877 Use of Live Google Traffic Maps to Assess Weather Impacts on Roads

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Barry R. Bowers, NOAA/NWS Amarillo, TX, Amarillo, TX; and C. B. Elsenheimer

Real time information from crowdsourcing has become an integral part of National Weather Service (NWS) operations during fast pace, high-impact weather events. Meteorological observations and spotter reports are not readily available in data sparse locations, and media or transportation department cameras frequently provide live images of actual weather and road conditions. The Amarillo NWS office has found value in monitoring the live Google Traffic overlay within Google Maps, as this information has indicated actual road impacts during a myriad of weather events including snow, flooding, and accumulation of hail. These invaluable reports range from areas of high impacts, such as identifying flooding concerns within the city of Amarillo, to confirming widespread hail impacts near smaller communities where reports are not often relayed. Examples will be given of cases in which impacts to travel occurred and were identified quickly using Google Traffic.
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