Archive for October 2007

2006 Data Added to Tornado History Project Database

The 2006 data has finally been added! I know I initally said I’d be done with the 2006 update by the end of September, but it proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. Well, actually, getting the data added wasn’t the difficult part – it was the near complete internal database reorganization I decided to do. To make a long story short, there are several inconsistencies within the SPC archive. I’m not talking about errors in the data such as incorrect Fujita classificaions, lat/lon coordinates, etc. (there are still many of those…), but rather, inconsistencies with how segments of the data relate to one another. I have identified most, if not all, of the inconsistencies and have made modifications where needed. The modifications were generally limited to the internal SPC numbering scheme (the “SPC Tor. #” and “State Tor. #” columns on the Tornado Database page) and do not affect the official stats such as locations, fatalites, injuries, etc. Any modified records will be displayed in a red font when viewing search results on the Tornado Database page.

Also, significantly, I have completely changed the internal tornado indexing scheme. This shouldn’t affect anything, but it is an important change in that the new index will serve to permanently identify tornadoes in the Tornado History Project database going forward. The index is derived by combining the date of the tornado, the FIPS code of the state it occurred in (or the first state it occurred in if it is a multi-state tornado), and the state tornado number of that tornado. So, a tornado that occurred on 1/1/1950 in Alabama (FIPS code=1) and has been given the state tornado number label of 1 by the SPC will become tornado index #19500101.1.1
In addition to internal database changes, I have made the site somewhat easier to use (I think…) by providing clearer instructions and more appropriate icons representing links to maps, user comments, photos, and videos. You can see this by taking a look at the Tornado Database page. Tornado paths have also been changed to match the color of the tornado icon. So, an F3 tornado is now represented by the old orange icon and the new orange path line (instead of a standard blue path line…)

A few other changes were made too, but probably not significant enough to discuss here. Keep checking back over the next few weeks/months as I have a few other updates planned. The biggest update will be adding more detailed path data for many tornadoes (see previous blog post for more information.