Expand and double-click Hurricane Katrina

Expand and double-click Hurricane Katrina

Because the warm air is denser and moves more slowly.

C. Because the cold air is denser and moves faster.

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D. Because the warm air is lighter and moves more slowly.

Question 22: What type of weather do we see during the occluded front?

A. Temperature rising, no rainfall

B. Temperature rising, variable (light to heavy) rainfall

C. Temperature dropping, no rainfall

D. Temperature dropping, variable (light to heavy) rainfall

Question 23: Where does the heaviest rainfall occur – along the cold front or the warm front?

A. Cold front

B. Warm front.

C. Rainfall is equal along both fronts.

D. There is no rainfall along either front.

Collapse and uncheck the MID-LATITUDE CYCLONES folder.

THUNDERSTORMS AND TORNADOS

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are formed when parcels of unstable (warm, moist) air are lifted rapidly and vertically from the ground. Lifting mechanisms include convective lifting from the unequal warming of the ground, orographic lifting from air forced over a mountain or similar terrain, or frontal lifting from the leading edge of a cold or warm front. Rapid ascension of unstable air creates strong updrafts (upward moving air) and intense adiabatic cooling (that is, cooling without interacting with the surrounding air). When the updrafts reach the maximum altitude (usually in the troposphere, or over 12 km (40,000 feet) from the Earth’s surface), they change direction and become downdrafts, and precipitate.

Typical thunderstorms have weak updrafts and weak downdrafts. Thunderstorms that produce flash floods have strong updrafts but weak downdrafts. Thunderstorms that produce downbursts (or microbursts) of downward, divergent air have weak updrafts but strong downdrafts. When strong updrafts and down drafts are present severe thunderstorms known as supercells are formed. Associated with these thunderstorms are the anvil shaped cumulonimbus clouds, heavy rains or hail, thunder and lightning, gusts of wind, mesocyclones (strong vertical updrafts that rotate and form a vortex of air), and sometimes tornadoes.

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Expand the THUNDERSTORMS AND TORNADOS folder.

Click Thunderstorms.

Question 24: At what stage(s) does updraft develop?

A. Cumulus stage

B. Developmental stage

C. Mature stage

D. Dissipation stage

Question 25: At what stage(s) does the atmosphere cool and stabilize?

A. Cumulus stage

B. Developmental stage

C. Mature stage

D. Dissipation stage

Tornadoes

Tornadoes form as a result of strong updrafts combined with wind shear (the difference in wind direction and speed with altitude). The combination changes the rotation of air from a horizontal axis to a vertical axis. When the funnel reaches the ground, it has evolved into a tornado.

Click Tornado Formation for the animation of the evolution of a tornado and practice categorizing tornadoes using the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Question 26: What does an area look like when it is hit by a EF2 tornado?

A. Roofs stripped, mobile homes flipped over, windows broken

B. Large trees uprooted, mobile homes destroyed, roofs ripped off houses

C. Siding stripped, Shingles peeled off roofs, tree branches broken

D. Several damage to shopping centers, cars thrown about

Question 27: What does an area look like when it is hit by a EF4 tornado?

A. Roofs stripped, mobile homes flipped over, windows broken

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B. Large trees uprooted, mobile homes destroyed, roofs ripped off houses

C. Siding stripped, Shingles peeled off roofs, tree branches broken

D. Devastating damage, cars thrown about

Select Tornado Tracks and Icons.

The following tornado data is from the NOAA National Weather Service. Tornados have been classified by the original Fujita Scale (the tornado scale used until 2007); classification ranges from F0 to F5.

Uncheck Tornado Tracks and Icons.

Double-click and expand Tornadoes by F-scale.

Select F0.

F0 are the weakest tornados, and have the least amount of damage. They are also the most common.

Question 28: Which states west of the Mississippi River do not have an F0 tornado recorded?

A. Nevada

B. Utah

C. Washington

D. Every state west of the Mississippi River has had an F0 tornado.

Unselect F0 and then select F1. Note the geographic distribution of tornadoes at this strength.

Repeat F2-F5.

Question 29: How has the frequency and location of tornados changed as the strength increases?

A. The frequency increases and location tends to be in the east half of the US

B. The frequency increases and the location is somewhat random

C. The frequency decreases and location tends to be in the east half of the US

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D. The frequency decreases and the location is somewhat random

Collapse and uncheck Tornadoes by F-scale.

Expand Tornadoes by Month. Select and examine each month.

Question 30: Which couple of months has the most tornadoes?

A. January/February

B. April/May

C. July August

D. August/September

Collapse and uncheck THUNDERSTORMS AND TORNADOS.

TROPICAL CYCLONES

Tropical cyclones have different names, depending on where they develop. In the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans, they are called hurricanes. In the Indian Ocean they are known as cyclones and in the eastern Pacific they are identified as typhoons.

Tropical cyclones are storm systems of low pressure surrounded by a complex spiral of thunderstorms. Unlike mid-latitude cyclones, tropical cyclones do not form in regions with fronts. Rather, hurricanes develop where the atmosphere is relatively homogenous – but with a high pressure aloft to “cap” the low pressure storm. These storm systems rely on energy from warm water to develop, and as such, form in low latitudes.

Expand TROPICAL CYCLONES.

Expand Historical Hurricane Tracks.

Select Legend and then double-click and select Atlantic: 2000-2012 (Note: The imagery might take a few minutes to upload).

Question 31: Explain the general pathway of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.

A. They form in different places, but generally end up off the coast of Africa

B. They travel east across the Atlantic before diverging

C. The pathways are random in direction

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D. They travel west across the Atlantic before diverging

Uncheck Atlantic: 2000-2012.

Double-click and select Eastern North Pacific 2000-2012 (Note: The imagery might take a few minutes to upload).

Question 32: Explain the general pathway of typhoons in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

A. They generally form off the coast of Mexico and head toward Hawai’i

B. They form in different places, but generally end up off the coast of Mexico

C. They travel east across the Pacific before diverging

D. The pathways are random in direction

Collapse and uncheck Historical Hurricane Tracks.

Expand and double-click Hurricane Katrina – 2005. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

Select Katrina Landfall Video. Watch the time lapse of Hurricane Katrina as it hits Louisiana.

Double-click and select Tracks and view the pathway of this hurricane from the Caribbean Sea to North America.

Select Hurricane.

Question 33: Geographically, where was Hurricane Katrina the strongest (an H5 –shown as a red circle)?

A. In the Atlantic Ocean

B. In the Caribbean sea

C. In the Gulf of Mexico

D. New Orleans, LA

Question 34: What happened to the Hurricane once it hit land?

A. It dissipated

B. It continued north at the same strength

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C. It continued north but with decreasing strength

D. It became a tropical storm

Collapse and uncheck Hurricane Katrina.

Double-click and select Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy is considered the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, measuring in at over 1100 miles (1800 km) in diameter.

Question 35: True or False: The storm system that hit New Jersey and the surrounding area on October 29 was a tropical cyclone.

A. True

B. False

Question 36: Explain your answer in the previous question.

A. Tropical cyclones do not travel that far north
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