Nature Near You highlights hurricanes
The 12th week of Nature Near You, the Sanibel Sea School’s e-newsletter, featured backyard activities to learn about hurricanes.
As hurricane season kicked off on June 1, Nature Near You participants turned their attention to the science of hurricanes. While hurricanes and tropical storms are experienced more commonly in Florida, the effects of the storms can be felt across the country as recently seen with Tropical Storm Cristobal. Participants discussed how hurricanes are formed, categorized and named.
Marine Science Educator Alex Cook shared the necessary ingredients for a hurricane – warm water and wind.
“Warm, wet air rises away from the ocean, leaving low pressure air underneath it, creating thunderstorms,” she said. “The rising air cools, forming clouds. These clouds build and grow, fed by more warm, moist air. The evaporation of warm water provides the energy needed for a storm to become a hurricane.”
Hurricanes are categorized by their wind speeds from Category 1-5 and are named when they reach the strength of a tropical storm. Hurricanes use a rotating list of alphabetical names that is maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.
For the week’s activity, Nature Near You participants created a “Hurricane in a Bowl” to get a better visualization of how hurricanes spin, noting the “eye” and “outer bands” of their countertop hurricanes.
Assisting Counselor in Training Abby Hendershot took hands-on learning to another level with her custom Hurricane Obstacle Course. She created a backyard course featuring obstacles that symbolize the different stages of a hurricane. Hendershot and some assistants tackled the course, which can be seen on Sanibel Sea School’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/sanibelseaschool.
Hurricanes can be devastating for communities, so it is important to take them seriously and have a plan for when they strike. By understanding the science of hurricanes, participants can have a better sense of how powerful the storms can be and the impacts that can have when they reach land.
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Part of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation family, the Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.