Storms and other damaging types of weather happen everywhere on Earth. For this lesson, learn about six types of “wild weather” then create a notebooking page about these six damaging forms of weather.
Here is some basic information and further resources to learn more about these weather types.
Hurricanes are begun with thunderstorms at sea over warm ocean water. A rising column of warm air thrusts up through the storm. As the air rises faster the winds around the outside of the column begin to swirl around this center. The storm gains energy from the heat being transferred from the ocean as it moves toward land. Once the winds reach speeds of at least 74 mph and can be as high as 195 mph. Though hurricane winds are strong enough to hurl objects through the air and tear roofs off buildings the greatest damage usually comes because of flooding from the heavy rains and storm surge.
Thunderstorms form in the warmer months when wet heated air near the ground rises quickly then cools in the upper atmosphere. The ice and dust in the clouds is buffeted about by the winds causing friction to build up electricity. When the electricity discharges back to the earth we call this lighting. The lighting also causes a loud booming noise known as thunder. Thunderstorms can turn into tornadoes or hurricanes if the conditions are right. They can also form hail, damaging balls of ice that fall from the sky. If the thunderstorm is dry, without rain, it can cause wildfires.
Tornadoes produce the highest wind speeds on earth, so high that wind recording instruments are torn apart and no reliable data on the speeds exist, but we do know it is more than 300 mph (482 kph). Tornadoes usually form from thunderstorms, though they can form “out of the blue” as well. A thin funnel of very hot air punches up through the cooler air layers above. As the air rises it spins and moves along the ground. As they move they tear up trees, demolish buildings, and fling cars through the air.
Droughts are quieter than other weather events, but they also last much much longer and can cause more damage and human suffering than other more violent weather. A drought is a prolonged period without rain. Without enough the soil dries up, streams and springs fail, and rivers shrink. Crops and animals suffer and die. This creates famine conditions for people. The dry soil is also easily blown away creating a loss of fertility as the top soil disappears. Blowing winds also create dust storms that can cause major health problems for people as well.
Blizzards are winter storms with winds of 30 mph hour or more for at least three hours. The wind blows snow about, either falling snow or snow already on the ground, and makes white out conditions where visibility is very low. Blizzards can also create deep snow drifts, cutting off roads. Often power failure results from the wind and heavy snow and people can be stranded in vehicles or in their homes in freezing temperatures without power or water for days.
Ice storms happen in the winter when a blanket of warm air sits on top of colder air near the ground. Precipitation falls as freezing rain, rain that is liquid until it nears or hits the ground with its colder temperatures. The ice makes a thick coat over surfaces including trees, buildings, and power lines. These storms are dangerous because they nearly always cause widespread power outs that can take days or even weeks to repair, leaving people without adequate heat or water. They also create very treacherous road conditions for travel and can cause traffic accidents.
Read books or search out videos on YouTube about each type of storm.
For early grades
For the middle grades
Wild Weather Notebooking
To finish off this lesson, make a notebook page of these six types of wild weather. We created a two page printable. The first page has dashed boxes where kids should write facts or definitions about each type of weather. The second page has solid boxes to cut out and then tape on over the fact boxes of the first page to make liftable flaps. We printed page one onto colored paper and page two onto white paper for the visual effect. The kids can draw a picture of the weather type on the flaps as well.
We have two different versions of this printable. The first has blank boxes so kids write in their own weather information. (click on the image to get the printable)
The second has the weather definitions already printed. Kids have to match the weather types to the correct definitions. (click on the image to get the printable)
- Talk about how to prepare for storms and disasters. There is no way to stop them and often no way to predict them, but we do know we will live through storms probably on a regular basis. There are things to do so that we don’t become victims. Go into greater detail on preparedness and emergency procedures for the types of storms that most often hit your area.
- A hurricane is a huge natural Carnot engine, a system that uses heat energy to produce mechanical energy as the energy moves from higher temperature to lower temperature areas. In the case of a hurricane heat is pulled from the ocean and moved up through the eye of the hurricane to the upper atmosphere. On the way much of the heat is transferred into the whirling winds that surround the eye. Heat energy transferred to mechanical energy.