Snowstorms Snow can transform the world into a winter wonderland, but it can also be deadly. On the afternoon of 23rd February 1999, a slab of snow weighing 170,000 tonnes broke away from an Austrian mountain slope forming a deadly avalanche. It roared toward the village of Gultur, destroying everything in its path and crushing 30 people to death. What Is Snow? Snow forms when tiny ice crystals in clouds stick together and form snowflakes. This happens very high up where the air’s temperature is below 0°C, the freezing point of water. If the air close to the ground is also cold, the snow will settle there and not melt. Some places are so cold that the snow stays there all year round! Snowflakes come in an amazing variety of shapes, but usually have six sides. No one has ever found two the Drivers Beware! Apart from avalanches, the other main hazard from snow can effect travellers in cars. Drivers need to be especially careful not to slip and slide around on the icy roads. During heavy snowstorms it is possible there is so much snow that you can hardly see in front of your vehicle. This is called a “white out”. Slow right down if you find yourself in these conditions. Most people enjoy snow, as long as they wrap up well in warm clothes, but if you live next to an old person, why not offer to clear the snow from their garden path. Then they won’t slip and fall over when they go out. Tornadoes One of the most spectacular forms of extreme weather are tornadoes! People love them so much they will go on tornado or twister chasing holidays driving around in metal armoured cars! What Is A Tornado? A tornado is like a gigantic, whirling vacuum cleaner that can suck up anything they touch, including farm animals, people and even cars. It is the most violent concentration of energy the atmosphere can produce. As a tornado picks up torn off branches and parts of buildings, the debris flies around the funnel at high speed, smashing into other things. Where Do Tornadoes Happen? Tornado Alley Nearly all tornadoes happen in a part of the U.S.A. called “Tornado Alley”. However, they can develop over most of the world. In the U.K., there are about 60 a year! If a tornado forms over water, it sucks up large amounts of water and is called a waterspout. Though most tornadoes have quite narrow funnels, if they hit your house, they can cause lots of damage, ripping off roofs and blowing out windows. In Tornado Alley, houses are built with an underground cellar with a strong door so that even if you house above ground is destroyed you will survive! Thunderstorms FLASH……...BOOM! (Scream!) If you go to school in Thailand, every so often you will see, hear and feel a very exciting form of weather… thunderstorms! What Is Thunder And Lightning? The flash, called lightning, is what we see when a gigantic spark of powerful electricity jumps from a storm cloud to the ground. The boom we hear, the thunder, is caused when the lightning superheats the air it is travelling through, making it explode outwards. This causes a very loud sound wave that can be heard miles away. Why Does Lightning Come Before Thunder? Light waves travel very, very fast! ))))))))))) Sound waves are much slower. The light reaches the boy before the sound. The light created in a lightning bolt travels at the speed of light: 300,000 km per second. Sound waves are roughly a thousand times slower travelling about 300 km per second. So unless your thunderstorm is directly above you we usually see the flash before we hear the bang. Though thunder and lightning can be exciting, the energy released by the lightning is so powerful, it could kill anyone it hits. So when a thunderstorm starts, you should get out of a swimming pool, get under a solid shelter. Don’t shelter under a tree or stand up on open ground. Hurricanes Board up your windows! Stay indoors! A hurricane is coming your way! Hurricanes are the biggest, most violent and most destructive storms our planet is capable of producing. What Is A Hurricane? From space you can clearly see the eye of this hurricane about to hit the United States. Hurricanes form from small storms over tropical oceans. Fed by humid air rising from the warm ocean and the rotation of the earth, they grow into a monstrous swirling mass of cloud as they drift westward. The most deadly winds occur in the eye wall, a circular wall of cloud surrounding a central hole called an eye. Winds speeds can reach more than 240 km per hour in the eye wall. Storm Surge Most people who die in hurricanes are killed by the sea. The eye of the storm sucks up the sea beneath it by as much as 6m. At the same time, violent winds whip up waves as tall as houses. These two things together produce a “storm surge” - towering walls of sea water that surge inland for kilometres, sweeping away boats, trees and buildings. Though Thailand is generally safe from hurricanes, earlier this year a hurricane that hit the Philippines and Vietnam went on to reach Thailand. Though the hurricane has lost most of its power and we didn’t experience the high winds the other countries did, we did get 3 days of almost continual rain! All the student and staff had to carry umbrellas and be prepared for rainy playtimes.
© Copyright 2021 Paperzz