Tracking Hurricanes

Tracking Hurricanes


This sheet contains sample answers corresponding to the questions outlined on the student esheet.

Step 1:

  • Is public awareness about hurricanes better today than it was in the early 1900s?

(Yes, it is. Today, people threatened by hurricanes receive warnings one or two days in advance, after already being aware of its existence days earlier. Back in the early 1900s, people had less than a day to prepare for oncoming tropical storms because of limited technology.)

  • Does this change in hurricane awareness help people today? If so, how?

(Answers will vary.)

  • What kinds of technology help scientists to identify and follow hurricanes?

(They include satellites, radars, airplanes, and other machines. Note: it may be necessary to briefly explain what satellites and radars are and what they basically do.)

  • What do meteorologists do when they see a tropical storm using radars and satellites?

(They monitor the storms and issue hurricane watches and warnings to the public so that they have time to prepare in case the storm reaches their area.)

  • What is the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning?

(A Hurricane Watch informs the public that hurricane-type weather poses a possible threat to the region, while a Hurricane Warning informs the public that a hurricane is expected in a specific area within 24 hours.)

  • Who are hurricane hunters? What do they do?

(Hurricane hunters fly airplanes with special weather instruments straight into the middle of hurricanes and other powerful storms to gather information about the storm’s position and intensity.)

  • Is the job of a hurricane hunter something you would ever do? Why or why not?

(Answers will vary.)

Step 2:

  • Watch Hurricane Georges from 1998. How does this hurricane begin and end?

(It begins and ends as a tropical depression moving at speeds less than 34 knots.)

  • Watch Hurricane Fran from 1996. What happens to this hurricane when it reaches the United States?

(It slows down from a category 3 hurricane to a tropical storm, then tropical depression as it goes further.)

  • Watch Hurricane Andrew from 1992. What is the highest category this hurricane reached?

(It reached the level of a category 4 hurricane with a top wind speed of approximately 135 knots an hour.)

Step 3:

  • What is happening today in the West Pacific?

(Answers will vary.)

Step 4:

  • What does this map do?

(It measures the daily temperatures of different regions of North America.)

  • What do the colors represent?

(The different colors on the scale at the bottom of the map reflect the different temperatures in the regions they

  • In what part of the United States is it the hottest today? The coolest?

(Answers will vary.)

  • How does the temperature in Texas compare to that in California?

(Answers will vary.)

Step 5:

  • Do you see any storms moving over the United States? Where?

(Answers will vary.)

  • Look at the scale at the bottom of the map. What kinds of storms are they? Are they serious?

(Answers will vary.)

  • In what direction are they moving?

(Answers will vary.)

  • How do radar images like this help scientists and meteorologists track and measure the weather?

(Answers will vary.)

  • Do you think scientists would be able to follow the weather without machines like radars or satellites? Why or why not?

(Answers will vary. The storms are either too big and/or too far away for the human eye to accurately follow. Technology is needed to gain and measure up-to-date accurate details about all aspects of weather in order to inform and prepare society for any possible developments or danger.)

Step 6:

  • By the way, what are satellites? What do they do?

(Answers will vary. In general, they are human-made machines that orbit the earth collecting data, taking photos, and other functions.)

  • Which regions of the United States have the most clouds?

(Answers will vary.)

  • Look at the scale below the map. Where are the highest clouds and coldest weather? In what direction are they moving?

(Answers will vary.)

  • Which areas have the clearest weather?

(Answers will vary.)

  • How accurate do you think the information is on the screen? Why?

(Answers will vary.)

This teacher sheet is a part of the Hurricanes 2: Tracking Hurricanes lesson.

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