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Understanding & Tracking
Hurricanes
A Teaching Opportunity Hurricanes can be fearsome storms. They also offer a chance for students to test their skills at map reading, data plotting, understanding weather phenomena, and learning about the safety issues associated with hurricanes. This page offers a collection of resources for teachers interested in using the hurricane season as a teaching opportunity. Please note - this information is presented for instructional purposes only, and is not intended to provide complete, current, or accurate information for those in the vicinity of a hurricane. Consult your local authorities for this information.
Blank Tracking Map This is a GIF format graphic of a blank tracking chart. Print it out and students can use the chart to plot the path of a hurricane.
National Hurricane Center The National Weather Service's home page for hurricane information, with links to satellite images, tracking forecasts, and storm warnings. This is the source for most of the commercially available storm data available on the web.
FEMA Hurricane Page This is another route to government data on forecast information, storm tracks, disaster management information, hurricane preparedness, and related issues. FEMA also publishes a manual titled Surviving the Storm which can be downloaded as an Adobe Acrobat file using the link below.
Online Hurricane Guide

This impressive guide from the University of Illinois offers a large collection of resources for teaching meteorology and the formation and behavior of hurricanes. The site has over 20 years' of hurricane tracks stored for review, and many of the visuals will require the Shockwave or Cosmo plug-ins. The opening page has a large animated graphic which takes a while to load. Be patient; the other resources are worth the wait.

  • Case Study - Hurricane Andrew - A more detailed retrospective that examines the hurricane which did extensive damage in Florida in August, 1992.
How Hurricanes Work The Why Files' "An Ill Wind" explains the science behind the formation and behavior of hurricanes using clear text and some neat, simple animations. This site is a great introduction to these huge storms for younger students.
Hurricane Guide

The Miami Museum of Science is building this new site to help younger students understand hurricanes and how to prepare for them. The site includes lots of graphics showing how storms develop, as well as information on how to stay safe if there's a hurricane headed your way. The site includes a teachers guide, as well as a section for children who have survived a hurricane. Additional features are on the way.

Build a Hurricane-proof House

Here's a student activity developed by a classroom teacher to show how wind affects structures. There are pictures illustrating the simulation as well as a downloadable Adobe Acrobat file with complete instructions on the actibity. Made available with the help of the American Red Cross.

Hurricane Names
Here's FEMA's listing of this year's storm names. There are also links to other FEMA materials.
Commercial Resources Here's a collection of resources which present hurricane information and data, including visual and infrared satellite images.
  • You Decide! - Here's a hurricane simulation lesson that lets students be the mayor of  a Florida city in the path of a hurricane. Students must weigh weather, economics, and public safety in making a series of decisions in response to the advancing storm. The site includes a guide for teachers.
  • Visualize the Storm - This CNN site offers a "virtual reality" look inside a hurricane to show how the wind currents drive the storm. You'll need the Cosmo VRML player, available from the TeachersFirst Toolbox.
  • Weather Underground - Maps and quick connections to strike probabilities and NOAA forecast data. Images from several different sources.
  • The Weather Channel - This cable service's tropical update page presents storm information in the context of the other Weather Channel web offerings. New updates will be available as the 2002 hurricane season begins.

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