Google Maps added a weather layer, but it’s doubtful the new wrinkle will turn into much of a travel-planning tool.
For example, the¬†National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as of this writing at 8 a.m. EST Aug. 25 says Hurricane Irene is “pounding the northwestern Bahamas.”
But, if you were a traveler or the family of vacationers in The Bahamas and you activated the new Google Maps weather functionality, you wouldn’t immediately know anything was amiss.
The only weather icons you see in The Bahamas are in Andros Town, admittedly a bit southeast of the hurricane, and Nassau, which is even further to the east.
Google’s weather information from¬†The Weather Channel depicted the situation in Andros Town at 8:45 a.m. as 77 degrees (Fahrenheit) with thunderstorms.
You wouldn’t have any indication that a hurricane was wrapping up its work or threatening the area.
Only when you drill down a bit and click on the hourly forecast do you find out that there are squalls and winds of 75 mph.
It is difficult to find evidence of Hurricane Irene’s existence on the Google Maps in the Bahamas area even though a hurricane warning was still in effect for central and northwestern Bahamas.
Meanwhile, Irene is projected to make its way toward the East Coast of the U.S. and a hurricane warning was in effect from Surf City, North Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border.
Google’s weather icon for Jacksonville, N.C., near the coast, shows it’s 75 degrees and partly cloudy. You need to click on the 10-day forecast to find out that “hurricane watches have been issued in the Carolinas. Irene is a large, powerful destructive storm.”
To get the weather feature going on Google Maps, you can hover over the map icon on the upper right corner of Google Maps and check off weather.
Suddenly, you see sun and cloud icons. Click on an icon and you’ll see temperatures for that destination from The Weather Channel¬†and links to hourly and 10-day forecasts.
Alas, Google is a search company, but if you type in “Hurricane Irene” into the Google Maps search box, you are directed to Irene Circle in Hurricane, West Virginia.
Incidentally, the weather in Hurricane, West Virginia, currently is is 79 degrees and partly cloudy. You could find that out from the new weather feature on Google Maps.