This Wednesday, May 29, at 10:00 pm WGBY will broadcast NOVA’s Oklahoma’s Killer Tornadoes. On May 20, 2013, a ferocious EF5 tornado over a mile wide tore through Moore, Oklahoma, inflicting 24 deaths and obliterating entire neighborhoods. It was the third time an exceptionally violent tornado had struck the city in 14 years. Yet predicting when and where these killer storms will hit still poses a huge challenge. In this NOVA special, you’ll meet scientists in the front ranks of the battle to understand these extreme weather events. You also meet storm survivors whose lives have been upended and learn how we can protect ourselves and our communities for the uncertain future.
At the NOVA Beta site, you can watch a preview and find related links such as Hunt for the Supertwister, Rate Tornado Damage, Tornado Country, and Killer Tornado of 1928. NOVA Teacher resources include the videos How Do Tornadoes Form? to learn how scientists use computer simulations to explore the question of how supercell thunderstorms produce tornadoes and Chasing Tornadoes to follow scientists on their hunt for tornadoes using Doppler radars to gather data and solve how tornadoes are formed.
With the number of tornado warnings in our region this summer, students’ curiosity might be ripe to learn about these formidable forces of nature when they return to school. Here are a few of the PBS LearningMedia resources on tornadoes to engage children of all ages:
Home-grown Self Esteem (Grades PreK-2) With Clifford the Big Red Dog, preschoolers can develop self esteem and a feeling of accomplishment with activities they can do at home, such as plant and care for an indoor plant and practice fire/tornado drills for emergencies.
Air is Matter (Grades K-5) This collection of still images assembled for Teachers’ Domain illustrates some of the many ways that air, which can be quite powerful, affects our lives.
Tornado Model (Grades 4-6) In this video segment from DragonflyTV, Sullivan and Alexa engineer their own tornado model to explore the forces that produce a tornado.
How Do Tornadoes Form? (Grades 6-12) This video segment adapted from NOVA describes the challenges of studying tornadoes and shows how computer simulations are helping researchers observe what they can’t possibly see in a real storm.
NOVA’ video, Deadliest Tornadoes is a fitting program to watch as the region commemorates the anniversary of the terrible tornadoes that hit last year. The DVD looks at the scientists striving to understand the forces at work behind the outbreaks of violent tornadoes during 2011. Could their work improve tornado prediction in the future? Order this video (Deadliest Tornadoes, I.D. 2271) by clicking here.
Many residents of Western Massachusetts were personally affected by the rare occurrence of a tornado in our region last year. Even 9 months later, a drive through Springfield still shows the effects of the June 1 storm. Why was the 2011 tornado season in the U.S. so extreme? NOVA: “Deadliest Tornadoes” will air at Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 9pm on WGBY. Learn more about tornadoes on NOVA’s website. Here’s a preview of the episode:
For those closely monitoring the situation, the WGBY Studios and station staff are safe after an apparent tornado hit downtown Springfield around 4:30pm this afternoon. Thankfully, the storm did not directly hit the station; however, many neighborhoods in Springfield were not as lucky. Our condolences to individuals who have suffered loss or property damage in this string of strong storms.
According to local news sources, the following locations have been made available as shelters for victims:
- Mass Mutual Center , 1277 Main Street, Springfield
- St. Francis Xavier Church , 475 Main Street, West Springfield
- Minnechaug Regional High School, 621 Main Street, Wilbraham
- Quarry Hill School, 43 Margaret Street, Monson
- Converse Middle School , 24 Converse Street, Palmer