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Talking to Kids About Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

por Mr Joseph N. Kirby (2021-05-19)

Some knowledge about tropical storms, emergency preparedness, and evacuation can help kids feel less anxious when a storm is in progress.
Hurricane season runs from May 15th to November 30th and affects the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific coastal areas. A hurricane, also known as a typhoon, is a type of violent, high-speed, rotating, cyclonic tropical storm with low pressure at its center. From space, it looks like a spiral.

Get Prepared: Create An Emergency Supply Kit and Family Plan provides steps for building a to-go bag and making a family emergency plan. They also have a website just for kids: FEMA Ready Kids with kid-oriented steps, following the Mountain Lion Family as they

  • create a kit,

  • make a plan, and

  • know the facts about hurricanes and other emergencies.

After your child completes these steps, they graduate from Readiness U.

Different Types of Storms

What's the difference between a hurricane and other types of storms?

  • Tornado: A rotating column of air appearing as a funnel-shaped cone, the downward extension of a cumulonimbus cloud in contact with the earth, with winds that reach up to 300 miles per hour. Tornado season runs from March through August. Also called a twister or cyclone.

  • Tsunami: A giant wave caused by an earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, or meteorite, typically occurring in the Pacific Ocean.

  • Hurricane: A severe tropical storm with heavy rains and winds 74 miles per hour or stronger rotating around an "eye," or center. Also called a typhoon.

Hurricane Research, Storm Prediction, and Tracking

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provides an educational website about hurricanes designed for K-12 kids. You can

  • Find out the origin of the word "hurricane," based in the religions of past civilizations;

  • Watch at hurricane survival video;

  • Play Storm Tracker, an online virtual experience in which kids use data to predict storms; and

  • Find out what's new in storm research.

Follow an Active Tropical Storm

At the National Hurricane Center, you can

  • Get updates and advisories on active hurricanes;

  • Take a look at the Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide (also, you can buy essay on this topic);

  • Download blank hurricane tracking charts; and

  • Find the Emergency Management Office in your area for more specific local resources.

The best way to prepare for a storm is to learn about it and know what to expect. Make a family emergency plan and create an emergency supply kit and a to-go bag in case of evacuation. Emergency preparedness applies to many types of emergencies and can serve to lessen anxiety in times when it matters most.