Where Did Hurricane Matthew Drop the Most Water?


This past weekend, Hurricane Matthew came through the Carolinas. Some areas had record flooding, while other areas didn't. I was anxious to get back to work today, so I could use SAS software and create a custom map showing who got how much rain.

But before we get to the official rainfall data, let's have a bit of fun with some unofficial data... Below is a picture of my team's dragon boat after Hurricane Matthew. The cover blew off, and there was about a foot of water in it. Since it's about 40 feet long, and 3 feet wide, that's about 120 cubic feet of water -- which is about 898 gallons. At 8.3 pounds per gallon, that's (roughly) 7,500 pounds of water!

Now, on to the more serious analytics! ... I downloaded the rainfall data from the National Weather Service. It was in shapefile format, so I used Proc Mapimport to get it into a SAS dataset. I used a data step and a where clause to subset the data, and limit it to just the range of latitudes/longitudes I was interested in. I then used annotate to place a colored dot at each data point on the map. The dots are so close together that they blend together and resemble a contour map, which is the effect I was wanting. I think the resulting map looks pretty good! Click the image below to see the full-size map, with html hover-text showing county names.

Hurricane Matthew rainfall map

Notice that there is a definite band of the magenta color, showing the areas along the edge of the hurricane that got the most rain. It is interesting that some areas to the east (actually closer to the eye of the hurricane) got less precipitation. Was your area affected by this hurricane? If so, how did it compare to previous hurricanes?

This content was reposted from the SAS Learning Post. Go there to view the original post.

Robert Allison, The Graph Guy!, SAS

Robert Allison has worked at SAS for more than 20 years and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in computer science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from North Carolina State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book calledSAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics.

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Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/14/2016 10:21:23 PM
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..

I'm having trouble figuring out where the major cities are. I realize it would add a lot of clutter to include all cities and towns, but maybe just a few major ones (such as Raleigh and Charlotte). This would help orientate map viewers from other regions of the universe ...

 

Hurricane vs. Earthquake : Tough Decision ?
  • 10/14/2016 3:28:24 PM
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Was your area affected by this hurricane?

 

No. Thankfully I am on the West Coast.  But since we are expecting to get that major earthquake any day now -  I think I would trade it in for a Hurricane.

How Much is How Much ( Water ) ?
  • 10/14/2016 3:24:23 PM
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Robert , I really like how you figured out how much water was inside your boat after Matthew.  Most laymen would just say, "That is a lot of water...."  but an Analyst would never leave it at that....nice breakdown.

Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/14/2016 2:28:31 PM
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@Kq4ym, I was taken aback when the governor stated that the worst of the devastation was anticipated after the storm's passing and more death would be caused by flooding than the wind.

Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/14/2016 2:26:58 PM
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@rbaz Haiti is a very poor country. It's not reasonable to expect it to set up the kind of building codes we tend to have, which add a great deal of cost to construction. Regardless of the structural integrity in the design of the buildings there, the damage is very real for the people there.

Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/14/2016 2:23:06 PM
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@Ariella, the pictures of devastation in Haiti showed extreme damage but keep in mind that these structures don't measure up to any level of basic structure codes were are familiar and accustomed. Although veracity of the storm is unquestionable, the effects can be a distortion.

Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/14/2016 11:10:57 AM
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You make a good point. It is not only rainfellin the area, but runoff ( geography) is also a big factor.

Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/14/2016 9:32:52 AM
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Yes, it would be interesting to see such data plotted for all the areas affected. I've thought as well that the current North Carolina flood zones should also get some attention and have plots of perhaps expected rates of flood water draining away from affected areas compared to current flooded areas.

Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/13/2016 10:09:25 AM
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@Robert yes, Haiti was devastated by it. I see that there is aerial footage of the damage embedded here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article107859937.html but it doesn't say precisely how much water feel in the area.

Re: Interesting Data
  • 10/12/2016 10:03:49 PM
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Broadway - I have done some plots of Maue's ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) data in the past. See the 2nd graph on this page:

http://robslink.com/SAS/democd49/bak/maue_tropical.htm

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