While it looks like the zephyric lovechild of Vincent Van Gogh and Edward Gorey, Wind Map is actually a real-time map of the wind patterns across the United States. Rather than using different colors to indicate the strength of gales, the map uses a grayscale of different intensities and speeds to depict the motion and power behind the wind, creating a haunting daguerreotype of weather systems.
Created by Hint.fm, a duo of wizards excelling in the field of visualization-based artwork, the map pulls its data from the National Digital Forecast Database and bases the animation on 1-hour forecasts, which is about as close as you could get to a live visualization of what the wind looks like at any given moment. Users can move the mouse cursor over the map to zoom in and see the current wind conditions of any place in the States (well, the continental States – sorry, Hawaii and Alaska).
Zoomed in, the lines of the wind patterns start to straighten out, creating a hypnotic stream of monochromatic motion.
Zoomed out, today’s map looks like the country is being creased in the center by the wind patterns of the midwest.
The site also has a gallery of active maps taken from particular days this month. As you know, tornadoes have been pummeling different areas of the country. Tornadoes attacked parts of Texas a couple of weeks ago and, judging from the March 20, 2012, map of the region, you can see the heavy winds literally funneling like a whirlpool above the state.
It’s an odd thing, visualizing that which cannot be seen. Some of these Wind Maps look like tracers from long-exposure photos of stars. These stills don’t really do the map the poetic and artistic respect that it deserves, so I do recommend visiting the site to get the full experience.