Mudslides and Cyclones

NOT EVERY STORY HAS A HAPPY ENDING – AND, FOR RESIDENTS IN SOUTHERN COLOMBIA, THEIR VILLAN LAST WEEK WAS MOTHER NATURE.

RESCUERS THERE SCRAMBLED LAST WEEK TO REACH MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE WHO WENT MISSING AFTER DEVASTATING MUDSLIDES TORE THROUGH COMMUNITIES.

A MUDSLIDE IS A MASS OF MUD THAT HAS FALLEN DOWN A HILLSIDE. IN THIS CASE, THE MUDSLIDE WAS CAUSED BY HEAVY RAINS – WHICH OVERFLOWED RIVERS AND SENT MUD RUSHING THOUGHT THE CITY OF MOCOA.

SOME FAMILIES ESCAPED AT THE LAST MINUTE BEFORE THEIR HOMES WERE DESTROYED.

THE COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT VISITED THE AREA OVER THE WEEKEND -- JUAN MANUEL SANTOS SAID WHAT HE SAW BREAKS HIS HEART.

THE LAND DOWN UNDER ALSO SAW SOME EXTREME WEATHER AS CYCLONE DEBBIE CRASHED THROUGH QUEENSLAND.

NASA'S TERRA SATELLITE CAPTURED THIS IMAGE OF THE CATEGORY 4 CYCLONE AS IT TOUCHED DOWN ON AUSTRALIA’S COAST LAST WEEK.

THIS MASS OF SPINNING CLOUDS LOOKS A BIT DIFFERENT WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE IT FROM LAND. AT ONE POINT EIGHT INCHES OF RAIN FELL WITHIN THE SPAN OF AN HOUR, AS WINDS ROSE TO 185 MILES PER HOUR.

THESE FEROCIOUS WINDS FORCED THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROM THEIR HOMES – AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE WITHOUT POWER.

A CYCLONE IS A LARGE ROTATING STORM WITH HIGH-SPEED WINDS THAT FORMS OVER WARM WATERS IN TROPICAL AREAS. IT’S THE SAME WEATHER EVENT AS A HURRICANE -- BUT WHEN THEY HAPPEN OVER THE INDIAN OCEAN NEAR AUSTRALIA THEY’RE CALLED CYCLONES.  

DEBBIE IS THE WORST CYCLONE TO HIT AUSTRALIA IN YEARS.

BUT HOW DID THE CYCLONE WIND UP WITH THE NAME DEBBIE? WELL, METEOROLOGISTS – THE EXPERTS WHO FORECAST WEATHER – NAME STORMS BECAUSE IT HELPS PEOPLE REMEMBER AND IDENTIFY THEM EASIER.

THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION CREATES A FORMAL LIST OF STORM NAMES PRIOR TO THE START OF EACH HURRICANE OR CYCLONE SEASON – AND THE NAMES ARE ASSIGNED ALPHABETICALLY. THERE ARE SIX LISTS OF NAMES FOR EACH REGION OF THE WORLD, SO THE NAMES ARE RECYCLED EVERY 6 YEARS.  THIS HURRICANE SEASON, WE HAVE SOME INTERESTING NAMES ON THE LIST FOR ATLANTIC TROPICAL STORMS – LIKE OPHELIA, TAMMY, AND GERT!

BUT THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT THERE’S TWO NAMES WE WON’T BE SEEING ON THE LIST ANY MORE  – MATTHEW AND OTTO. THE ORGANIZATION RETIRES NAMES WHEN A STORM IS PARTICULARLY DESTRUCTIVE – LIKE HURRICANE MATTHEW WHICH WRECKED HAVOC OVER HAITI AND OTTO WHICH CAUSE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF DAMAGE ACROSS THREE CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES. MATTHEW AND OTTO HAVE BEEN REPLACED WITH MARTIN AND OWEN – WHICH MIGHT BE USED STARTING IN 2022.


Instructional Links


Website Article: National Geographic Kids, Colombia

Website Article: Wonderopolis, What Causes Mudslides? | Includes word list and interactive quiz

Lesson Plan: Mystery Science, How Could You Survive a Landslide | Includes lesson plan and interactive activity.

Website Article: Diffen, Cyclone vs Hurricane | Includes comparison chart

Encyclopedia Article: World Book Kids, Australia | May need password.

Website Article: Weather Wiz Kid, Hurricanes | Explains hurricanes with how they are named. Includes activities & links.

Website Article: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Tropical Cyclone Naming History and Retired Names | Includes list of retired names & dates.

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