Severe Weather Awareness

Graduation Requirements
Science
Equipment/Materials Needed
No special equipment or materials are required
tornado
Description
Anyone living in Kansas needs to be aware of potential severe weather events



Badge Completion Requirements

Severe Thunderstorms

All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. In the United States, an average of 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year by lightning. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms. Other associated dangers of thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail, and flash flooding. Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities—more than 140 annually—than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard.

Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires.

Facts About Thunderstorms

  • They may occur singly, in clusters, or in lines.
  • Some of the most dangerous thunderstorms occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
  • Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development.

Facts About Lightning

  • Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.
  • Lightning often strikes outside of the heavy rain in the thunderstorm and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
  • "Heat lightning" is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction!
  • Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
  • Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000 but could be reduced even further by taking safety precautions.
  • Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.

Please review storm safety tips.

Hail

Hail forms when thunderstorm updrafts are strong enough to carry water droplets well above the freezing level. This freezing process forms a hailstone, which can grow as additional water freezes onto it. Eventually, the hailstone becomes too heavy for the updrafts to support it and it falls to the ground.

Hail

The material below explains how hail is formed

 

https://whyfiles.org/2010/how-does-hail-form-2/index.html

 

The largest recorded hailstone in the U.S. was nearly as big as a volleyball and fell on July 23, 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota. It was 8 inches in diameter and weighed almost 2 pounds.

Fortunately, baseball-sized and larger hail isn't very common, on average just 24 people per year are reported injured by hail. But such injuries can be very dangerous and painful, so it's important to pay attention to your local forecast if you suspect storms are nearby.

Prompts

Explain which is most dangerous, lightning or tornadoes

Discuss how thunderstorms develop

Explain how a hailstone can become the size of a tennis ball

In Kansas severe weather usually moves in what direction?

Explain why you should go to a safe place when you hear thunder

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of Thunderstorms. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

Tornadoes

A tornado is a mobile, destructive vortex of violently rotating winds having the appearance of a funnel-shaped cloud and advancing beneath a large storm system.

Most tornadoes form from thunderstorms. You need warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air from Canada. ... Rising air within the updraft tilts the rotating air from horizontal to vertical. An area of rotation, 2-6 miles wide, now extends through much of the storm.

An essential key in identifying and tracking tornadoes is the use of the radar, more specifically a doppler radar. Doppler radar can identify the direction of air flow around a severe thunderstorm watching for the formation of a circular wind motion. 

Tornado Safety 

Prompts

Discuss the key factors that increase your chance of surviving a tornado

Explain what is included in a well prepared 1st aid kit

Discuss what atmospheric conditions are necessary for the development of a tornado 

Explain how a doppler radar is beneficial during severe weather

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of a tornado and safety precautions. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

Weather Watches and Warnings

Many people don't know exactly what a severe thunderstorm is, or the difference between a watch and a warning.

Below is the official "Watches and Warnings" definitions release by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Please take time to review this information.

https://www.weather.gov/lwx/WarningsDefined

(copy and paste in the search bar)

Since we live in the state of Kansas, we'll be focusing on Thunderstorm Warning/ Watch and Tornado Warning/Watch.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.

Severe thunderstorms are defined as follows:

1) Winds of 58 mph or higher

AND/OR

2) Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.

 

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent in the warning area.

Severe thunderstorms are defined as follows:

1) Winds of 58 mph or higher

AND/OR

2) Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.

 

Tornado Watch

A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.

Severe thunderstorms are defined as follows:

1) Winds of 58 mph or higher

AND/OR

2) Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.

 

Tornado Warning

A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado is imminent. When a tornado warning is issued, seek safe shelter immediately.

Prompts

Provide 2 additional "watches and warning" types that someone living in central Kansas should be familiar with.

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of the differences between weather related watches and warnings.  Please include the "prompts" in your presentation.