Severe Weather WebQuest

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Name _______________________________________ Period ______________ Date ___________________

Severe Weather WebQuest

First open your web browser and type in the following URL:

Click on the tabs on the left side that correspond to the following topics

Then answer the questions. Be sure you write the answers in your own words. You may also abbreviate.


  1. What is a tornado?

A tornado is a violent ____________ column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ___________. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with ____________ speeds of up to _________ mph.

  1. How do tornadoes form?

Most tornadoes form from _________________. You need _________, moist air from the ____________________ and cool, dry air from _____________. When these two air masses meet, they create instability in the ________________. A change in __________ direction and an ____________ in wind speed with increasing height creates an ______________, horizontal ____________ effect in the lower atmosphere. Rising air within the updraft _________ the rotating air from horizontal to _______________. An area of rotation, ________ miles wide, now extends through much of the storm. Most strong and violent tornadoes form within this area of strong rotation.

  1. What is a funnel cloud?

It is a rotating ____________ column of air extending ___________ from the base of a thunderstorm, but _______ touching the ground. When it reaches the ground it is called a tornado.

  1. How do tornadoes stop?

It is not fully ______________ about how exactly tornadoes form, ____________ and die. Tornado __________________ are still trying to solve the tornado puzzle, but for every piece that seems to fit they often ______________ new pieces that need to be studied.

  1. What is a supercell thunderstorm?

It is a __________ thunderstorm whose updrafts and downdrafts are in near _____________. These storms have the greatest tendency to produce _____________ that stay on the ground for long periods of time. Supercell thunderstorms can produce ___________ tornadoes with winds exceeding __________ mph.

  1. What is a wall cloud?

It is an abrupt lowering of a ______________ cumulonimbus base into a low-hanging accessory __________. A wall cloud is usually situated in the ________________ portion of the storm. A rotating wall cloud usually develops before ______________ or __________ clouds.

  1. What is a water spout?

It is a weak tornado that forms over _________. They are most common along the __________.

  1. What is a Gustnado?

It is a short-lived, relatively weak _____________ that forms along a ______ front. A gust front is the surge of very gusty _________ at the leading edge of a thunderstorm's outflow of air. Gustnadoes are not ______________. They do not ___________ with any cloud-base _____________.

  1. When and where do tornadoes occur?

They can happen at __________ of the year and at any time of the _______. In the southern states, peak tornado season is from _________ through __________. Peak times for tornadoes in the northern states are during the _____________. Texas, Oklahoma, ____________, Nebraska, ________________, North Dakota, _____________, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana all make up “_____________________.”
Knowing the LINGO:

  1. What is a Tornado Watch?

Tornadoes are _____________ in your area. Stay tuned to the ____________ or television news.

  1. What is a Tornado Warning?

A tornado is either on the _________ or has been detected by ___________ radar. Seek shelter _________________!

  1. List 3 tornado safety tips.




  1. What is a hurricane?

A hurricane is a huge __________! It can be up to _________ miles across and have strong winds spiraling ___________ and upward at speeds of _____ to 200 mph. Hurricanes gather ___________ and _____________ through contact with ___________ ocean waters. Evaporation from the seawater ___________________ their power.

  1. What is the “eye”?

Hurricanes rotate in a _________________________ direction around an "eye" in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. The ___________ of the storm or "eye" is the _________________ part. It has only ____________ winds and fair weather.

  1. How do hurricanes form?

Hurricanes only form over really ____________ ocean water of ______°F or warmer. The atmosphere (the air) must cool off very ____________ the higher you go. Also, the wind must be blowing in the ____________ direction and at the ___________ speed to force air upward from the ocean surface. Winds flow _____________ above the storm allowing the air below to ____________.The _________________ is needed to create the spin in the hurricane and it becomes too weak near the ____________, so hurricanes can never form there.

  1. When does hurricane season start?

  1. How are hurricanes named?

From 1950 to 1952, tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean were identified by the ________________________ (Able-Baker-Charlie-etc.), but in 1953 the US Weather Bureau switched to ___________ names. In 1979, it was decided that they should alternate a list that included __________ names too.

Knowing the LINGO:

  1. What is a tropical storm watch?

Tropical Storm conditions with sustained winds from ___________ mph are possible in your area within the next _______ hours.

  1. What is a tropical storm warning?

Tropical Storm conditions are ________________ in your area within the next ______ hours.

  1. What is a hurricane watch?

Hurricane conditions with sustained winds of ________ mph or greater are _____________ in your area within the next ________ hours.

  1. What is a hurricane warning?

Hurricane conditions are ______________ in your area within ______ hours.

  1. List 2 hurricane safety tips


(AKA: Winter Storms)

  1. How do winter storms form?

Winter storms derive their energy from the __________ of two _______________ of different temperatures and _________________ levels.

  1. How do blizzards form?

A blizzard is a long-lasting ________________ with very strong ___________ and intense snowfall. You need three things to have a blizzard; ______________ at the surface, lots of _____________, and ____________. Warm air must rise over cold air.

  1. List 2 facts about snowflakes

  1. What is a wind chill?

The wind chill is the ___________________ your body feels when the air temperature is combined with the __________________. The higher the wind speed the ______________ exposed areas of your body lose ____________ and the ___________ you feel.

Knowing the LINGO:

  1. What is a winter weather advisory?

Issued for accumulations of ___________, freezing __________, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to ___________________________situations.

  1. What is a winter weather watch?

Alerts the public to the ________________ of a blizzard, _________________, heavy freezing rain, or heavy ______________. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued ____ to _____ hours before the beginning of a winter storm.

  1. What is a winter weather warning?

Issued when ___________________ winter weather in the form of ______________, heavy freezing rain, or heavy ____________ is occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued _____ to _____ hours before the event is expected.

  1. List 3 safety tips for blizzards? (1 before, 1 during, and 1 after the storm)

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