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EARTH OBSERVATION
Google plots Hurricane Irene with online map
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 26, 2011


Internet giant Google has rolled out an online map tracking the path of Hurricane Irene and providing other useful information about the storm headed for the US east coast.

The map, located at crisislanding.appspot.com, is a product of the Google Crisis Response team, which provides online tools to help with relief efforts following natural disasters.

The map displays three- to five-day forecasts for Hurricane Irene, shows evacuation routes and which coastal areas of the eastern United States are in danger of facing a storm surge.

Besides maps, online tools developed by Google include the "Person Finder," which attempts to locate and reunite victims of earthquakes or other disasters.

Millions of Americans are bracing for Irene, a Category Two hurricane packing 105-mile (165-kilometer) winds, which is expected to slam into North Carolina on Saturday before heading north toward New York.

Hurricanes are rare on the US eastern seaboard, home to more than 65 million people living in a string of densely populated cities from Washington to New York to Boston.

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