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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tornado Information for Kids

In the news the other morning was an account of a serious outbreak of tornadoes. The tornado season is upon us, and mother nature is certainly keeping busy as over 800 preliminary tornadoes have touched ground (According to the NOAA's Storm Prediction Center). With the peak of the season not yet reached (May and June) one only wonders what the old girl has planned.

Watching the swirling columns of air sweeping their way across our TV screen, and witnessing the destruction left behind was rather frightening to me. I imagined it would be the same for some of my students while others might be drawn to it.

Naturally, children are curious, fascinated and maybe fearful of tornadoes. It might be helpful for them to have some information about this topic.

Fujita Pearson Scale: This is the old scale used to rate and describe the tornado, but it gives the children an idea of what kind of damage occurs. The scale has now been enhanced to these wind speeds.

Tornado Video: This 3 minute National Geographic video for kids explains how tornadoes form and what to do in the event of a tornado.

Tornado Alley: In the U.S. most tornadoes occur in the states between North Dakota and Texas, although they can happen anywhere. (More in depth information can be found at

Other Great Sites:

Teach Your Kids about Tornado Safety: Safety tips from eHow explaining what to do before, during and after a tornado.

Weather Wiz Kids: This site has a lot of information created especially for kids.

FEMA for Kids: This site has information and more. A highlight of this site are some Tornado stories written by children.

Tornado Photo Gallery: This site shows the different types of tornadoes: Cones, Wedges, Elephant Trunks, Ropes & Stovepipes.

Putting the power in kids’ hands by helping them learn about natural phenomena like tornadoes will hopefully, ease their fears through understanding and at the same time create an interest in their world.

Please let me know if you have any resources that should be added to this list. I welcome your comments and ideas.

Resources from Cybraryman:
Top Photo:photo credit: Jmos® via photo pin cc

Bottom Photo:
photo credit: Florencia Guedes via photo pin cc


  1. Nancy, you are a master at creating these posts that gather such helpful resources on topics of interest to classes. It is frightening that we have had so many devastating tornadoes this early in the season. I wanted to share a blog post about a fellow Iowan teacher whose sixth grade class was able to help farmers who experienced a tornado. I thought it was a great act of service--good for the farmers as well as the students. Here's the URL:

    Keep up the great blogging!

  2. Thanks Denise for sharing that. Here in Mass. we don't usually see tornadoes (though we do have our share of hurricanes). I think severe weather can be very frightening for so many kids.

    I can't wait to check out the blog - I love when our students help out in the community...those are the lessons that are very relevant to us all.

    As always, I appreciate you stopping by!

  3. Nancy, very timely post! The kids and I watched the video together and looked at the pictures. It has been pretty scary watching them on the news and seeing all of the destruction they have caused down south.

  4. Cheryl,
    Hopefully, you found and your kids found it helpful. I think when kids have the information it becomes less frightening...although with the pictures shared on the news tonight of the devastation in Alabama it was hard not to be scared by it.
    My heart goes out to those who are affected by it.

  5. Tornados..they make me think of the Wizard of Oz... Here in MA we don't worry much about this kind of weather, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen here.. we make light of tornado warnings. Having said that, we should be prepared, knowing what to do in case of this kind emergency gives us power over the fear of these natural disasters. Thanks for the info... I like to be prepared!

  6. As we all know we are not immune to the nature’s disasters. There are certain at-risk zones in the world where some specific disasters occur. For example, tsunamis on the East coast of Japan and tornadoes in North America (mostly in the United States). See more


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