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Hurricane Season Blows In




  • Science
    --Physical Science
    ----Earth Science
  • Social Studies


Grades 2-up

News Content

The 2005 hurricane season looks like it could be a rough one.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to agree or disagree with each of the statements below.

  • So far, the 2005 hurricane season has been a bad one.
  • A tropical storm is the name given to a serious hurricane.
  • Hurricane season lasts from August 1 to September 30.
  • The center of a hurricane is called its core.

    News Words

    Introduce these words before students read the article:

  • power outage -- a period with no electricity, often caused by storms
  • tropical storm -- a weather system with winds of at least 35 miles per hour
  • hurricane -- a tropical storm with winds of at least 74 miles per hour

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this week's news story Hurricane Season Blows In.

    Reading the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.
    • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.
    • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this week's news story.

  • Hurricanes are given names in alphabetical order, with alternating male and female names. For example, in 2005, hurricanes are to be named in this order: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince, Wilmathe. This hurricane name list will be used again in seven years, in 2012. If any one of the 2005 hurricanes causes major damage, that hurricane's name will be retired and not used again in 2012.
  • Have you ever heard the terms typhoon or cyclone? Those are other names for a hurricane. The term typhoon is used when referring to hurricanes that happen in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. The term cyclone is used when referring to hurricanes that happen in the Indian Ocean or the Southwest Pacific Ocean.
  • In May, hurricane forecasters predicted eight hurricanes would form this season. Of those storms, four would be major hurricanes (with winds of at least 111 miles an hour). Due to particularly storm-friendly climate conditions, however, forecasters have recently revised those numbers upward. They now think 10 hurricanes will form, and that six will become major hurricanes.
  • The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale helps scientists classify the intensity of hurricanes as Category 1 (winds 74-95 miles per hour), Category 2 (96-110 mph), Category 3 (111-130 mph), Category 4 (131-155 mph), or Category 5 (156 mph or greater).
  • The 2004 season -- during which four powerful hurricanes struck Florida -- was the most expensive on record. It caused about $45 billion in damages.
  • Mid-August to September 10 is considered "peak hurricane season."
  • The 1933 hurricane season was the most active on record. That year, 21 tropical storms formed, creating 10 hurricanes, 5 of which became major hurricanes.

    Comprehension Check

    Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to the statements in it.

  • So far, the 2005 hurricane season has been a bad one. (true)
  • A tropical storm is the name given to a serious hurricane. (That statement has the facts backwards; "hurricane" is a term given to a serious tropical storm.)
  • Hurricane season lasts from August 1 to September 30. (Officially, hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30.)
  • The center of a hurricane is called its core. (The center of a hurricane is called its "eye.")

    You might follow-up that activity with some of these questions:

    Recalling Detail

  • Off which continent do many tropical storms begin? (Africa)
  • In order for a tropical storm to be upgraded to a hurricane, how strong must its winds be? (74 miles per hour)
  • How strong were the winds of this year's Hurricane Dennis? (They reached speeds of 120 miles per hour.)
  • Where did Hurricane Emily hit this year? (Mexico)

    Think About the News
    Hurricanes can cause damage and power outages. Would you be prepared if the power went out in your home for a day or more? If you were to put together a kit of supplies that you might want to have if the power goes out, what would you put in that kit? Write students' responses on a board or chart. Then check students' suggestions against the suggestions that appear on the What Should I Do? page on the FEMA Web site. Their suggested power-outage kit supplies include a flashlight with extra batteries; a portable, battery-operated radio; a first aid kit and manual; emergency food and water; a non-electric can opener; essential medicines; and cash and credit cards. Talk about other ways in which people might prepare for a hurricane.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Math. Introduce students to the math word problems found at Disaster Math on the FEMA for Kids Web site.

    Geography. When the next tropical storm begins brewing, have students track the storm on Hurricane Tracking Chart 1, Hurricane Tracking Chart 2, or Hurricane Tracking Chart 3. You can get up-to-date longitude and latitude positions of tropical disturbances at any one of these Web sites:

  • Hurricane & Storm Tracking
  •'s Hurricane Center
  • WESH Hurricane Tracker


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    National Standards

    GRADES K - 4
    NS.K-4.4 Earth and Space Science
    NS.K-4.5 Science and Technology
    NS.K-4.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NS.5-8.4 Earth and Space Science
    NS.5-8.5 Science and Technology
    NS.5-8.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NS.9-12.4 Earth and Space Science
    NS.9-12.5 Science and Technology
    NS.9-12.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.5 Environment and Society

    GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts

    See more recent news stories in Education World's New Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2005 Education World