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DynaMath for grades 3–6 provides nonfiction and fiction-based exercises that help teach math, math articles that connect learning to the real world, and interactive activities to get kids excited about numbers!
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Texas man in strong winds A man in Texas fights strong winds during Hurricane Ike in 2008. (Brett Coomer / Rapport Press / Newscom)

Taken by Storm

Coastal states stay on alert during hurricane season

For many people, September isn’t just a time to stock up on back-to-school supplies. It’s also time to make sure emergency kits and plans are ready in case of a hurricane. Hurricane season officially lasts from June 1 to November 30. But more hurricanes strike the United States during September than during any other month.

Hurricanes are very large storms that swirl around a calm center called an eye. They start as thunderstorms in the tropical area near Earth’s equator.

A storm must have very strong winds to be called a hurricane. “Once the winds reach speeds of 39 mph, it’s strong enough to become a tropical storm,” says Dennis Feltgen. He studies weather at the National Hurricane Center. “When those winds reach 74 mph or higher, the storm can be classified as a hurricane.”

Scientists use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to measure a hurricane’s strength. This scale ranks hurricanes by their wind speeds and the damage they can cause. Category 1 hurricanes can damage trees or the roofs of homes. Category 5 hurricanes, the strongest type, can topple trees and destroy homes.

The map on the activity page shows the paths of two recent hurricanes, Irene and Katrina. Use the map, the Saffir-Simpson scale (also on the activity page), and calendar math to answer the questions.

This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Dynamath. For more from Dynamath, click here.

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