Did you realize 2017 hurricane season officially began on June 1?!
In case you don’t know, a hurricane is a large storm that has high winds rotating around a low pressure area called the eye. The winds have to blowing faster than 74 miles an hour. If the winds are slower than this, the storm is called a tropical storm, not a hurricane. You don’t have to be afraid of hurricanes happening in the winter, because there are special conditions that are needed for one to form. The ocean water must be warm – as warm as 79 degrees Fahrenheit, kind of like bath water. When the warm, moist air rises above the water and meets the cooler air above it, it attracts trade winds that start spiraling around. When you add in the rotation of the earth, the hurricane’s cylinder shape forms.
Hurricanes are very dangerous, but my scientist dad actually gets excited at the beginning of each hurricane season! You see, he loves chasing the storms… he even designed a miniature town and wind tunnel in our basement to see how different categories of hurricanes would affect buildings and homes built with his specially made steel fittings and bindings. Hurricanes are ranked in categories 1 through 5. Lower category hurricanes are less dangerous and cause less damage than higher category hurricanes. Part of our dad’s job is to go out and investigate the damage to buildings that have his special fittings and bindings after they are hit by a storm.
One particular summer our dad was planning to travel up and down the Florida coast – on the hunt for hurricanes! Of course my brother, Nick, and I really wanted to go with him. Summer camp sounded so boring when compared to hurricane chasing! But before heading to Florida, we had to pay a visit to Louisiana where many of the homes wrecked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were being re-enforced with our dad’s fittings and bindings.
While we were visiting the Louisiana and Mississippi areas that had been affected by Hurricane Katrina, we were able to meet some nice people who had been there during the storm. They told us first-hand stories about their experiences during the storm and in the weeks afterward while the communities waited on help. It was very eye-opening for us to realize how terrible these huge hurricanes can be.
Out on the open road, we heard a weather forecast that mentioned a tropical storm brewing off the coast of Africa, in the Atlantic Ocean. We didn’t know it then, but this storm would be headed our way as a Category 5 hurricane! You’ll have to read the book to find out what happened next. But, in the spirit of educating you all about hurricane season, I will share the first three chapters with you here.
There's also a bunch of fun activities that go along with the book. Check them out!
Fascinating Facts: Hurricane Trivia
Have fun and stay safe this summer!