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Maps & Resources Tracking Hurricane Rita

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As Hurricane Rita bears down on Texas, we're obviously hoping for the best. Some new resources for those who want to track the storm's progress are covered below, including very nice MSN Virtual Earth-powered and Google Maps-powered services.

Robert Scoble points to an MSN Virtual Earth-powered map produced by Poly9 for MSNBC. It shows where the storm has been and where it is projected to go, future points in lighter shades of white.

Hover over any future point for a bit more info on forecasted winds. Wondering how the track will impact Galveston? Hard to see on the map, because as a small town, Galveston's not shown unless you zoom in a bit. Basically, find Houston and come down at a 5 o'clock angle until you hit the coast -- or zoom in.

Sadly, if you visit  either the actual MSN Virtual Earth site or MSNBC, you don't find any links to this map. How Robert found it, he doesn't say, but it should be a lot easier.

One plus to the exploring, however. MSNBC has another great Hurricane Tracker map that shows the past path and projected route, along with how the storm has grown in strength. Look to the left of the map, and you'll see links for past storms in 2004 and 2005, including Katrina.

Doc Searls points to Central Florida Hurricane Center 2005, or flhurricane.com. As the site says, this is not some official government site but a nice resource run by weather hobbyists.

They've got a Google Maps-based storm track you can follow -- where the storm has been, where it's expected to go, and info when you click on any of the pinned points along the way.

I think it's much nicer with the hybrid view switched on, and Galveston shows easily with only slight zooming. Also check out the legend that explains the storm strength as show with colored dots.

Steve Rubel notes you can now get weather feeds via Yahoo, by the way. I didn't think this was new, but they're adding so much, it's hard to keep track! A page with severe weather alerts is here, Texas here, but these are sent via email only. A Yahoo News feed for "Hurricanes & Topical Storms" is here -- and those who prefer to read online can see the Full Coverage area for hurricanes here.

Hurricane Rita Takes Aim at Texas Coast from Gary yesterday also notes some other news resources tracking Rita. Basically, pick your usual news source suspect, and they're going to be doing something.

FYI, I remarked to my wife when Ophelia came along how quickly we were going through the hurricane alphabet. What happens if we hit Z (or really W, the last letter actually used)? MSNBC writes we move to the Greek alphabet, along with nice background on how storms are named.

Postscript from Gary: More Maps.

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