Isn’t it strange how people react to words? Sometimes they make you feel great, loved and secure while other times they instill fear, pandemonium or anger!!
Just read these words: ” Heavy Rain, Potential Flooding and Strong Winds are on its way!! Bayous are filling up, rivers and lakes which last year were dry are now over their banks!! Get your home prepared with batteries, water and food and don’t forget to fill up your car with gas!!”
No, I have not become a weather person since my last post! This is what is on the news, also on the ticker at the bottom of the television screen and on the local news channels websites!! What does it really mean? There is a tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and it is coming our way.(Truthfully, it might come this way or head towards Corpus Christie or got to Austin!!) I still do not get the concept of naming the storms but that is for another time!!
Each time, the Hurricane Season starts it reminds of the the story of Chicken Little ! (Here is quick video of the story in case you don’t know it) Playing the character of Chicken Little is our local weatherman. He usually starts a good 10 days out from when the storm has just hatched in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean to the time it is into the Gulf of Mexico. He tells you the longitude and latitude that the storm is moving and where he believes it will land. (In my head, I imagine he and the other other weathermen meet and play darts with the map of Texas on the dartboard. It is who ever has the last dart for the night that will get to report to and say where storm will make landfall depending on location of the dart!!)There are models being made to show the direction that it might take with so many arrows you know that it is in Texas but now sure where exactly, hurricane hunters going up in planes to check out the formation of the storm. In reality, it is to make sure we all are safe and no lives are lost!! It just seems crazy to track it for so many days!
So, tonight as I hear the latest coordinates, I think no more of Chicken Little but of all of my teachers at Margaret Wills Elementary School in Amarillo Texas. My teachers prepared me to follow Chicken Little’s advice by giving foundational skills. Let’s look at the map skills that I must have now due to Chicken Little explaining the direction of the storm (plotting latitude and longitude coordinates on a map to track a storm) Instead of just saying it is coming this way, the exact words are “Tropical Storm Bill has formed and it’s heading straight for our coastline. The storm is expected to make landfall Tuesday morning near Matagorda, but the impacts will be felt over 200 miles to the east of where the center tracks. The cone simply shows the average error of the track forecast. Two thirds of the time a storm’s center will stay entirely within the forecast cone. Impacts will be felt far outside the cone.”
Back to the tracking of the storm… Above and on the left is the tracking map, since my teacher taught me so well about longitude and latitude i can follow the path of the storm. Oh- wouldn’t my 5th grade Social Studies teacher, Mrs Ligon be happy that I paid attention during map skills. I can plot the latitude and longitude without any trouble.
(Funny tho-growing up in Texas Panhandle, we didn’t track the thunderstorms or tornadoes. They blew in and out without letting us know.) The problem comes in that I start comparing the different news channels and the paths they believe the storm will take.I listened all too well to the lesson of compare and contrast in Mrs Parish’s Reading class apparently. (I can still make a pretty mean T chart to show what I know.) In her Language Arts/Reading class, we had time to read and then draw what we thought would happen before the story ended. (If I did that now, it would be stores being empty of bottled water, batteries, crackers, peanut butter, bread and canned fruit while at home, everyone would be gathered around the table playing a bord game waiting for the storm to get here. Mrs. Parrish also stressed as a listener, it is important to know to identify the main ideas of the story and learn from it. So, what is the main idea? Be prepared because you don’t know where the storm is going to land exactly but have enough food so you won’t care.
Now it is time for Math, if the storm moved 50 miles an hour and will not make land until 10am, how many miles out is it? If it rains for 6 hours and each hour we get 4 inches, how many inches will we get? I would tell you the answers but then you would know that Mr. Spencer was right about my ability in Math. I according to him, just did not listen or apply myself to anything Math related!! (Amazing, how I still that in my head all these years later!!) He might be right but I do know if the directive is to leave the area, I am going to evacuate and not sit here solving Math problems. Let’s just say- there is going be lots of water and since swimming is not a strong suit of mine, I am leaving!!
Now for Science!!! Some people stay at the beach and watch the waves as they get bigger while other watch the clouds/sky. I can make a chart of the clouds I see, put a bucket out and catch rain and measure it. Mrs Hayes would be happy to know that I can still identify the Nimbostratus and or Mammatus clouds that makes rain possible!! (All of those cotton balls made into clouds did help after all!)
So, in closing, I want to say thank you to all of my teachers that taught me things that I didnt think I would ever use. You were actually right because I can listen to the news to get the main idea about what is going on with the storm. I can read the weather report and figure out that I need to move and be prepared for a storm that may or may not come here. I can plot its path, look at the time, pack if I need to leave for drier areas.
Without your teaching, I might just be another Chicken Little screaming that the sky is falling down instead of know that it is rain from a storm named Bill. I indeed can use the brain I have to be aware of the problems before and when the storm is here.
Thank You Mrs. Parrish, Mrs. Ligon, Mrs Hays and even Mr Spencer! With your help, I can come in from rain and be on the right path and be able to write about it!
Learning is an ongoing adventure and I am glad that you set me on the path of it.
(Storm related news: It has now begun to rain and the wind has started to blow, apparently Tropical Storm Bill is coming for a visit!)