Tens of millions of Americans are covered by winter weather advisories, watches, or warnings. Sort them out here. (The Weather Channel)
Use our activity to create a weather map of the U.S. or your local area.
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.
- Take a look at the National Weather Hazards map from the good folks at NOAA. Can you identify the weather hazards in the map’s legend?
- What is a tornado?
- A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that forms at the bottom of a cloud and touches the ground. Download our beautiful graphic of “Tornado Alley” here.
- What is a blizzard?
- A blizzard is a storm with high winds, intense cold, heavy snow, and little rain. Click here to see an East Coast blizzard map published in the very first issue of National Geographic magazine!
- What is an avalanche?
- An avalanche is a large mass of snow and other material suddenly and quickly tumbling down a mountain. Watch our video to get a crash course in Avalanches 101.
- What is a flood?
- A flood is an overflow of a body of water onto land. Flood yourself with information with our encyclopedic entry here.
- What is high surf?
- High surf describes unusually strong and powerful breaking waves along a shoreline. Click here to see high surf—and a daredevil surfer.
- What is a gale?
- A gale is a strong wind or air current. Click here to learn more about gales and other winds.
- What is freezing rain?
- Freezing rain is liquid precipitation that hardens to ice when it touches a surface. (This is different from hail, which is already icy as it falls to Earth.) Click here to learn more about rain.
- What is the lake effect?
- The lake effect describes the process where cold winds blowing over a relatively warm lake cause rapid cloud formation and precipitation. Click here to learn more about lake-effect snow.
- What is wind chill?
- Wind chill is the apparent (not actual) temperature felt on the exposed human body due to the combination of temperature and wind speed. Click here to learn about factors that influence apparent temperature.
- What is freezing spray?
- Freezing spray describes droplets of ocean mist (spray) that freeze due to a combination of cold water, wind, cold air, and vessel movement. Click here to learn more about mist.
- What is fog?
- Fog describes clouds at ground level. Click here to learn more about fog.
- What is a rough bar?
- A rough bar describes an area near a harbor or river entrance that may be hazardous to mariners due to the interaction of swell, currents, and shallow water. Take a look at some swirling sandbars here.
- What is a rip current?
- A rip current is a strong flow of water running from the shore to the open ocean, sea, or lake. Download our helpful graphic of a dangerous rip current here.
- What is air stagnation?
- Air stagnation describes a situation in which there is a major buildup of air pollution in the atmosphere. Click here to learn more about measuring air quality.
- What is a tornado?
- Take another look at the National Weather Hazards map. Do you know the difference between an advisory, a watch, and a warning? Check out the National Weather Service glossary for some help.
- An advisory highlights special weather conditions that may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
- A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. A watch announcement is intended to provide enough lead time so that those who need to set their plans in motion can do so.
- A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property.
- Read through our terrific activity “Create a Local Weather Map.” Adapt some of its themes for Winter Storm Jonas, using MapMaker Interactive’s drawing tools and markers.
- Use the National Weather Service map to get a detailed report of your local weather (just click), or enter your zip code or the name of your town here. Adapt that map to the MapMaker Interactive. Be sure to zoom in to your local area!! Make your map as general or detailed as you want. Some data to consider:
- Use the edit tool (the square above the trash can) to customize and edit your map.
- Use the Line tool (the red line) to find your bus route. This tool automatically provides the distance in miles and kilometers.
- Use the Polygon tool (the green pentagon) to trace around a specific local area, such as your neighborhood or a local park.
- Use the markers (the orange oval) to identify your school, home, business, or other unusual place. A cow for an agricultural area? A tree for a local park or green area? Where will X mark the spot? Be creative! (Use the circle tool to make your markers stand out!)
- Zoom out and use the markers to identify regional weather patterns based on the National Weather Service map.
- Use the Label tool (the T) to identify some of the data supplied by the National Weather Service: temperature, humidity, dew point, barometric pressure. (Use the square tool to make your labels stand out!)
- Look at national or regional temperatures on the National Weather maps here, and use markers to identify weather extremes—where is it coldest in your state? What (if any) counties have special weather alerts? Mark regions that have cold-weather warnings—winter storms, high winds, wind chill, freezes.
Share your weather maps with us at email@example.com, and we might share it here on the blog or website!
The Weather Channel: Dangerous Winter Storm Jonas to Bring Crippling Snowstorm, Major Ice Threat; Blizzard Warnings for D.C., Baltimore
Nat Geo: Create a Weather Map activity
National Weather Service: National Weather Hazards map
National Weather Service: Glossary
National Weather Service: Local Weather Conditions (by by location or zip code)