Extreme Weather Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

Mother Nature can be pretty mean and she shows it with her weather. It can seem like an all-out attack on the planet, at times. Extreme weather can have serious consequences across the planet and this lesson will discuss some of those extreme cases.

What Makes Weather Extreme?

So your mom made you take the dog out this morning and it was really cold. And rainy! Now you may think that this was extreme weather, but extreme weather is when conditions are way extreme compared to the average weather. It's when a weather event is so different from the average that it has dramatic effects. One thing to realize about extreme weather is that not every place can experience all extreme weather events. For example, the midwestern United States has to worry about tornadoes, but won't ever have to experience a hurricane. It's also important to know that extreme weather must be a result of weather. That means that volcanoes, tsunamis and earthquakes are not extreme weather, they are geological events.

What are the Types of Extreme Weather?

Let's start with a really common severe weather event - lightning. Lightning is normal in many areas, but when a storm gets strong enough, it can become extreme. Lightning can strike objects on the ground, start fires and even harm people who are hit directly or indirectly.

Lightning is a very common type of weather that can easily become extreme.
Extreme Lightning

If you live along warmer coastlines, you may experience hurricanes. A hurricane is a huge storm that forms in the Atlantic's warm, tropical waters and then begins to move and gather strength. A hurricane spins and builds destructive winds and rain. Winds can reach speeds of more than 155 mph and cause massive damage if the hurricane happens to move over land. Hurricanes can affect huge areas of land due to their size. If you live in the northwest Pacific, the storms will be called typhoons and if you live down in the South Pacific, they're called cyclones.

Hurricane Floyd formed over the warm ocean water and grew to be a massive storm.
Extreme Hurricane

In flatter areas like the grasslands of the Midwest, tornadoes can form. A tornado is a small, but intense storm that takes on the shape of a funnel. It's formed when cold and warm air mix in a storm and begin to spin. When a tornado touches down to the ground, it can cause catastrophic damage with winds in excess of 300 mph. Unlike hurricanes, tornado damage is in a much smaller area.

This tornado formed and touched down, possibly causing severe damage.
Extreme Tornado

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