Hurricane Safety

Hurricane

Credit: NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.

Hurricane season began on June 1st and runs until November 30th.  People who live near the Gulf of Mexico or along the Eastern Seaboard are very aware of the destructive nature of hurricanes.

Many people in the past lost their lives because they had no warning of the coming storm.  The Great Galveston Storm is one such storm in which thousands of people perished.

Today, because of satellite warning systems and rapid communication, we know almost as soon as a hurricane is born that it may be coming our way.  The U.S. Air Force sends specially equipped hurricane hunter planes out into the storm to measure it and bring back better information about its speed and winds.

One of my early memories is about sitting around the kitchen table with Dad and several siblings as the wind howled in the background.   My father was explaining how a hurricane was shaped using a tea cup with a spoon in it.  As he moved the handle of the spoon around in a circle, I could visualize the winds of Hurricane Audrey right outside our windows.  The center of the storm, the ‘eye’, was represented by the spoon bowl within the cup.   When the eye of the hurricane came through, we went outside and looked at all the downed trees, broken limbs, and rubble.  When the winds began again, they were going in the opposite direction as before in exactly the way predicted by the spoon in the cup.

A good activity for those homeschoolers living around the coastlines is to interview someone who has gone through a large storm.  There are many tales of storms and they are all interesting.

Tornadoes and hurricanes teach us that God is ultimately in control.  They also show us the strength of natural forces.  We can get complacent with winds and sea because they are usually so calm and safe, but when these forces are unleashed, nothing we can do can control them.  They can be a small picture of the forces unleashed during the flood of Noah when no small area was involved but the entire Earth.

Praise God for His control of the weather!

He loads the clouds with moisture;
he scatters his lightning through them.
At his direction they swirl around
over the face of the whole earth
to do whatever he commands them.
He brings the clouds to punish people,
or to water his earth and show his love.  –Job  37:11-13

Hurricane Safety

1.  Before the storm, look out for branches or trees which are ready to fall.  If they present a hazard to the house, trim them away.

2.  Before the storm, check to see that you have fresh water, batteries, canned or dry food, candles, medicines, first aid equipment, etc.  Remember that you may lose electricity for a time.

3.  Before the storm, cover your windows or tape the plate glass in a large X across the window.  While this will not prevent your windows from breaking if they are going to, it may help contain the glass shards…

4.  Before the storm, check outside to secure any loose objects which could be damaged or be a hazard in the wind.

5.  Before the storm, check your property and possessions for safety from high water levels.  Ask yourself whether the property will be in a safe place if the water floods.  Remember past floods to determine possible high water levels.  Appliances in the garage, for example, may have to be raised to a higher level to make sure they stay out of the water.

6.  During the storm, stay inside in a protected place.

7.  After the storm, remember that the water supply may be contaminated, so you may have to use purification procedures.

8.  After the storm, remember that the snakes and other hazardous animals will also be out and in the water.  Wading in the water is not safe.

9.  Don’t interfere with emergency vehicles.  It is best to stay in your place of safety until the waters recede.  Don’t get out on the roads out of curiosity.

10.  Check with your neighbors to see if anyone needs help.

Note:  You can see that these procedures are for people in the path of the storm and who live on the coastlines.  People further away from the storm’s center will have things to do, too, but not all of these things will apply.  For example, flooding is much greater near the shore than 100 miles inland.

Do you have hurricane experience or stories to share?  Leave a comment and tell us your story!

Comments { 0 }

Tornado Safety

In the spring months, across the United States, storms are violent and unleash rain, hail, lightning, and high winds.  Occasionally, especially in the central plains of North America, tornadoes form from the storms.  Although many tornadoes are spawned in the spring on the plains, they can occur almost anywhere where the conditions are right for their formation.

The safety tips listed here have been used successfully to save the lives of people trapped in the path of a tornado.  Practice them with your children so that in case of emergency, they will know exactly what to do even if you are not there.

If your community has a tornado warning horn, make sure that the children know what it means and what to do when they hear it.

Many homeschoolers are radio amateurs operating ham radio stations.  They can become tornado spotters by attending a class on the topic.  The class is very informative, has great videos of severe weather, and gives the hams concrete directions so that they can help others during a tornado watch.  Many children have attended this class.  By the way, learning to be a radio operator is an excellent way to do physics, especially since the student does not have to learn Morse code to pass the examination.

Tornado Safety

  1. When in your house, get away from windows and go to a central location in the house.  In a basement, under the stairs, or in a bathroom is best.
  2. Take with you a heavy blanket or a mattress to wrap up in or get under if you have time.
  3. Get down against a wall or under a desk with your arms over your head.
  4. When in a trailer, leave it and seek other, more secure shelter.
  5. Outside in your car, never try to outrun the tornado.
  6. Leave the car and seek shelter under a culvert or overpass.  When under an overpass, get up close under the upper level.
  7. If caught outside without protection, lie down in a ditch or low place with your arms over your head.
Comments { 0 }

Resources for Studying Trees

Identification Guides:

North American Wildlife This book includes color pictures of all the common trees, shrubs, and animals of North America.  Concise information about habitats, eating habits, and growth are included.

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees Western Region by Elbert Little.  (and you can also get the Eastern Region, as applicable)  Full colored pictures of the bark and the leaves of the trees of North America.

Peterson First Guide To Trees. Field guide for the beginning naturalist, with full color illustrations!

Plant Families-  How to Know Them. H. E. Jaques compiled this taxonomy key.  This pictured-key has almost all known members of the plant kingdom.

Trees:

Trees for American Gardens:  The Definitive Guide to Identification & Cultivation by Donald Wyman.  This is a tree book for the gardener who wants to know about the trees he has and about new trees he can get.  Many details about native trees as well as those cultivated, but not occurring in natural settings.

4-H Forestry Project: Forests of Fun. According to their website, “Forests of Fun provides a wealth of information and serves as the 4-H Forestry connection to the larger forestry community. You can find advanced activities, career information and an introduction to forestry organizations nationwide.”

Habitat Studies:

The Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Eastern United States. Janine Benyus wrote this book and the companion book: The Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Western United States. The line drawings within the books are great and there are lots of facts about the habitats we live in, including the trees.  She includes information on the habitats in all four seasons.

Plants in General:

Experimenting with Plants. Joel Beller wrote this wonderful book on plants with lots of hands on activities for the inquistitve experimenter.

Specific Information about your area:  Can get posters, lists and pictures of native living species, and publications.

  • Nature Centers
  • Museums
  • Agricultural Experiment Stations
  • Parks; City, State, National, and World Parks

Have any other great resources you’d like to share? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

Comments { 1 }