National Climatic Data Center
U.S. Department of Commerce

Virtual Globe Archived Severe Weather Warnings

Google Earth Tutorial

This tutorial highlights the basic navigating features to view the Virtual Globe Archived Severe Weather Warnings in Google Earth. Google Earth's features are described in detail at:

division bar

After you have downloaded your file. Open it in Google Earth.

first load

Once Google Earth loads, the screen should look like this but you may need to adjust the time slider (details below).

The time span slider is one of the most important elements to view this data.

time slider

To adjust the time slider:

  • Move the beginning marker to the left and the ending marker to the right by clicking and pulling the marker to view all polygons.
  • Move the markers to your desired time by clicking and moving the marker on the slider bar.
  • To play the animation through your selected time span. Press the triangular play button on the right of the slider.
  • To edit the time and animation settings. Click the clock to the left of the time slider.

There are two ways to view more information about the polygon

  1. Using the left pane, double click on the links to the right of the polygon icon in the places tab.

    left pane
  2. Hold down control and click on the desired polygon.

    zoomed polygon

    Warnings are colored by their NWS official color

A legend for all Watch/Warning colors is available from the National Weather Service.

However you selected more information, it will look like this on your screen.

warning text

The first line gives the warning type, the National Weather Service office that issued the warning by their 4 letter identifier. A list of 4 letter identifiers and their corresponding offices is available from the National Weather Service.

The next line tells when the warning starts and when it ends given in UTC date and Z time. There are several places on the internet to convert UTC to your local time zone, the Google Earth time span will be changed to your currently viewing time zone or to one you specify.

Following the header and our severe weather data inventory logo is the actual text of the issued warning.