Understanding the Impact… Illinois Tornadoes 11/17/2013

To help businesses respond to the devastating tornadoes experienced across Illinois on November 17th, Willis Re has made preliminary footprints of the tornadoes available to SpatialKey clients free of charge and without restriction. Other experts, like Weather Decision Technologies (see Moore, OK article), are also analyzing the scope and impact of this event, and their data can be provided upon request.

You can leverage expert intelligence to quantify the impact to your operations and customers in an instant.  The Willis Re footprint data is available for immediate use via the SpatialKey Data Mart. Simply, select the tornado footprints and overlay insured data to quickly estimate your exposure and to evaluate response scenarios.  These footprints can be analyzed in SpatialKey’s Map Analyst and Severe Storms applications.

Compliments of Willis Re, the “Preliminary EF4 Washington Track 11/17/13 file (left image below) takes a closer look at Washington, IL, and the Preliminary Tornado Tracks 11/17/13 file (right image below) provides a preliminary footprint of the 13 areas impacted by tornadoes on November 17th.


Additionally, within the Severe Storms application, you can visualize these tracks (in red and green) alongside integrated Storm Prediction Center reports available from the National Weather Service.  Here, you have the ability to create your own storm track (in blue) and apply damage assumptions to estimate your potential exposure.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 12.50.12 PM

Visualize the impact in SpatialKey

With the footprint from Willis Re and analytics from SpatialKey, you can quickly quantify your exposure.  SpatialKey has provided ready access to this footprint within the Data Mart, under the Featured section. Just pick the “Preliminary Tornado Tracks 11/17/13” and “Preliminary EF4 Washington Track 11/17/13” files to use in your analysis.

There are not too many locations in the direct path of the tornado for my dataset, but there is likely damage in close proximity to the path. To understand the impact within 5 miles of the swath, you can apply a buffer, which will include locations within that buffer in your analysis.

You can add analytic pods to understand the composition of those exposures, what claims personnel you may have responding already, and which business operations are most impacted by insured losses.

If you would like to build your own storm track and apply damage assumptions for different buffers around that track, you can use the Storm Drawing Tool in the Severe Storms app.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 5.43.28 PM

With SpatialKey’s easy-to-use visual analytics and Willis Re’s tornado footprints, you can expedite the identification and quantification of your potential exposure and begin mobilizing your response. We hope this collaborative effort will help you deliver assistance and relief to those in need.

Map of May 20 and 31 Oklahoma Tornadoes with Population Density

The past two weeks have been devastating for Oklahoma. Multiple tornadoes have touched down in and around Oklahoma City, causing massive damage and the loss of 42 lives. First, on the afternoon of May 20, 2013 an EF5 tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma. Then only 11 days later a series of tornadoes hit the same general area, striking El Reno/Yukon (to the west of Oklahoma City) and multiple sites within Oklahoma City (the western, central, and eastern areas of the city were all hit).

SpatialKey has been working to analyze the destruction of these tornadoes. Our data partner, Weather Decision Technologies (WDT), has created hand-drawn paths of the affected areas. These paths paint a grim picture of the destruction in Oklahoma. We’ve overlaid these paths on a population density map to allow us to understand how many people were impacted, and which strikes had the most effect.

View the map below or view a larger version.

Interacting with the map

At high zoom levels the map shows the storm tracks overlaid on a dot-density population map. Mouse over the storm tracks to see a tooltip that shows how many people and housing units are within that track.

When you zoom in the map will change to show satellite imagery. The census blocks switch to colored shapes that are colored based on the population of that block. Mouse over those blocks to see a tooltip showing the stats for that individual census block.

Estimated population impact

Overall we estimate that approximately 34,000 people were within the affected paths of these tornadoes. This is a rough estimate based on the intersection of the tornado paths with census data.

Affected area Estimated Population Date
Moore/Newcastle 9,000 5/20/2013
El Reno/Yukon 300 5/31/2013
West Oklahoma City 800 5/31/2013
Central Oklahoma City 17,500 5/31/2013
East Oklahoma City 6,500 5/31/2013




About the map

The map shows the paths of the tornadoes overlaid on a population dot density map. The population data is from the 2010 US census, and is granular to the census block level. Each tiny dot represents a single person.

Red dots are used for people within the tornado paths, while blue dots are used for people outside the paths. By layering the population dots we can get a picture of population density. We can see that the tornado that hit central Oklahoma City tore through a populated area, versus the tornado that hit El Reno or east Oklahoma City missed dense areas.

About the data

The tornado paths for the storms on May 31 were provided by WDT and were hand-drawn by their meteorologists. The path for the May 20 Moore tornado was created by NOAA.

The population and housing data comes from the 2010 US census. The census data provides polygon block shapes with population counts and the number of housing units within each block. We have converted that polygon data to point data by filling the shapes with a random distribution of points, one for each person, throughout each individual census block.

The map also uses the Toner basemap from Stamen Design, as well as satellite imagery from MapBox.

If you’re a SpatialKey customer, you already have access to the tornado path data, both from WDT and NOAA, which is available in the SpatialKey Data Mart.

Oklahoma Tornadoes from May 31st, 2013

Following on the heels of the devastating Moore, Oklahoma tornado, a set of tornadoes touched down near Oklahoma City on Friday evening. Together with Weather Decision Technologies (WDT), we are able to provide access to hand-drawn storm footprints from WDT meteorologists based on the analysis of High-Res Level 2 Dual-Polarization Radar data.

Oklahoma tornadoes from May 31st, 2013 viewed in SpatialKey Analyst

Oklahoma tornadoes from May 31st, 2013 viewed in SpatialKey Analyst

This data is now available in the SpatialKey Data Mart under the WDT provider section.  The file name is “Oklahoma Tornadoes 05/31/2013”.

We hope this information helps you evaluate the impact of these events and to mobilize your response efforts to assist those in need.

Understanding the Impact (Part 2)… Moore, OK Tornado

Weather Decision Technologies (WDT) and NOAA have provided additional resources to help you further understand the impact of the Moore, Oklahoma Tornado. These resources are now available immediately to SpatialKey users through the SpatialKey Data Mart.  You now have the latest intelligence at your fingertips to quantify the impact to your operations and customers through rich, visual analytics in SpatialKey’s Map Analyst product.

Estimate your exposure that may be subject to a total loss

Compliments of WDT, the Moore Oklahoma F4 Tornado – Estimated Total Loss Zone footprint represents a hand-drawn analysis based on aerial photography taken after the tornado.  The shape represents properties that appear to be extensively damaged, potentially resulting in a total loss (to their best estimation).  With a simple join in SpatialKey, you can identify and quantify your insured risk by TIV or Exposed Limit in seconds.

Evaluate your exposure in the context of wind severity

The Moore Oklahoma Tornado – NOAA Footprint data includes multiple buffers representing different wind severities, based on the EF Scale.  Again, just simply join this data to your portfolio and quickly quantify the volume of exposure (TIV or Exposed Limits) by severity to apply your views of estimated loss.

Communicate and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders

As with all SpatialKey applications, you can leverage analytic pods to gain a better insight into your risk composition with supporting location and policy detail. These interactive dashboards can be instantly shared with stakeholders to independently ask questions of the data, reducing cycle time between units to enhance the quality and speed of service you can offer the victims of this catastrophe.