Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 11.21.53 PMTHEY huff and they puff…. and can blow your house down. We know. We had one pass over our house. As hurricanes go, ours wasn’t very strong http://youtu.be/GUXYxZomqIs. But some can tear buildings apart http://youtu.be/unV5KcSrY-I. Ours knocked out our power, and delayed our issue. Want to learn more about hurricanes? Here are some links.
Download, print and share this column as a one page PDF.

Download, print and share this column as a one page PDF.

1. First, are there any hurricanes going on, right now? Visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ where you can see a real-time map created by the National Hurricane Center.

2. How do hurricanes get their names? At http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/tcp/Storm-naming.html you learn that the names are assigned six years in advance by a group of scientists from all over the world. Male and female names are used, and no hurricane is named after a real person. The namesmake the storms easier to remember and track. In 2013, storm names will include Andrea, Barry, Jerry, Karen, Nestor and Wendy.

3. I live in Chicago. Do I need to worry about hurricanes? No. At weather.com http://wxch.nl/XmXqnP you learn that Hurricanes need warm water to work. Once they come over land, they run out of steam. The weather.com map on the right shows that if you live away from the east coasts of either Asia or the USA you don’t have much to worry about.

4. What’s the difference between a hurricane, typhoon, cyclone or a tropical depression? They are very similar. All are large storms that form over warm ocean waters. In Asia, they use the word typhoon or cyclone. In the USA, we call strong storms hurricanes. Weaker storms are called tropical storms.

5. Who was Saffir-Simpson, and why should I care? Saffir was an engineer, Simpson a meteorologist. Together they created a scale, from 1 (75 MPH winds) to 5 (160 MPH and up) based on the damage winds cause to buildings. At NPR http://n.pr/qPce0 you can see the scale in action.

6. Which has stronger winds, a Hurricane or a Tornado? At http://www.diffen.com/difference/Hurricane_vs_Tornado you can learn that a tornado can have much stronger winds, but a hurricane is more damaging, due to associated storm surges, floods and damage to structures.


1. Make a plan for a storm. Visit  http://www.ready.gov/kids where you can learn how to get your house ready for a big storm. You can also play games, like the word search on the right.

2. Explore the forces in a hurricane. At http://bit.ly/1EipqO you learn how to turn two plastic bottles into a micro hurricane (or tornado), caused by the Coriolis effect, a force caused by the rotation of the earth.



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