Hurricane Irene Tracked via Google Maps

Google's Crisis Response team whips up a new Google Map to let users track Hurricane Irene, which is storming the East Coast. The Map has several layers to help users visualize the Category 1 happening.

Hurricane Irene has captured the attention of most folks on the East Coast, so it's good to be aware of the latest updates to the event.

Just as it has for earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes in recent years, Google's Crisis Response team has come through again with its typical trove of Google Maps data to let users track the storm.

Users may also learn more about how to prepare for its possible effects from trusted sources the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

This Google Crisis Map shows up-to-date geographic information, allowing users to zoom and pan the map and turn layers of information on or off just by clicking. Users may also find out more about the map layers by visiting the linked Websites of the content owners.

Layer options for the Crisis Map include U.S. radar graphics, cloud imagery, "red zone" warnings, storm-surge graphics (in rainbow colors, no less), three- and five-day forecasts, hurricane evacuation routes and pins indicating Red Cross shelters.

eWEEK has found a map to provide an excellent distillation of information for the Category 1 blast of weather, which includes wind gusts from 74 to 95 miles per hour.

However, NOAA certainly provides the most detailed information, culled with all the power of the government's intelligence at its disposal. FEMA's Website is also helpful.

CNET pointed out other Websites that provide valuable information, from the obvious, such as, to the less well-known, such as Weather Wunderground.

Hopefully, this provides a starting point for information-gathering for everyone. To all East Coasters in the coastal tri-state area and northward into New England: hunker down and batten down the hatches.