Updated Jan, 29th 2013
I've used all of your (very good) advice and it looks scads better! I did a color key and replaced all of the type. I tried to put some pics in (oysters, tornadoes, etc.) but I thought it was a little too cluttered. I'm not sure about the size of type I used for the "additional costs" part, but I played around and found that right justifying them really helped it stand out.
Thanks for everything in the class, it was so fun and I went from total newbie to a person that seems to have a little bit of a handle on infographics! Your help is much appreciated!!
After some suggestions from the "Getting Started" discussion board, I went outside data set 3 to the noaa website (page 9 of this: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf ) and will have a combo of a heat map with a larger dollar sign graphic for damage. Since these are all in the Gulf of Mexico area, I think I'll do a zoomed in map of that area. I'm envisioning a larger "heat map" with a line out to provide more information. I'd love any feedback anyone has and good luck on your projects!
Below was my first stab, but I've watched Gavin's video and I've made a few changes in color and added some info. I'm not sure if there's too much text or if it should be smaller or something. But, this is where I am. Please give me any feedback you have.
Update! Here's my first Illustrator jab at this. I'm not sure if the colors are good, but I think the theme is what I was after. Please, any suggestions would be great!