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Severe Weather

Thunderstorms, Tornadoes,
Hurricanes, etc

Today we will learn


Tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards,
and thunderstorms are severe
weather phenomena that impact
society and ecosystems
The movement of air in the
atmosphere is due to differences in
air density resulting from
variations in temperature. Many
weather conditions can be
explained by fronts that occur
when air masses meet.

Thunderstorms
Thunderstorms are most often

associated with a Cumulonimbus


Cloud
This is a cloud that forms when
air is forced high into the
atmosphere (against its will)
Cold fronts often create this
condition
This produces an UNSTABLE
environment
The process of cooling,
condensing, cloud formation,
saturation and precipitation
occurs quickly
Cold fronts often create the
proper conditions for this to occur

Lightning
Lightning is

believed to be
created by friction
between the rising
updraft and the
falling downdraft in
a cumulonimbus
cloud

Thunder
When lightning

strikes, the bolt


can be as hot as
30,000 degrees
The thunder is a
sonic boom

Hail

Tornadoes

Thought to be the 1st photograph of a tornado (1884)

Tornadoes
Violent windstorms that take

the form of a rotating column


of air, or vortex, that extends
downward from a
cumulonimbus cloud.
Because of the lower pressure
in the center vortex, air near
the ground rushes into the
tornado from all directions.
Air streams inward, it is
spiraled upward around the
core until it eventually
merges with the airflow or the
parent thunderstorm deep in
a cumulonimbus tower.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes

Tornado Development
Less than 1% of
thunderstorms
produce
tornadoes.

Tornado Classification
Fujita Intensity Scale-

Assesses the
damage produced by
a storm as it relates
to wind speed.
F0- Moderate; 4072 mph
F5- Severe; 261318 mph
Path of Destruction
Duration

Watches & Warnings


Tornado Watch
Conditions are ideal
for a tornado to be
created.

Tornado Warning
An actual tornado has
been sighted in the
area or is indicated
by weather radar.

Tornado Frequency in the US

Tornado Frequency Around the


World

Cool Tornado Pictures

Hurricanes

Hurricane Formation
The hurricanes

that strike the


Caribbean, Gulf of
Mexico and the
US originate in
Africa
They begin as low
pressure storm
systems over land

Hurricane Movement
Once the

growing low
pressure system
is out over the
warm water of
the Atlantic
Ocean, the
Trade Winds
blow it to the
west

Hurricanes, Typhoons and


Cyclones
We give different

names to Tropical
Storms that develop,
depending on their
location
In the Atlantic Ocean
we call them
Hurricanes
In the Pacific Ocean we
call the Typhoons
In the Indian Ocean we
call them Cyclones
They are all basically
the same type of storm

Hurricane Dangers
The most dangerous

component of a hurricane
is the Storm Surge
As the storm makes
landfall, a mound of ocean
water (driven by strong
winds AND the sucking
power of the strong low
pressure system) is
pushed on shore
More people die as a result
of drowning, than do of
strong winds

Hurricane Classification
The Safir-Simpson Scale
Type

KNOTS

MPH

millibars

inches of
mercury

Feet

Mete
rs

Damag
e

Depressio
n

less
than 34

less
than 39

------

------

------

------

------

Tropical
Storm

35 - 63

39 - 73

------

------

------

------

------

Category
1

64 - 82

74 - 95

greater
than 980

greater than
28.94

3-5

1.0 1.7

minimal

Category
2

83 - 95

96 - 110

979 - 965

28.50 - 28.91

6-8

1.8 2.6

moderat
e

Category
3

96 - 113

111 130

964 - 945

27.91 - 28.47

912

2.7 3.8

extensiv
e

Category
4

114 135

131 155

944 - 920

27.17 - 27.88

13 18

3.9 5.6

extreme

Category
5

136+

156+

less than
920

less than
27.17

19+

5.7+

catastroph
ic

Hurricane Katrina
In August of 2005, Tropical

Storm Katrina developed


over the Bahamas
As it approached Florida, it
developed into a Category I
hurricane
It lost some strength over
the land (turned back into a
Tropical Storm), but picked
right back up when it
moved back over the warm
water of the Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Katrina
As the storm moved across

the Gulf of Mexico, it


RAPIDLY developed (from a
Category II to a Category V
in only 9 hours)
Wind speeds reached 175
mph
A mound of water was
pushed toward Louisiana and
Mississippi
even though wind speeds
slowed (to a Category III) by
the time it made landfall

Flooding
While the storm surge

associated with Katrina


was estimated to be 28
feet above normal sea
level
In addition, much of the
city is BELOW sea level
A systems of levees and
dams were supposed to
protect the city, but this
was too high
85% of the city flooded

The Aftermath
The most destructive and

costliest natural disaster in


the history of the US
More than $81 billion dollars
in damage
More that 1800 people died
(700 still listed as missing)
More than 90,000 square
miles declared a Federal
Disaster Area
More than 3 million people
were left without power

In Addition
There were unforeseen
economic effects

Gas and Oil production shutdowns


Unemployment
Insurance Company
Bankruptcies
Relocation/Flight from the
region

Environmental Effects

Oil Spills
Erosion
Sewage
Loss of Marine and Animal life

Looting and Violence

Winter Storms
A winter storm is an event in which

the varieties of precipitation are


formed that only occur at low
temperatures, such as snow or sleet,
or a rainstorm where ground
temperatures are low enough to
allow ice to form (i.e. freezing rain).

Winter Storms
Blizzard = Blowing snow and
reduced visibility
Main Hazards

Vehicle accidents
Hypothermia
Exertion
Immobility