Storm’s A Comin’
Predicting Extreme Weather
Fierce hurricanes. Deadly tornadoes. The forces of nature aren’t always in our favor and predicting extreme weather conditions is difficult. This playlist looks at traditional methods of forecasting as well as cutting edge techniques that improve our ability to make lifesaving predictions. In particular, these resources will look closely at predicting the likelihood and path of a hurricane or tornado.
Before looking at how extreme weather can be predicted, make sure your students know the difference between everyday weather conditions and severe weather. This video describes the nature of tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes, droughts, and floods, as well as their impact on humans, plants, and animals.
This article takes a general look at the methods and tools that meteorologists use to make weather predictions and introduces students to important weather-related terms.
With only a few minutes warning time, tornadoes are notoriously difficult to predict and track. On the other hand, hurricanes give us time to prepare before making landfall. Both are examples of severe weather conditions that have led meteorologists on a quest to develop new methods for prediction.
Scholastic’s Weather Watch series allows for students to delve into all things weather-related. In this Analyze activity, students can review maps of the paths of hurricanes and tornadoes (in addition to winter storms and droughts) and use that information to prepare their own expert forecast.
This real-time weather map might also be helpful if students are learning to make their own predictions. See severe weather warnings of all kinds, by state.
Explore Weather Prediction Technology
Follow the brave hurricane hunters of NOAA, whose dangerous missions lead them directly into the eye of a storm. These hunters gather crucial data necessary to predict the path of a storm and how strong it will be. This video details the equipment and methods they use to obtain the info needed to keep people on the ground safe in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.
Satellite imagery plays a huge role in tracking severe weather, as well as day-to-day forecasting. This video explains the importance of the launch of the GOES-14 satellite. This new satellite provides weather-casters with higher resolution images of the earth from 22,000 miles away in space. These images help them to better visualize severe weather and increase warning times for the most extreme cases.
Drone technology gets a new application, this time in the study of storms. Researches are designing drones that can fly into dangerous storms. Read about how engineers are using drones to more closely analyze the superstorms that often lead to tornadoes so that they can better predict when they will strike.
Scientists are racing to figure out why some storms produce a volcano while others don’t. This video is lengthy yet valuable for its descriptions of some of the most recent developments in the study of tornadoes. Students will witness how different scientists approach this problem, from releasing their instruments into raging tornadoes to growing their own superstorms in a supercomputer simulation. The stunning visuals alone are enough to make this video worthwhile.
After students have spent time watching the videos and reading the article included in this section, have them compare the various technological approaches to weather prediction using this graphic organizer.
Eboni has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.
3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-ESS3-1 Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard.
4-ESS3-2 Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
5-ESS2-1 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
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