Plotting a Hurricane

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, this activity has real relevance for you.  Use it to practice before plotting some real hurricanes.

If you live inland, out of the path of hurricanes, this activity will lend impact to the weather news you hear about and overlook.

Either way, this plotting exercise is good practice for the scientific skill of recording!

Purpose

To practice locating coordinates on a map and to learn to predict the path of a storm.

Materials

Procedure

  1. On your map, make a small mark for each coordinate set from 1 -4 (below) showing the location of a storm named Kelly.
  2. Connect the marks with a dotted line showing the motion of the storm.
  3. Draw small arrowheads showing the direction of motion of the storm.
  4. In another color, predict with a dotted line where you think the storm will go.
  5. Look at the coordinates 5-10 to see if your prediction is correct.
  6. Finish plotting the coordinates 5 – 10, connect the marks, and draw the arrowheads showing direction.  You have completed your plot of Hurricane Kelly.
  7. Using a compass, draw a circle centered on coordinate 5.  The circle should be scaled to 100 miles in radius according to your map.  This circle shows the area which is affected by the hurricane directly.  Of course, the area of rains and slight winds will extend beyond this circle.
  8. To show the affected area of the hurricane at landfall, use coordinate 7 as the center of the circle.  All of the coastlines within this circle will undergo flooding.  Outlying areas will experience heavy rains and less flooding conditions.
  9. At the center of the circle, draw another, smaller circle of 25 miles diameter.  This smaller circle represents the eye of the storm at landfall.

Questions

  1. Where would you expect there to be the greatest flooding?  Highest tides?
  2. What is the direction of the wind at landfall?  Does this ever change?
  3. Where was the hurricane when it became a tropical storm? (This occurs when the wind speed hits 39 miles per hour)  An official hurricane?  (74 miles per hour).
  4. What happened to the hurricane after it reached land?

Time and DateNorth latitudeWest longitudeWind spd
1.Tuesday, Aug. 815°72°36 mph
2.Wednesday, Aug. 9, 8am14°75°40 mph
3.Wednesday, Aug. 9, 6pm16°77°52 mph
4.Thursday, Aug. 10, 8 am18°81°65 mph
5.Thursday, Aug. 10, 6 pm23°87°76 mph
6.Friday, Aug. 11, 8 am27°88°93 mph
7.Friday, Aug. 11, 6 pm29°92°112 mph
8.Saturday, Aug. 12, 8 am30°94°107 mph
9.Saturday, Aug. 12, 6 pm32°94°85 mph
9.Sunday, Aug. 13, 8 am38°95°35 mph

Now you are ready to plot some real hurricanes! Once again, you can download a hurricane plotting chart here.

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