Monday, September 5, 2011

A Study of Hurricanes


It has been a long week.

The arrival of Irene on Saturday the 27th, brought with her wind and rain that seemed to go on forever. Although she was only a Category 1 by the time she made landfall, the storm was so SLOW to pass through North Carolina, that the damage was made that much worse.

Although our small place survived with only one tree down in the pasture and a bit of a leaky roof, many of my friends and neighbors did not fare so well. I could not get over the number of BIG trees that toppled around town in the late afternoon. Most of them finally succumbing to the winds after the ground could no longer hold them because it was completely sodden. Someone said we had 18 hours of torrential rain. I'm not sure, but I do know that it seemed endless.

We actually spent the day holed up in the center at the park where my husband works. I did not want to be left alone with the kids, and he had to go in to work to keep an eye on all the animals. So after a sleepless night (for me), off we all went. I spent the day watching all the trees in and around the park bending and shaking as the North wind blew them with a powerful blast. I had prepared an emergency kit and had stocked my car ahead of time with pillows and sleeping bags, movies and food, books and games. So my kids were quite happy throughout the day and were unaffected by the weather raging outside.

When we arrived home that night, it was to a dark and quiet house. And it was the same every night after that until we finally regained power on Thursday afternoon. The first few days were spend helping clean up the park, and then I decided that enough time had been wasted and so I proceeded to check out every book in the library on hurricanes. After all, if life gives you lemons, then the only thing to do is to make limonada!

We were fascinated to learn how hurricanes form, where they are found, the three parts of a hurricane (can you name all three?), and finally, how one dies. Studying explained so much - especially as to why Vermont suffered so badly. Here are some of the things that we discovered:

Hurricanes always form in tropic waters. These warmer waters provide the energy for the storms as the water evaporates more easily. A hurricane is "born" when air is heated by warm ocean waters and creates two or more thunderstorms over the ocean that come together and begin to rotate.

They can have three names: in the Atlantic they are called "hurricanes," in the Indian Ocean they are called "Cyclones," and in the Northern Pacific Ocean, they are called "Typhoons."

North of the equator, hurricanes always spin counterclockwise, but south of the equator, they all spin clockwise! This is due to the Coriolis effect.


The three parts of a hurricane are: the eye, the eye wall, and the spiral rainbands.

Take a look at this small printable book on hurricanes from Enchanted Learning.

We also talked about how meteorologists name hurricanes, alternating boy and girl names.

And, of course, we talked about how a hurricane dies. These powerful storms are hungry, and in order to continue to grow, they must be continually fed by the warm waters below. When it moves over land and loses its source of moisture, the hurricane falls apart dumping incredible amounts of water - which is why Vermont was so badly affected even though they have no coast!

Take a look at these awesome books on hurricanes:

Hurricane Book & CD (Read Along Book & CD) by David Wiesner

Eye of the Storm: A Book About Hurricanes (Amazing Science: Weather) by Thomas, Rick, Shea and Denise

Kingfisher Knowledge: Hurricanes, Tsunamis, and Other Natural Disasters by Andrew Langley

El Autobus Magico Dentro De Un Huracan  by Joanna Cole

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words this past week. They have meant so much to me.

Un abrazo a todos,

~Monica

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