.

Save filter

The map shown below is the result of applying the following expression:

Type includes Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Watch, Winter Storm Warning, Blizzard Warning, Blizzard Watch.

Winter weather map
View larger image


 

Map Viewer Classic

Step 1 — Sign in to your ArcGIS account. Open Map Viewer, click Add, then choose Browse Living Atlas Layers.

Browse Living Atlas Layers

Step 2 — Enter “weather” in search to locate USA Weather Watches and Warnings. Click (+) to add it to the map.

Add weather watches and warnings

Tip: To learn more about any layer, click the layer title to View item details.

View item details

From the USA Weather Watches and Warnings item details we can learn that the layer is a live feed from the National Weather Service. The feed publishes official weather warnings, watches and advisory statements for the United States, and is updated every 5 minutes. The watches and warning are classified into 43 different categories.

Viewing the map contents, we see that the feed contains 11 layers, including boundaries.

Weather watches and warnings
View larger image

To simplify the map and focus on winter weather, follow these additional steps.

Step 3 — Toggle the visibility of all layers off except USA weather watches and warnings – Events ordered by size and severity. You can also remove all layers except this one.

Toggle layer visibility

Step 4 — View the National Weather Service watch/warning/advisory definitions. Decide which definitions you want to focus on. For this example, a filter will be created to focus on those that pertain to blizzards and winter weather.

Step 5 — Open the layer filter.

Layer filter

Step 6 — Construct a filter expression as follows:

a – Select Type as the attribute from the dropdown list.

b – Select is as the operator from the dropdown list.

c – Click Value and choose the value from the dropdown list. Use value instead of unique, since not all unique types may be present in the map layer at the time the filter is applied. Value will display all possible options.

d – When finished, click Add another expression.

Layer filter

Step 7 — Once you click Add another expression, a dropdown list appears below it. Choose Display features in the layer that match any of the following expressions.

Multiple expression evaluation

Step 8 — Continue adding filters for Type by selecting from the dropdown list until you’ve created filters for all the desired values. When finished, click Apply filter.

Apply Filter

Open the layer filter again to see the current expressions. You can remove the filter, or click Edit to change, delete, or add filters.

View current filters

The map shown below was made using the filters shown above.

Winter weather map


 

More information

For more information, see the following:

 

This blog article was originally published on January 29, 2021, and has been updated.

About the author

Corporate tech evangelist and senior principal product manager at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping users succeed with the ArcGIS online system. On a good day I'm making a map, on a great day I'm on one. Follow @bernszukalski or email bszukalski@esri.com

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