Using almost sixty years' worth of data from NOAA, designer John Nelson has produced a mesmerizing visualization of tornado activity in the United States. Ever wondered where "Tornado Alley" got its name? Wonder no more.
Got this data from NOAA via the spectacular Data.gov. It tracks 56 years of tornado paths along with a host of attribute information. Here, the tracks are categorized by their F-Scale (which isn't the latest and greatest means but good enough for a hack like me), where brighter strokes represent more violent storms.
The F-scale Nelson is referring to is the Fujita scale, which ranks tornados according to windspeed and destructive potential on a six-point scale ranging from F0 (40–72 mph winds and a few broken tree branches) to F5 (261+ mph winds and holy crap flying semi trucks).