Initial View & Data:
When ZoomRadar loads, the Web site you are viewing it on will determine the default map view and type of data that is displayed. For instance if you are looking at a Web site that originates in Miami, FL then the view will probably default to South Florida. In addition, it will also most likely load Miami Radar. This means that initially the radar data may be limited to South Florida. This radar is very high resolution. To see regional or national radar data in your area you will likely need to check off "National" under the Options menu on the left side of the map.
These are located on the top left of the map. Use these buttons to zoom in and out of ZoomRadar! You can zoom as far in as your house!
Click & Drag:
To move the map left, right, north and South jut click and hold the map and drag it to the desired location. It is that simple!
Left & Top Menu:
When ZoomRadar first loads you will see a menu on top of the map and left side of the map. The top menu allows you to animate the last 30 to 60 minutes of radar and about 2 hours of cloud images. You can even advance one frame at a time by using the arrows directly to the right and left of the play button. Also on the top menu is a Transparency control which allows you to make the radar, clouds and warnings more or less visible above the map. If you'd like to zoom directly to a given city just use the "Take Me To:" box. Type in your zip code, address or city and GO! The Left menu contains many options. On top you will see ZoomCast! Pressing this button will allow you to get forecasts for over 100,000 locations worldwide! The Radar & Clouds section allows you to determine what type of image you'd like to see. The Weather Overlay section allows you to add other weather data like Current Conditions, Severe Warnings, Storm Reports and legends.
Take Me To Box:
This is located on the right side of the top menu bar. This will instantly take you to your desired location on the map. Just type in your city, zip code or street address and GO!
This will give you the forecast for 140,000 Worldwide locations! Just type in the city or zip code and press go or the enter key.
National Radar Button:
This button will load a complete set of US Radar with rain, snow and mixed precipitation areas. This will allow you to pan and zoom to anywhere in the United States and see what the weather is like. This mosaic radar image updates once every 10 minutes.
Local Radar Button:
This button will take you to a certain local radar. This is typically determined by the area the Web site originates from. This high resolution radar image is limited to a 124 mile radius from the National Weather Service radar site. For a wider view of the radar, click on "National Radar". This NEXRAD image updates every 4 to 12 minutes depending on the weather that day. If the weather is severe the radar will likely update every 4-6 minutes. If the weather is quiet the radar will update every 10 minutes or so.
This will bring up a satellite cloud image which extends from northern Canada to South America and from the Central Pacific to the Eastern Atlantic. The image updates about every half hour.
Severe Warnings Button:
This button allows you to turn severe weather warnings on and off. When you slide your mouse over a warning polygon it will display a "mouse-over" box which will give limited detail. If you would like the full warning text you can click the warning polygon and it will open a small window to the National Weather Service text.
Temps, Buoys, Ships Button:
This button will bring up over 10,000 temperatures for the US, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and parts of the Atlantic & Pacific Ocean. The temperatures over the water are either buoys or ship reports. If you click any temperature it will bring up a box with other current weather information like wind, humidity, visibility, dewpoint, barometer, etc...
Storm Reports Button:
This button brings up reports of severe weather or damage. You will see round color coded icons appear on the map if severe weather reports are present in that map view. Just click the icon for more information. It is a product of the National Weather Service so the data is verified before appearing on this map. You will find reports of tornadoes, strong wind, lightning strikes, flooding, heavy rain, heavy snow, ice, blizzard, extreme heat and extreme cold. If the person or agency gave further details in the report you will see those details in the comments section of the report.
Storm Tracks Button:
This button allows users to both detect the severity of a storm and also track a storm's motion and approx. time of arrival. If you are zoomed in close enough to an area with thunderstorms you will see one of a few icons pop up. The storm attribute icons are a thunderstorm, a hail storm, an orange meso cyclone or a red TVS (tornado vortex signature). Upon clicking these icons certain information will display such as rain rate, hail size and likelihood, damaging wind potential and tornado potential. In addition, upon clicking, you will also notice an arrow/cone shooting out from the storm core. This arrow/cone estimates the track and distance the storm will travel over the next hour. By clicking anywhere on the arrow/cone ZoomRadar will estimate how long in minutes the storm core will arrive at that clicked location. Remember both the storm attributes and storm track are estimates.
Clicking this button will populate the map with thumbnail images of hundreds of real-time outdoor travel cameras from "webcams.travel. Clicking these thumbnails will send you to the webcams.travel Web site where you can view a larger image."
Clicking this button will activate all the NWS weather bulletins available such as severe watches, warnings and advisories. Just click the polygon that pops up and it will display the full NWS weather bulletin.
When you double click the radar echoes on the map a small window will pop-up displaying the rainfall rate. Red and Purple are the heaviest rain. If the storm is strong enough the box will reveal whether hail is possible or not and the approximate size that may be expected. If the radar is in local radar mode even snow/ice will appear in traditional green and yellow colors. To determine the rate of snowfall click in the text towards the bottom of the precipitation box. When on National Radar mode if you are clicking on blue, white or pink areas the box will automatically show snow or mixed precipitation rates.
Panning: This is done by simply clicking and holding the cursor down on the map. You can move right, left, up and down.
Zooming: You can use the "Zoom In" and "Zoom Out" buttons to zoom in to street level or zoom out to a wide view of the entire United States. On Internet Explorer a trick is to use the middle mouse wheel to quick zoom into and out of the map.
Transparency: The transparency slider bar allows you to control how visible or invisible the weather radar is. Making the image less visible will make the map, roads and neighborhoods more visible underneath the radar image.
Play: The play button allows you to loop the last several frames of radar data. The arrows to the right and left of the play button allow you to advance or rewind the radar images one by one. When you press play the national radar will loop the last hour's worth of data with a frame every 10 minutes. The local radar will loop the last 8 frames (30-60 minutes) of radar images. The time coverage will vary depending on the mode of operation for that particular National Weather Service NEXRAD radar.
Road: This is a map illustration from GoogleTM Maps with roads, city names and landmarks.
Hybrid: This a GoogleTM Map with true Earth imagery photographed from above with roads, city names and landmarks overlaid. The map images are not real-time.
Radar Legend: On the bottom you will find a legend which illustrates the intensity of the rain and/or snow. Light rain is green. Moderate rain is yellow. Heavy rain is red or purple. Often the purple colors in intense thunderstorms will signal extremely heavy rain and large hail. Next to the colors for rain on the legend you will find pink shades for ice and mixed precipitation. Next to that you will find blue and white for snow. Blue is light snow and white is heavy snow. Please note that local radar mode displays areas of snow or mixed precipitation in traditional green/yellow/red shades. It does not differentiate between snow, rain and ice. For a display of snow vs. rain areas in blue, white and pink please switch to "National Radar" and zoom to your area of interest.
Data Updates: The national radar data will update every 10 minutes. Local radar updates will vary from as short as 4 minutes apart to as much as 12 minutes apart. The updating of local radar is determined by that particular local National Weather Service office and may vary from day to day. Typically the newest local radar image will update rapidly, usually within 1-2 minutes of the time the data is sent from the NEXRAD. If the weather is severe the radar will update very often. If the weather is nice the radar will update less often.
Clutter: Weather radar has the ability to see the atmosphere in fine detail. There are times the radar will show "rain" where it is not raining. These "false echoes" may be precipitation evaporating before it reaches the ground (termed virga). At other times the radar may be picking up migrating birds or fine sediments in the atmosphere. Whatever the reason, there will be times the radar shows precipitation when it is not in fact occurring. You will most often see this "clutter" close to the radar site itself. In an attempt to limit clutter some of the data is filtered. As a result very light precipitation may also be filtered out. It is a delicate balance.
This material is a copyright of ZoomRadarTM