HURRICANES AND TORNADOES


hurricane tor
palm tree
tornado


What is a Tornado?
      A Tornado is a column of air
violently rotating  across the earth's surface.  The column of air most frequently attached to a cloud or thunderstorm overhead, which then extends down to the ground.  Tornadoes can form into any shape, but generally form the shape of a tunnel, narrow near the bottom and larger at the top.
What causes a Tornado?
  The most common cause of a tornado is from a thunderstorm.  Tornadoes form when warm, moist air or air from a  thunderstorm meets cooler, dry air creating an unstable atmosphere.  After creating an unstable atmosphere, changes in wind direction and wind speed creates a spinning effect near the earth's surface, eventually forming a tunnel of wind that rapidly grows and violently rotates along the earth's surface, destroying homes and uprooting trees that are in it's path.
   


Where are they  most likely  to  occur?
    Tornadoes are likely to occur anywhere in the world, but most tornadoes occur in "Tornado Alley," which stretches from Texas to Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and into the Dakotas.  The reasoning for "Tornado Alley," is because warm, moist air from the gulf of Mexico mixes with the cooler, dry air from the north creating dangerous tornadoesTornadoes can occur during any time of the year, but typically happen during the spring.

INTERESTING FACTS!

* Tornadoes are considered the most violent and unpredictable storms.
* The funnel of a tornado can range from a yard to a mile in diameter!
*Tornadoes generally last only 5 to 10 minutes but some have been known to last around an hour!
*Around 1,000 tornadoes are reported yearly within the U.S.
* Tornadoes are measured by using a "Fujita Scale," this is a scale that measures the wind speed and the amount of damage left by a tornado on a scale from 1 to 5. To learn more about this scale CLICK HERE
* The deadliest Tornado was the "Tri-State Tornado," which happened on March 18, 1925, killing 889 people in Missouri,  Illinois and Indiana.

What to do in case of a Tornado- 
    If you find yourself in danger of a tornado, it's important that you take shelter to protect yourself.   The safest place to be in the case of a tornado is in the basement of your house or the building that you are in.  Do not go near the walls that face in the southern or western directions, this is generally the direction tornadoes move in.  You should seek shelter under a stair case, inside a closet or under a heavy table.  You should also use a heavy blanket or trash can for protection against debris.  You may also seek shelter in the bathtub, in many homes that have been destroyed by tornadoes, the bathtub plumbing is the only thing left standing.  This is because the plumbing is anchored into the ground.  If you driving near a tornado, you should leave your car and find shelter inside, you should not keep driving, you may not know what you may encounter on the road. It's also important to realize that a car cannot outrun a tornado.


 HURRICANES!
What is a Hurricane?
     
Hurricanes are a severe and deadly tropical storm that starts in the ocean.  Hurricanes move in a counter clockwise direction, rotating around an “Eye.”  A Tropical storm is considered a hurricane only when it’s winds exceed 74 miles per hour.   Hurricanes are dangerous and can cause torrential rains, thunderstorms, flooding, waves, severe winds and even tornadoes. When hurricanes hit land they can destroy homes, cars and trees with their forceful winds, rain and waves.   


What causes a Hurricane?

   
Hurricanes generally start in the tropics, where there is plenty of warm water to provide energy for the storm. Hurricanes occur when warm air rises and forms thunderstorms.  Due to the rotation of the earth, this causes the thunderstorms to rotate in a counter clockwise direction. As the winds begin to increase as well as the speed of the rotation, this creates a tropical storm, which then turns into a hurricane when the winds exceed 74 miles per hour. To learn more about the hurricane scale, CLICK HERE


Where are they likely to occur?

  
 Hurricanes are most likely to occur in the tropical zones north and south of the equator.  Hurricanes generally occur throughout July and October, north of the Equator, and during November and March in areas south of the equator.


Interesting Facts:
•    Winds can exceed over 150 miles per hour during a hurricane!
•    Hurricanes are measured on a scale from 1 to 5 based on wind speed, potential damage and pressure.
•    Hurricanes are named based on 6 rotating lists created by National Hurricane Center.  Prior to 1979, only woman’s names were used, however today both men’s and women’s name are used.
•    The “Eye” of the hurricane is where the air sinks, forming a clear center of the storm.  
•    The “Eye” of the hurricane can range from 5 miles to 100 miles across!
•    Hurricanes gain power when moving across the ocean, they tend to lose momentum when they hit land.
•    “The deadliest hurricane in the United States struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900. A storm surge almost two stories high broke over the city, causing 20-foot (6.1-meter) floods and more than 8,000 deaths.
(http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngkids/0308/hurricane/info.html)
-The costliest hurricane was Andrew in 1992, which caused damages totaling more than U.S. $25 billion in parts of Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia.” (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngkids/0308/hurricane/info.html)

What to do in a Hurricane?

    
It’s important to prepare for a hurricane before one hits, this means getting important supplies, for example water, caned goods and batteries. It’s also important to secure your house, to prevent damage, this means closing shutters, trimming branches, clearing gutters, and securing your roof. During a hurricane, listen to the radio for updates, turn off all lights and propane tanks, and avoid using the telephone.  Your home will be in more danger if you live in higher elevations, where hurricanes are stronger, if you live in a mobile home, or if you live in low lying areas, which are more likely to flood. If you feel endangered it’s important that you evacuate immediately. While inside your house, close all windows, doors and curtains and stay away from these areas.  Go to the bottom level or basement, for your best protection lie underneath a sturdy table or go inside a closet. Always stay inside unless you feel endangered.

For more information about Hurricanes check out....

-http://www.fema.gov/kids/hurr.htm


-http://www.weatherwizkids.com/hurricane1.htm

-http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngkids/0308/hurricane/


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