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Scientists explore whether to add a "Category 6" designation for hurricanes

Rebecca Hersher at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., July 25, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley) (Square)

Rebecca Hersher

weather topic 6

Residents of Tacloban in the central Philippines in 2013, after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the area. Scientists are renewing calls for a new Category 6 designation for the the most powerful hurricanes and typhoons, such as Haiyan. Aaron Favila/AP hide caption

Residents of Tacloban in the central Philippines in 2013, after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the area. Scientists are renewing calls for a new Category 6 designation for the the most powerful hurricanes and typhoons, such as Haiyan.

Hurricanes are rated on a scale from one to five, depending on their wind speeds. The higher the speed, the higher the category. But as climate change makes powerful storms more common, it may be necessary to add a sixth category, according to a new paper published by leading hurricane researchers.

The current five point scale, called the Saffir-Simpson scale , was introduced in the 1970s and is used by forecasters around the world including at the National Hurricane Center in Florida. Under the scale, storms with maximum wind speeds of 157 miles per hour or higher are designated as Category 5 hurricanes.

Category 5 storms used to be relatively rare. But climate change is making them more common , research shows. And some recent Category 5 storms have had such high wind speeds that it would make more sense to assign them to a Category 6, if such a category existed, the authors argue.

The authors of the new paper , James Kossin of the First Street Foundation and Michael Wehner of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have been studying the effects of climate change on hurricanes for decades. They propose that Category 5 should include hurricanes with maximum sustained winds of 157 to 192 miles per hour, and that a new Category 6 should include any storm with wind speeds above 192 miles per hour.

Under the new scale, Category 6 hurricanes would be exceedingly rare right now. For example, it might apply to 2013's Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines with wind speeds around 195 miles per hour. In fact, scientists in Taiwan argued at the time that Haiyan necessitated a new category designation.

Four other storms since 2013 would qualify for Category 6 status, including 2015's Hurricane Patricia, which hit Mexico, and three typhoons that formed near the Philippines in 2016, 2020 and 2021.

But other powerful storms wouldn't make the cut. For example, Hurricane Irma had sustained winds around 185 miles per hour when it hit the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2018 as a Category 5 storm. The wind damage from Irma led some residents to suggest that the storm should have been given a Category 6 designation by forecasters, because they felt that they hadn't been adequately warned about the extraordinarily dangerous wind. But under the new proposed scale Irma would remain a Category 5 storm.

Similarly, Hurricane Dorian had wind speeds of about 185 miles per hour when it made landfall in the Bahamas in 2019 . It was, and would remain, a Category 5 storm.

And the new scale would do little to convey the particular danger from storms such as Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Florence or Hurricane Ida, which fit cleanly into the current wind speed scale, but caused deadly flooding from extreme rain. Climate change is to blame – studies have found that hurricanes and other storms are dropping more rain because a warmer atmosphere can hold more water.

The National Hurricane Center, which handles official category designations for hurricanes that threaten the United States and its territories, has not weighed in on the question of adding a Category 6. The center has done other things to update hurricane forecasts in response to climate change , however, including new storm surge forecasting tools , and upgrades that allow forecasters to predict the intensity and location of storms earlier, so people have more time to prepare and evacuate.

  • hurricane ian
  • Typhoon Haiyan
  • climate change

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An Easy Guide to Talking About Weather in English: 121 Key Words and Phrases You Need to Know

Whether you’re standing in the grocery checkout line or meeting new people at a party, the weather is a popular conversation starter.

Many of us keep the weather forecast on our phones, and it helps us decide what we’re going to do for the day.

In this post, you’ll learn all the terms you need to talk about weather in English, like describing sunny days, stormy days and all those in between —as well as why the weather is considered such a hot topic. 

How to Talk About Weather in English

1. how’s the weather / what’s it like out there, 2. what’s the temperature like (out there), 3. what’s the weather forecast, 4. what a beautiful day, 5. it’s warm and sunny outside., 6. we couldn’t ask for better weather., 7. this is the best weather we’ve had all season, 8. awful weather, isn’t it, 9. it’s boiling hot, 10. it’s freezing outside, 11. i can’t believe this weather, 12. it’s raining cats and dogs, 13. it looks like rain., 14. a storm seems to be coming this way., 15. the weather will be warming up soon., 16. it’s expected to be hotter than last year., the difference between weather vs. climate vs. temperature, more useful weather words in english, words to describe the weather in english, vocabulary for extreme weather conditions, weather clothes and accessories in english, weather idioms in english, and one more thing....

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Whether you’re at the coffee machine or waiting your turn at the post office, you might get into a casual conversation with the person next to you about what’s happening outside.

Here are some phrases to talk about the weather in English.

Both of these are good questions to ask if you haven’t gone outside in a while, and you’re wondering if things have changed.

Or maybe you’re still debating about whether or not you want to venture (go) outdoors, so you might ask this to someone who comes inside.

This question is asking about degrees in Fahrenheit or Celsius . However, people are typically looking for an approximate temperature:

It’s around 40°.

Of course, an answer like the following is still acceptable:

It’s really (hot/cold/warm/cool). 

If you’re planning a trip or event, you might want to know the weather ahead of time.  Forecast  simply refers to what kind of weather is expected in the coming days or weeks.

Use other adjectives like nice or gorgeous to make your descriptions more interesting.

This is a simple sentence using two or more descriptive adjectives.

It’s warm and windy outside.

Blue skies  is a phrase meaning a sign of good weather:

There’s nothing but blue skies outside.

Here the use of the comparative adjective better suggests that the weather is so good that it couldn’t get any better. You could use other comparative adjectives like nicer or more beautiful .

We couldn’t ask for nicer weather this week!

The superlative adjective best is used to show that this weather is simply the best and nothing else can be better. You can also use worse with this sentence structure.

Here’s another example:

This is the most beautiful weather we’ve had all week!

This is the worst weather we’ve had all spring! 

Using the question form can be quite refreshing, especially when you expect the person to agree with you. You could use similar adjectives like nasty or terrible instead.

Nasty weather today, isn’t it? 

The word boiling is used here as an adjective, not as a verb, to create an image of how hot it is. You could also use adverbs like extremely or really .

In this simple sentence, you may use any verb in its -ing form to describe the weather, such as pouring (raining very heavily) or sizzling (very hot).

Here’s a simple way to express your surprise. Feel free to use any other suitable noun such as storm or wind .

This is a popular idiom (expression) for saying that it’s raining heavily. Have fun with it.

Here you’re saying it looks like it might rain in the near future. It could be that you can see dark clouds or hear thunder. You could use other nouns like snow or a storm .

The phrase seems to be suggests that a storm is likely to be coming. You could also say:

Heavy rain seems to be heading this way.

Warming up means the temperatures will be rising and it’s getting warmer. The opposite of that would be:

The weather will be cooling down soon.

The phrase expected to be suggests that you think it’ll happen.

Use a comparative adjective here to compare the weather now with another time in the past. You could use other comparative adjectives like colder or less windy .

In English, the words “weather,” “climate” and “temperature” usually aren’t interchangeable. This means they have slightly different meanings.

Weather is used to describe what’s going on outside. For example, the weather can be stormy, sunny, cloudy or rainy.

Climate refers to the weather tendencies of a place. For example, the climate of Texas—a state in the United States—can be described as scorching hot summers and mild winters.

Finally, the temperature  is how hot or cold it is outside. In most countries, the temperature is expressed in degrees Celsius. But in the United States, you’ll hear the degrees in Fahrenheit.

Examples of temperatures are 85 degrees, 90 degrees and 32 degrees.

If you’re looking for more vocabulary to help you talk about the weather in English, here’s everything you need:

So there you have it—a great list of weather words and phrases to get you talking about weather like a native speaker .

I expect you’ll warm up to (get used to) these sentence structures pretty quickly!

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Finally, remember to practice the words, phrases and questions in this post so you can feel comfortable using them in conversations.

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If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

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Find out everything there is to know about weather and stay updated on the latest weather news with the comprehensive articles, interactive features and pictures at LiveScience.com. Learn more about weather as scientists continue to make amazing discoveries.

Explore Weather

Latest about weather, we may need a new 'category 6' hurricane level for winds over 192 mph, study suggests.

By Stephanie Pappas published 7 February 24

Scientists argue that adding a Category 6 to the hurricane scale will be needed as the climate changes.

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By Live Science Staff last updated 2 February 24

The rodent has been predicting the start of spring since 1887. But how good is Phil at his prognostications?

Extremely rare 'rainbow clouds' light up Arctic skies for 3 days in a row

By Harry Baker published 21 December 23

In and around the Arctic Circle, stunning multicolor clouds have been shining in the sky for days on end. It is very unusual to see so many of these vibrant clouds over such a long period.

Controversial study suggesting ozone hole isn't recovering is skewed by bad data, experts say

By Harry Baker published 30 November 23

A new paper claims that the ozone hole above Antarctica is getting deeper, suggesting that it is not healing as expected. However, other researchers say the study's results are misleading.

Big blob of hot water in Pacific may be making El Niño act weirdly

By Sascha Pare published 27 November 23

El Niño is in full swing and will likely remain "strong" this winter, but its effect on weather patterns in the U.S. depends on the behavior of an unusually warm blob in the western Pacific, experts say.

How big can snowflakes get?

By Jennifer Nalewicki published 27 November 23

What is the largest snowflake ever recorded?

El Niño could unleash several '10-year flood events' this winter in cities such as Seattle and San Diego

By Ben Turner published 10 November 23

Climate change and rising sea levels could cause similar floods along the West Coast each year without El Niño by the 2030s, NASA warns.

Rare lake forms in Death Valley

By Jennifer Nalewicki published 26 October 23

There's still time to see a rare oasis that formed in Death Valley.

Amazon's 'flying rivers' of vapor are drying up in an unprecedented drought. Here's how to save them.

By Lucas Ferrante published 23 October 23

A record drought, combined with a strong El Niño, is wreaking havoc on the Amazon. If steps aren't taken to curb illegal mining and deforestation, the ecosystem could collapse.

A strong El Niño is coming this winter. What does that mean?

By Aaron Levine published 16 October 23

Thanks to El Niño, meteorologists are predict a snowy winter in the Rockies, storms and wet weather in the South and drier conditions in the Northwest and Uppder Midwest.

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Weather and the atmosphere

This collection of resources supports unit 6:2 of the 6th grade science Scope and Sequence: Weather and the Atmosphere.

Included Resources

Visualization of the water cycle, visualization of the water cyc....

In this visualization, the blue and red raindrops show how water is constantly moving through different stages of the water cycle. Shared by McDougal Littell, a Houghton Mifflin company. Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere. Please note Flash is required for this interactive.

From gas to liquid to solid

In this activity, students will see that the liquid water can change state again and freeze to become ice. Shared by the American Chemical Society.

Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere; 7:2 Energy and Matter.

States of matter- try it out!

Steve Spengler Science shares experiments to help understand the different states of matter. 

Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere and 7:2 Energy and Matter.

States of matter experiments

These activities encourage students to explore the different states of matter. By the American Chemical Society.

Density: Sink and float for solids

Density: sink and float for so....

This lesson, from the American Chemical Society, explains how the weight of the object does not always correlate to its density.  This lesson includes a hands on experiment on a tea candle and a piece of clay.  

Weather and climate student activities

Weather and climate student ac....

Find a number of different weather-related lessons to use with your students.  Provided by the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education by Stevens Institute of Technology. 

Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere.

The ups and downs of thermometers

The ups and downs of thermomet....

This lesson explains how alcohol thermometers work.  Note, the videos are hosted by YouTube. 

Great graph match

Students match the precipitation or temperature graph to the correct biome through this online "mission."  Students are able to search details about the biomes on the same NASA site. 

Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere and 8:4 Human Impact on the Environment and Health: Needs and Tradeoffs.

Weather and climate data exploration

Weather and climate data explo....

Students explore the relationship between weather and climate by graphing weather temperature data and comparing with climate averages.  Shared by The National Center for Atmospheric Research. Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere.

Tools for measuring weather

Students learn about the following: thermometer, hygrometer, anemometer, barometer, rain gauge, and the wind vane. Created by Scholastic Study Jams. Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere. 

Weather resources for educators

Weather resources for educator....

Resources (including lesson plans) about weather, satellite meteorology, and Earth science for middle and high-school students.  SciJinks (short for Science Hijinks) is a joint NOAA and NASA educational website. Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere.  

Tornados: Information for kids

Tornados: information for kids....

Information on tornadoes written for students. Written by Weather Wiz Kids. Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere. 

Tornado preparation tips

Some tips on tornado preparation from the Department of Homeland Security. Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere. 

Tornado FAQ

The Tornado FAQ is a quick-reference summary of tornado knowledge. This list has been compiled from questions asked of the Storm Prediction Center as well as basic tornado research information and different scientific resources. Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere.

Twistin' tornado

This task describes how to make your own tornado in a bottle by using two plastic soda bottles, duct tape and food coloring.  This activity could be used by the teacher as a demonstration or by students.  From Bill Nye's website.

The science of hurricanes

This video on the science of hurricanes provided by the History channel

Severe weather 101

The National Severe Storms Laboratory provides information on multiple aspects of weather and severe weather conditions.   Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere. 

Images of earth by topic

This NASA site includes satellite images of current scientific events happening on earth.  The images can be used as launching phenomena in various grades and units.  For example, blooming phytoplankton growth or the wildfire smoke images can be used to elicit questions from 6th grade students before teaching them about the interdependence between organisms in an ecosystem.   The images related to invasive species could be used for 8th grade students learning about the relationship between humans and their environment.

Scope and Sequence connection: 6:2 Weather and the Atmosphere; 6:4 Interdependence; 8:4  Human Impact on the Environment and Health: Needs and Tradeoffs.

Weather and the atmosphere collection highlig...

Weather and the atmosphere col..., weather and the atmosphere collection highlights.

This document shares an overview of the WeTeachNYC collection for middle school earth science students students learning about weather and the atmosphere.

This collection is also included in these collections:

Illustration of a question mark that links to the Climate Kids Big Questions menu.

energy Weather And Climate

The brief overview.

Weather is a specific event—like a rainstorm or hot day—that happens over a few hours, days or weeks. Climate is the average weather conditions in a place over 30 years or more. NASA has observed that Earth's climate is getting warmer.

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What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

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10 Interesting Things About Glaciers

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NASA Missions Studying Weather and Climate

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For Educators

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More to Explore

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  • WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory Full Story
  • WEATHER ALERT Winter Storm Watch Full Story

How much snow fell in Philadelphia? Depends on where in the city you are

TaRhonda Thomas Image

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Residents in some parts of Philadelphia were digging out after a snowstorm hit the area on Tuesday morning.

Others, however, wondered whether we had a storm at all.

The snow falling during the morning commute made for some trouble in the usual problem areas, like the hills of Manayunk.

And while the Manayunk streets are notoriously steep, so are the sidewalks.

Resident Angus Flynn said he knew how his date would start: with shoveling.

"I got to go to work, and when my girl comes back I don't want her to have to deal with the whole thing," Flynn said.

But while the snow-covered streets and sidewalks in Manayunk, it just barely accumulated in South Philadelphia.

"I looked out here and said, 'Oh that was fake!' That was crazy. That was fake," said Tyleel Brown.

Related: Fast-moving winter storm drops about 10 inches of snow in Allentown, Pa.

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In Northeast Philadelphia, we found residents who said it was an easy cleanup, thanks to an assist from the sun.

Residents were thankful the storm didn't linger, but now hope something worse isn't on the way.

"I just hope we don't get any freezing with the weather, that's all," said Patrick White. "We don't need ice."

If you were unfortunate enough to have snow covering your sidewalk, remember that Philadelphia requires residents to clear a path at least three feet wide within six hours of the snow stopping.

So make sure you shovel those sidewalks soon.

Related Topics


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Neighbors enjoy snow day in Mercer County

Top stories.

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Cop shoots, kills driver after rammed; Good Samaritans rush to help

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AccuWeather: More snow on the way this weekend

  • 37 minutes ago

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Weather Resources for Teachers

Help students of all ages learn the science behind weather forecasts with the lessons, printables, and references below. Study the effects of climate change with global warming handouts. Graphic organizers will help students chart weather patterns and record what they learn about clouds and seasons. Fun science activities include making a thermometer and a wind vane. You'll find great cross-curricular projects, resources, and Earth Day activities to incorporate meteorology across your curriculum.

Whiteboard Compatible Mini-Lessons

  • Nature's Weather Clues Mini-Lesson
  • The Restless Air Mini-Lesson
  • More Mini-Lessons

Printables for Grades K-5

  • Trash & Climate Change
  • Weather Graph
  • Science Reading Warm-Up: Earthquakes
  • Science Reading Warm-Up: Volcanoes
  • Weather Forecast Bulletin Board
  • Climate Activities
  • More Weather

Printables for Grades 6-12

  • Science Reading Warm-Up: Hurricanes
  • Weather Printable Book (Grades 3-6)
  • Air Quality and the Weather -- Student Worksheet
  • Relative Humidity: How Much Water Is in the Air?
  • Which Soil Is Best for Plants?
  • Climate Zones Map
  • Earth Science Printables Slideshow
  • Top 10 Spring Activities (K-8)
  • Seasons Printables Slideshow
  • Months, Seasons, & Time Printables Slideshow
  • Gallery of DK Digital Books for Earth Science
  • Favorite Autumn Activities Slideshow (K-8)
  • Astronomy & Climatology Printables Slideshow
  • Weather in the Atmosphere Quiz
  • Weather Forecasting Quiz
  • Extreme Weather Disasters Quiz
  • Climate and Climate Change Quiz
  • Rain, Hail, and Snow Quiz
  • Types of Snow
  • Air and Ocean Currents Quiz

Lesson Plans

  • How Can You Make a Thermometer?
  • Weather Station
  • Celsius and Fahrenheit Conversions Made Simple
  • Condensation
  • Autumn Leaf Art Projects
  • Let It Snow!
  • Glacial Pressure
  • More Weather Lesson Plans

Graphic Organizers

  • A Weather Calendar
  • KWL Chart - Weather and Seasons
  • Dressing for the Weather
  • What Are Clouds Like?
  • What Are the Seasons Like?
  • What Is Your Favorite Season?
  • What Is the Temperature Outside?
  • More Weather Graphic Organizers

Natural Disaster Resources

  • Frequently Asked Questions about Tsunamis
  • Intervention Strategies for Disaster
  • How a Tsunami Occurs
  • What Is a Tsunami?
  • Dangerous Wave
  • A Windy Day
  • Storm Trackers
  • More Natural Disasters Teacher Resources

Technology Resources

  • Science and Technology: Showing the Weather
  • Science, Technology and Society: Supercomputers Can Track Super Storms
  • What Is the Weather in Your City?
  • More Technology Resources for Weather

Weather Activities for Math Class

  • Temperature (Gr. 3)
  • A Growing Snowflake
  • Use a Thermometer (Gr. 1)
  • How Do Thermometers Work?
  • Graphing Air Temperature Activity
  • Wind Chill Factors
  • More Weather Activities for Math Class

Weather Resources for Language Arts

  • Global Warming: A Glossary of Terms
  • Hurricane Katrina Reading Warm-Up
  • Weather Words
  • Weather Terms
  • 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami Reading Warm-Up
  • Surviving in the Environment: Family Activity
  • Science Reading Warm-Up: The Water Cycle
  • More Weather Resources for Teachers

Weather Activities for Art Class

  • In All Kinds of Weather
  • Dora the Explorer: Weather Activity (English)
  • Dora the Explorer: Weather Activity (Spanish)
  • Make a Silly Weather Worm
  • Weather Tales

Digital Books

  • Eyewitness: Natural Disasters
  • Eye Wonder: Weather
  • Eyewitness: Hurricane & Tornado
  • Experience: Extreme Weather
  • E.Guides: Weather
  • DK Guide to Savage Earth
  • DK Guide to Weather
  • Eyewitness: Weather

Weather Resources for Social Studies Class

  • How Do You Read a Weather Map?
  • What Is the Ring of Fire?
  • Tsunami! Discussion Guide
  • Welcome Spring
  • Modeling Climates
  • Climate and Vegetation Regions
  • River Erosion
  • More Weather Resources for Social Studies Class

Seasonal Weather Activities

  • Hot and Cold
  • More Popular Seasonal Weather Activities

Weather Resources for History Class

  • Retired Hurricane Names
  • Hurricane History
  • How Hurricanes Are Named
  • New Orleans, La.
  • More Weather Resources for History Class

Weather & Geology Connected

  • Disasters Natural and Unnatural
  • Weathering and Erosion
  • How Are Volcanoes Classified?
  • More Weather Activities for Geology

Weather Activities for Science Class

  • Making a Wind Vane
  • What Are Weather Fronts?
  • Building a Weather Vane
  • Weather Wordsearch
  • More Popular Weather Activities for Science Class
  • Global Warming: So, What's the Big Deal?
  • The Uncertainties of Global Warming
  • Global Warming: We CAN Make a Difference!
  • Global Warming: Greenhouse Effect
  • The Global Environment Outlook: An Overview
  • Global Warming: What Is the Climate System?
  • Global Warming: The Climate Detectives
  • More Popular Weather References

Environmental Science Resources

  • The Ozone Show
  • An Inconvenient Truth Classroom Poster
  • Global Warming and Climate
  • The Effects of Global Warming on Sea Level
  • Global Warming: Can We Change the Climate?
  • Global Warming: What It Is . . .
  • Global Warming: Climate's Come a Long Way!
  • More Environmental Science Teacher Resources

Weather Activities for Earth Day

  • Analyzing Air Quality
  • Air Quality and the Weather -- Teacher Section
  • Air Quality and the Weather -- Student Section
  • Identifying Biomes
  • Visibility Chart
  • More Popular Weather Activities for Earth Day

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6.3 Weather, Climate & Water Cycling

Why does a lot of hail, rain, or snow fall at some times and not others?

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Unit Summary

This 6th grade science unit on weather, climate, and water cycling is broken into four separate lesson sets. In the first two lesson sets, students explain small-scale storms. In the third and fourth lesson sets, students explain mesoscale weather systems and climate-level patterns of precipitation. Each of these two parts of the unit is grounded in a different anchoring phenomenon.

The unit starts out with anchoring students in the exploration of a series of videos of hailstorms from different locations across the country at different times of the year. The videos show that pieces of ice of different sizes (some very large) are falling out of the sky, sometimes accompanied by rain and wind gusts, all on days when the temperature of the air outside remained above freezing for the entire day. These cases spark questions and ideas for investigations, such as investigating how ice can be falling from the sky on a warm day, how clouds form, why some clouds produce storms with large amounts of precipitation and others don’t, and how all that water gets into the air in the first place.

The second half of the 6th grade science weather and climate unit is anchored in the exploration of a weather report of a winter storm that affected large portions of the midwestern United States. The maps, transcripts, and video that students analyze show them that the storm was forecasted to produce large amounts of snow and ice accumulation in large portions of the northeastern part of the country within the next day. This case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out what could be causing such a large-scale storm and why it would end up affecting a different part of the country a day later.

 video thumbnail


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Unit 6.3 L20 Sea Surface Temperature Simulation

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Unit 6.3 L20 Rainfall Accumulation Simulation

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Unit 6.3 L19 Atmospheric River Global Simulation

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Unit 6.3 L19 Precipitation Rates Global Simulation

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Unit 6.3 L19 Precipitation Rates USA Simulation

Unit examples, additional unit information, next generation science standards addressed in this unit.

Performance Expectations

This 6th grade science unit on weather and climate builds toward the following NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs):

  • MS-PS1-4: Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
  • MS-ESS2-4: Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
  • MS-ESS2-5: Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
  • MS-ESS2-6: Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The 6th grade science weather and climate unit expands students’ understanding of weather and climate, and the role of water in Earth’s surface processes which include these grades 6-8 elements of the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs).  It addresses all but the crossed-out sections of the ones shown below. 

ESS2.C:  The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes

  • Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.
  • The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns .
  • Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents .
  • Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration , evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land .

ESS2.D:  Weather and Climate

  • Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things . These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns. 
  • Because these patterns are so complex, weather can only be predicted probabilistically .
  • The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.

This unit builds on DCI elements that students should have developed in the prior OpenSciEd unit 6.2. These ideas are elicited and are used in new contexts (primarily different because of time and temporal scale). In many cases, the unit helps students extend these DCIs. The plain text beneath each of the DCI elements below describes how the ideas are used and where they are extended. 

  • This particle model is reused and extended in Lessons 3-11, 13-14, and 17-18. It is used to model (1) how energy is transferred from the ground to the air (through conduction), (2) why air changes its density (due to changes in the speed of air particles), (3) why density would affect the amount of air pressure detected by a barometer (due to differences in the amount of force applied to the barometer from changes in the weight of a column of air particles overhead), and (4) how the cooling of water vapor in the air can cause the molecules in it to slow down enough that they stick to, rather than bounce off of, neighboring particles in collisions, thereby causing the particles to condense or solidify out of the air. 
  • The idea that thermal energy transfer can occur through conduction is used to explain how the air above the ground is heated by it, and how warm rising air cools off as it moves higher up, This idea is reused in Lessons 5-8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 20, and 22.
  • The idea that light is absorbed by the ground and converted to thermal energy is an idea that is reused in Lessons 3, 6-8, 10, 14, 17, 18, 20, and 22 in this unit.

Disciplinary Core Ideas are reproduced verbatim from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Idea s. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/13165. National Research Council; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Board on Science Education; Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards. National Academies Press, Washington, DC.

Science & Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models
  • Matter and Energy

Connections to the Nature of Science

Which elements of the Nature of Science are developed in the unit?

  • Science investigations use a variety of methods and tools to make measurements and observations. (NOS-SEP)
  • Science investigations are guided by a set of values to ensure accuracy of measurements, observations, and objectivity of findings. (NOS-SEP)
  • Science depends on evaluating proposed explanations. (NOS-SEP)
  • Science knowledge is based upon logical and conceptual connections between evidence and explanations. (NOS-SEP)
  • Science assumes that objects and events in natural systems occur in consistent patterns that are understandable through measurement and observation. (NOS-CCC)

How are they developed?

  • Students engage with different tools (i.e., thermometers, light sensors, humidity probes, barometers, and simulations) to make measurements and observations.
  • Students develop and use color gradient based visualization methods for rendering weather data from across the country to look for patterns across space and over time.
  • Students discuss how they will collect measurements and observations during their use of light detectors and thermometers in outdoor settings to ensure the data set is accurate.
  • Students critique a computer simulation of a thunderstorm to determine the mechanisms that cause storms to form and suggest revisions to the interface to make such concepts more transparent to the user.
  • Students evaluate which model ideas for explaining small-scale weather events might help explain predicted precipitation patterns in a mesoscale weather system.
  • Students compare and critique arguments about what would cause the predicted weather changes in a mesoscale weather system to identify whether they emphasize similar or different mechanisms.
  • Students apply scientific ideas and related evidence to evaluate whether those mechanisms are also needed to explain how the weather will change for three other storms occurring at a different time of year.

Unit Placement Information

What is the anchoring phenomenon and why was it chosen?

This unit uses two anchors, one to drive student questions and investigations in the first half of the unit, and one to drive  student questions and investigations in the second half of the unit. The unit begins with students watching, in three short video clips of relatively short precipitation events,  hail falling at different locations in North America at different times of year. Students develop initial models to explain what causes this kind of precipitation event to occur, considering (1) the changes that happen over time where the hail falls, (2) the changes that occur to matter in the air at a particle level, and (3) the energy that transfers into, through, and out of the system. They expand the range of phenomena by considering other times when they’ve seen or heard of a lot of precipitation fall in one place in either a relatively short time (minutes) or continuously over a much longer time (hours or days). Students then develop a Driving Question Board (DQB) to guide future investigations.

The second half of the unit re-anchors in the context of a larger-scale weather event in Lesson 14. It begins with students watching a winter weather report and forecast  clip from the Today show (from 8:00 a.m. (EST) on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019) and analyzing maps for most of the United States,. Students evaluate their previously developed model ideas for explaining the causes of a hailstorm to determine  whether the same causes also help explain how what happened in the air over the country at the time of the forecast was connected to what was predicted to happen by the end of the weekend (40 hours later),  which includes some areas that went on to receive over a foot of snow accumulation and other areas that received over half an inch of ice accumulation. Students then add new questions to their Driving Question Board (DQB) to guide future investigations. The second half of the video from the same forecast is then introduced in Lesson 18, to support a transition to climate-related questions and investigations in the last few lessons of the unit.

Each OpenScied unit’s anchoring phenomenon is chosen from a group of possible phenomena after analyzing student interest survey results and consulting with external advisory panels.  We also chose hail as the first anchoring phenomenon for this unit for these reasons:

  • Severe weather events provided a compelling context for explaining weather-related phenomena.  Hailstorms fell into this category, and explanations for them did not require model ideas that were beyond the target DCIs for  the middle school level, which something like tornadoes would require.  
  • The relatively sudden and brief window of a hailstorm event (up to about 15 min in length) and relatively small impact area (a few miles) provided a more tractable scale system to begin investigating how changes in the matter flow and energy transfer into the air can drive the formation of storms, before moving on to larger-scale weather system (mesoscale) and climate-related patterns (hemisphere scale) in the later half of the unit.
  • A pre-field test release of this anchor produced Driving Question Boards that had over 85% of the students’ questions on them as well as ideas for investigations to answer those questions. These investigations were anticipated by the unit development team, and were specifically targeted in the field test version of the storyline.
  • A subsequent piloting of this anchor confirmed that this type of weather event was intriguing for students who had varying levels of firsthand experience with hail.  This included those who experienced hail relatively frequently (classrooms in the midwest), as well as for those who encountered it far less frequently (classrooms on the west coast) and those who had neither encountered nor heard of it before (some international students).

 We also chose a video of a winter storm weather report and forecast from Jan., 19, 2019 as the phenomenon to re-anchor the second half of this unit for these reasons:

  • The video clip included weather reporting and forecasts for the western, central, and eastern United States. This broad area of impact provides regional connections to most students in the country.  
  • Related predictions, regarding a potential loss of energy due to the effect of freezing rain on downed power lines and the forced closing of schools in the northeast, provide a severe winter storm context that has an impact on the related activities that students engage in.
  • The four extratropical cyclones covered in the forecast are examples of mesoscale (synoptic) low pressure weather systems. These systems commonly occur in the middle latitudes of the Earth (e.g., the United States) across multiple seasons of the year. These, in combination with anticyclones of high-pressure air, drive much of the weather changes that students experience – capable of producing a myriad of weather events, including cloudiness and mild showers to heavy gales, thunderstorms ,and blizzards.
  • The differences in the predicted precipitation across different regions from all of these storm systems reveal some new patterns related to coastal proximity, elevation, and prevailing winds. These patterns provide a context to start exploring climate-oriented questions, which are also part of the target DCIs for this unit.

Where does this unit fall within the OpenSciEd Scope and Sequence?

This unit is designed to be taught after students have experienced the One-way Mirror Unit and the Cup Design Unit . As such, work in this unit can leverage ideas about the interaction of light with matter as well as the particle nature of matter and how energy can be transferred through particle-level collisions (conduction).  

This unit is designed to be taught prior to the Everest Unit , in which students will leverage ideas about how thermal energy transfer can result in the movement of matter. It is also designed to be taught prior to the Storms Unit , in which students will leverage ideas about how to predict, detect, and respond to natural hazards relevant to their local context, many of which are likely to be severe weather related. Finally, it is designed to be taught prior to the Everest Unit , in which students will leverage ideas about what causes climate-level precipitation patterns to develop a model to help explain why the climate may be changing and what we can do to address some of those causes and mitigate the impacts of such changes.

How is the unit structured?

The unit is organized into four lesson sets that begin with figuring out a short-term, small-scale hail storm and slowly build into larger storm systems and global circulation systems.

weather topic 6

What modifications will I need to make if this unit is taught out of sequence?

This is the third unit in 6th grade in the OpenSciEd Scope and Sequence . Given this placement, several modifications would need to be made if teaching this unit earlier or later in the middle school curriculum. These include the following adjustments:

  • Gases and liquids are made of molecules or inert atoms that are moving about relative to each other. In a liquid, the molecules are constantly in contact with others; in a gas, they are widely spaced except when they happen to collide. In a solid, atoms are closely spaced and may vibrate in position but do not change relative locations. 
  • The temperature of a sample of matter is proportional to the average internal kinetic energy per molecule in that sample.  
  • When the kinetic energy of a particle object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time; kinetic energy can be transferred from one particle to another through particle collision. This form of energy transfer (conduction) can occur between solid, liquids and gases when they make contact with each other. 
  • When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the color of the light.  Energy from the light that is absorbed by a sample of matter is converted to increased particle motion energy in that sample of matter.  
  • The total kinetic energy of particles in a sample of matter is also referred to as the thermal energy of that matter.
  • Identifying independent and dependent variables and controlling for other variables, can help you conduct fair tests, which is a necessary condition for producing data that can serve as the basis for evidence in supporting or refuting a potential cause and effect relationship in a system. 
  • If taught before OpenSciEd Unit 6.1 (or at the start of the school year), supplemental teaching of classroom norms, setting up the Driving Question Board, and asking open-ended and testable questions would need to be added. Experience with using light sensors and reading and interpreting their output would need to be added.

What are prerequisite math concepts necessary for the unit?

In this unit, students will need to have prior experiences in working with the ideas in the bolded sections of the related Common Core Math Standards listed below.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.C.5: Understand that positive and negative numbers are used together to describe quantities having opposite directions or values ( e.g., temperature above/below zero, elevation above/below sea level, credits/debits, positive/negative electric charge); use positive and negative numbers to represent quantities in real-world contexts, explaining the meaning of 0 in each situation.

CSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.C.8: Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane. Include use of coordinates and absolute value to find distances between points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.RP.A.2: Understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio a:b with b ≠ 0, and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship. 

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.RP.A.3: Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations.

Additionally, when students generate and interpret the tables of data in Lessons 2, 4, and 11, they will draw on what they have learned across a number of Represent and Interpret data standards for grades 1-5, w ithin the domain of Measurement and Data in the Common Core Mathematics Standards.

How do I shorten or condense the unit if needed? How can I extend the unit if needed?

The following are example options to shorten or condense parts of the unit without completely eliminating important sensemaking for students:

  • Since, in many ways, one can think of this unit as two units in one – where Lesson sets 1 and 2 are anchored around a small-scale weather phenomenon, and Lessons sets 3 and 4 are anchored around large-scale weather phenomenon and long-term patterns (climate level), one natural end point for the unit would beat the end of Lesson 13, which is the end of Lesson set 4.  
  • Since the focus of Lesson set 4 is on climate-level phenomena, rather than weather-related ones, another natural end point for the unit would be toward the end of Lesson 18, which is the end of Lesson set 3. If you end here, then modify the second half of day 2 of Lesson 14 so the focus is taking stock of the progress the class feels they made on the Driving Question Board again, as was done at the end of Lesson 13, rather than eliciting new questions and ideas for investigations, which is what is outlined in the learning plan.

To extend or enhance the unit, consider the following:

  • Lesson 1: You could replace one of the first two videos of hail with a local example, to establish stronger local relevance. However, keep the third video (timelapse) as it shows changes in the air overhead, which most other videos will not.
  • Lesson 2:  You could ask students to start tracking changes in local weather conditions where they live to look for additional patterns over time.
  • Lesson 6: You could ask students to start tracking instances of vertical cloud growth they see in the weather outside.
  • Lesson 11: You could give interested students the opportunity (and some of the materials needed) to build their own homemade barometer and ask them to track changes in air pressure over subsequent days.
  • Lesson 13: If hurricane season impacts your area more than extratropical cyclones tend to, you could extend the unit to investigate how ocean temperatures, currents, and prevailing winds influence the formation of hurricanes and typhoons around the world. If you include a focus on how these systems interact with other air masses, this will provide an alternate pathway to cover mesoscale weather phenomena and some climate-level patterns in precipitation, which is the focus of Lessons 14-22. Keep in mind that such a modification to the unit will require a relatively large time investment in pre-development before it is ready to be implemented in the classroom.

Unit Acknowledgements

Unit Development Team

  • Michael Novak, Unit Lead, Northwestern University
  • Renee Affolter, Writer, Boston College
  • Emily Harris, Writer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Audrey Mohan, Writer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Lindsey Mohan, Writer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Dawn Novak, Writer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Tracey Ramirez, Writer, The Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Abe Lo, Reviewer, BSCS Science Learning
  • Katie Van Horne, Assessment Specialist
  • Colleen O’Brien, Pilot Teacher, Williston Central School 
  • Heather Galbreath, Pilot Teacher, Lombard Middle School
  • Vanessa Hannana, Pilot Teacher, Indian Woods Middle School
  • Whitney Smith, Pilot Teacher, Indian Woods Middle School
  • Ann Rivet, Unit Advisory Chair, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Elisabeth Cohen, Advisory Team, Weather Outreach

Production Team

BSCS Science Learning

  • Kate Herman, Copyeditor, Independent Contractor
  • Stacey Luce, Copyeditor and Editorial Production Lead
  • Renee DeVaul, Project Coordinator and Copyeditor
  • Valerie Maltese, Marketing Specialist & Project Coordinator
  • Chris Moraine, Multimedia Graphic Designer

Unit External Evaluation

EdReports awarded OpenSciEd an all-green rating for our Middle School Science Curriculum in February 2023.  The materials received a green rating on all three qualifying gateways: Designed for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Coherence and Scope, and Usability. To learn more and read the report, visit the EdReports site .

NextGenScience’s Science Peer Review Panel

An integral component of OpenSciEd’s development process is external validation of alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards by NextGenScience’s Science Peer Review Panel using the EQuIP Rubric for Science . We are proud that this unit has been identified as a quality example  of a science unit. You can find additional information about the EQuIP rubric and the peer review process at the nextgenscience.org website.

Unit standards

This unit builds toward the following NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs) as described in the OpenSciEd Scope & Sequence:

Reference to kit materials

The OpenSciEd units are designed for hands-on learning and therefore materials are necessary to teach the unit. These materials can be purchased as science kits or assembled using the kit material list.

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Weather Lesson Plan

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  • Time: 40 mins - 1 hour
  • Objectives: Asking about and describing the weather
  • Structures: "How's the weather?", "It's ~"
  • Target Vocab: sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, snowy, foggy, hot, cold, look outside

Lesson Materials:

  • Flashcards: sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, snowy, foggy, hot, cold
  • Printables:
  • - Weather Match and Draw! worksheet
  • - Weather Draw! worksheet
  • - The Weather Song song Poster
  • - Reader worksheet
  • - Warm Up & Wrap Up lesson sheet
  • Readers: What Weather do you Like?
  • Songs: The Weather Song
  • Additional Materials:
  • - Weather vocab crossword
  • - Weather vocab word search
  • - colored crayons / pencils
  • - Blu-tack or tape
  • - small ball
  • - CD / Tape player / Computer or something to play the song on

Other Lesson Plans

  • Intro Lesson (Ages 3-7)
  • Intro Lesson (Ages 8-12)
  • Actions, Verbs & Tenses:
  • Can - for Ability
  • Morning Routines
  • Daily Routines & Times of the Day
  • Actions - Present Continuous
  • Future Plans using "going to"
  • Past Tense Activities - Regular Verbs
  • Past Tense Activities - Irregular Verbs: Part 1
  • Past Tense Activities - Irregular Verbs: Part 2
  • Adjectives:
  • Describing People
  • Describing Things
  • Comparing Things (Comparative Adjectives)
  • Comparing Things (Superlative Adjectives)
  • Adverbs of frequency
  • Farm Animals
  • Pets & Possessions
  • Zoo Animals
  • Parts of the Body
  • Measuring Parts of the Body
  • Classroom Objects
  • Classroom Stationery
  • Directions:
  • Directions: left / right / forward / back
  • Feelings & Emotions:
  • Feelings & Emotions
  • Health & Sickness:
  • Health & Sickness
  • Holidays & Festivals:
  • Thanksgiving
  • Likes, Dislikes & Favorites:
  • Likes & Dislikes
  • Favorites and Asking Why
  • Nature & Our World:
  • Numbers 1-10
  • Numbers 1-20
  • Places & Where We Live:
  • Places & Where We Live
  • Places in my Town
  • Rooms of a House
  • Prepositions of Location:
  • Prepositions of Location
  • Subject Pronouns
  • Demonstrative pronouns
  • Shopping & money
  • Time, Days, Months, Seasons:
  • Telling the Time
  • Days of the Week
  • Months of the Year
  • Time Frequency
  • Adverbs of Frequency
  • Transport & Travel:
  • Transport & Travel
  • Wheels on the Bus

Use this lesson to teach the weather vocab and structures and then in following classes add a weather section to the beginning of your lesson.

Lesson Procedure:

Warm up and maintenance:.

See our " Warm Up & Wrap Up " page.

New Learning and Practice:

1. Teach the weather vocab Before class prepare weather flashcard pictures for the vocab sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, snowy, foggy, hot, cold. Our weather flashcards are great for this. Stick them around the walls of your classroom.

3. Talk about the weather outside Motion for your students to come over to the window (or even outside). Say a few times "How’s the weather?", "Look outside". Elicit from the class the weather and if it’s hot or cold (you can also teach "warm" if necessary). E.g. "It’s cloudy and rainy and cold". Then ask each student in turn “How’s the weather?” and encourage them to reply.

4. Sing " The Weather Song " First put the weather flashcards on the board in the order of the song (or use our Weather Song song poster). Have all the students stand up and watch you as you sing along and use the gestures. Encourage them to join in and sing along. Play the song two or three times.

Verse 1: How’s the weather? How’s the weather? Look outside. How’s the weather? How’s the weather? Look outside. It’s sunny, it’s rainy, it’s windy, it’s cloudy. It’s snowy, it’s foggy, it’s hot, it’s cold.

Verse 2: How’s the weather? How’s the weather? Look outside. How’s the weather? How’s the weather? Look outside. It’s sunny, it’s rainy, it’s windy, it’s cloudy. It’s snowy, it’s foggy, it’s hot, it’s cold.

( download MP3 here )

Gestures for "The Weather Song"

There are some easy gestures you can do as you sing along to the song:

  • For the question part "How’s the weather?", sing along and do the 'palms of the hands up' question gesture.
  • For the "Look outside" part, face the window and put your hand over your eyes (like a salute), as if you were looking into the distance.
  • sunny: slowly spread your arms out
  • rainy: wiggle your fingers downwards like rain
  • windy: gesture wind blowing out of your mouth
  • cloudy: make cloudy shapes with your hands
  • snowy: wiggle your fingers downwards like snow and shiver
  • foggy: close your eyes and put your hand out in front like you are trying to feel for something you can’t see
  • hot: fan your face
  • cold: shiver and wrap your arms around your body

We also have a video that you can stream in class to sing along with (Internet connection required):

The Weather Song

Teacher: What is this? Students: It's a flower. Teacher: And how's the weather? Students: It's sunny! Teacher: That's right! ...(reading) ... "I am a flower. I like sunny weather". Do you like sunny weather Ken? Student (Ken): Yes, I do.

After reading the story, give out a reader worksheet to each student and read through the story one more time (without stopping for questions, etc.) as students match the characters in the story to the weather they like. Then have students draw the weather they like in the box.

Alternatively, watch our video version of the reader (Internet connection required):

8. Do " Weather Match and Draw! " worksheet To finish off this section of the lesson, give out the worksheets. As your students are doing the worksheets, ask questions (e.g. “what is that?”, etc.).

1. Assign Homework: " Weather Draw! " worksheet. 2. Wrap up the lesson with some ideas from our " Warm Up & Wrap Up " page.

Future Lessons: Reviewing and checking the weather each lesson:

1. Prepare the "Weather Board" Prepare a piece of cardboard and cover it with felt – you are going to pin this to the wall. If you can, try and get blue felt (to represent the sky). Write at the top in large letters, “How’s the weather today?”. Below the write “Today it’s”. Cut out weather pictures (such as our weather flashcards) and stick some velcro on the back. Arrange the weather pictures around the edge of the board and then put the board on the wall of your classroom.

2. Sing the Weather Song In the warm up section of your lesson you can include a weather section – introduce this section by singing the weather song (with gestures).

3. Look outside Get everyone to look outside by saying “How’s the weather? Look outside”. Elicit the weather for that day.

4. Put the weather pictures on the Weather Board Invite some students to come up and put the weather pictures on the board. Make sure these students say the word as they put the card on the board.

Print Outs / Worksheets:

Lesson Plan

Weather Match and Draw

Weather Draw!

Reader worksheet

Song poster



Songs & Readers:

The Weather Song (click to download)

The Weather Song

What Weather do you Like?

Additional materials:

Weather vocab crossword

Weather vocab word search

Additional worksheet - Weather of the week


  • To view and print a flashcard or worksheet click on the thumbnail image.
  • For detailed printing instructions, click here .


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6 of the Best Creative Weather Lesson Plans for Your Classroom

  • May 25, 2018

weather topic 6

Weather is a part of everyday life for students. That’s why weather lesson plans are a great way to engage students of all ages in STEM. While STEM concepts aren’t obvious in everyday life to most students, most understand – or at least care about – the weather.

The weather affects little things such as choice of clothing or activities, but it also affects big things. For example, hurricanes and snowstorms can cancel school, create damage, and even be dangerous to students and their families.

And behind all of these real-world connections for students there is a strong presence of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that goes into forecasting, preparing for, and understanding the weather.

Weather Lesson Plan Contest

WE held a contest celebrating Teachers Appreciation Week and invited teachers from around the country to submit their best weather lesson plans.

We’re excited to share with you the winning lesson plan as well as five other honorable mentions. Our meteorologists selected these lesson plans as the most creative and useful ones for teachers to promote STEM learning.

We hope you utilize this array of weather lesson plans in your classroom and encourage you to come up with your own weather lesson plans that promote STEM learning. Please download the printable sheet that includes all the six lesson plans so you can use them in your classroom.

If you like these lesson plans, we recommend you check out our STEM Learning ebook all about facilitating innovative STEM education and workplace readiness with weather data. You can download the free ebook by clicking the image below.

Click here to read our ebook about facilitating STEM education and improving workplace readiness with weather data!

The Top 6 Weather Lesson Plans

1. weather and the sun’s effects on the earth’s surface.

weather topic 6

Teacher: Ruth Palmer Our first place submission from Kindergarten teacher, Ruth Palmer, is a science and engineering lesson plan that focuses on understanding the relationship between the Sun and the Earth. Students work in groups and are given a simple and relatable problem: What can you build to keep your chocolate bars from melting in the sun? For this weather lesson plan, students are going to craft. Therefore, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Craft sticks
  • Coffee filters
  • Index cards
  • Aluminum foil
  • Pipe Cleaners

Once students finish their engineering designs, take them outside and test them out (with real chocolate, of course!) This is a great group learning activity that keeps students’ interests with both the weather and chocolate bars.

2. Introduction to Modeling: Flood Risk in New Orleans

Teacher: Amy Mallozzi This lesson plan is a great way to have students predict the impact of real-life rainfall events in New Orleans by collecting data remotely and creating a model. Amy’s high schoolers start off this lesson the night before by measuring the height of their house off of the ground. Then, students research news articles about the New Orleans pump system, past rainfall events, and upcoming storms and prepare to solve the following problem: With 100% pump failure, which neighborhoods would flood in an extreme rain storm?

Students investigate in groups and identify assumptions that must be accounted for in future models. We love this lesson plan because it is a great example of a real-world problem that require professionals to understand and use STEM concepts. What a great high school weather lesson plan!

3. Weather Journal

Teacher: Hannah Christenson The Weather Journal project is a great way to teach students about data collection and visualization. The journal consists of pages for weather observation including temperature, wind direction, wind speed, sky, and precipitation. There are also information pages that describe different weather tools and a two-page section to graph temperature change throughout the observation day.

Hannah Christenson’s weather lesson plan involves students going outside throughout the school year to complete their observations and then compare the weather using their graph. We love the way this weather journal combines important STEM concepts and everyday topics, like clothing choice. We highly recommend giving this weather lesson plan a chance!

4. Exploring Climate Change Using the Eyes in the Sky

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Teacher: Suzanne Banas The next lesson plan from our contest is this one from Suzanne Banas. This lesson plan instructs students to use NEO (NASA Earth Observations) satellite images and NIH ImageJ to animate the images. This activity helps eighth grade students explore the various aspects of climate change and then report on the different areas of climate change with a synthesis of the observed information. The lesson plan concludes with students comparing their findings to research and developing an action plan.

We love this lesson plan because it really focuses on the problem-solving and cross-cutting concepts sections of the Next Generation Science Standards. This weather lesson plan is extremely detailed and therefore very easy for you to replicate in your classroom.

5. Meteorologist for a Day

Teacher:   Michael Reed It’s impossible to be a meteorologist for only a day, but our team loved this lesson plan because it fosters a positive relationship towards their profession. In this activity, students become meteorologists for a day and gather weather data for any city in the world. Once they have the data, it’s time to complete the other half of being a meteorologist which is presenting! Students love presenting a live weather report and learning about a new area of the world.

This is one of those projects that really applies to students who are very data-focused and students who are more outgoing and love public speaking.

6. Analysis of Radiosonde Data (Weather Balloon)

Teacher: Michael Verdon The last lesson plan on our list is a very exciting one that focuses on weather balloons. Weather balloons are important instruments that help meteorologists and other climate scientists gather data from the upper atmosphere. For this weather lesson plan, you’ll have to access local weather balloon data. Your students should use this data to answer a variety of questions that combine different STEM concepts. You can ask questions about temperature, humidity, clouds, and more! This lesson plan is perfect for teaching students how to analyze data and cut through the noise to come to actionable conclusions.

We Want to Hear from You!

Which lesson plan is your favorite from our list? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to post your own lesson plan ideas as well. The best part about this contest has been all the enthusiastic entries from teachers really pushing the boundaries of education. We commend all teachers for their hard work both in and outside of the classroom.

Thank you for nurturing tomorrow’s leaders and keeping up with the Next Generation Science Standards.


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On-Demand Webinar: The Heat is On: ​How to

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Heat stress is a major cause of concern

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Earth Networks announces a new Wet Bulb Globe

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  • Grades 6-12
  • School Leaders

Black History Month for Kids: Google Slides, Resources, and More!

30+ Activities for Teaching Weather Including Tornadoes, Lightning, and Rainbows!

Science is in the air!

weather topic 6

Spring is the perfect season to study the weather and get your students outdoors for hands-on activities. From reading and writing about the weather to conducting experiments and more, here’s our list of weather activities for the classroom, perfect for preschool through middle school.

1. Read books about weather

Read-alouds are some of the most simple classroom activities that teach kids about weather. Get your students amped up about studying the weather with a flood of books. Read a few aloud, feature them in your classroom library, and let students study them with partners.

Learn more: 22 Awesome Weather Books for Kids

2. Start a weather journal

a child's weather journal with illustrations of sun, fog, rain, wind, clouds and snow

What you need: Construction paper, scissors, glue, preprinted labels, crayons, recording pages

What to do: Have students fold a large piece of construction paper in half to make a book cover. Staple a stack of recording pages ( see samples ) into the middle. Use scissors to cut out clouds, the sun, and raindrops, and glue them onto the cover. Draw in snow and fog. Glue labels as illustrated onto the cover. Then allow students a few minutes each day to journal the weather outside.

Learn more: The Curriculum Corner

3. Learn weather vocabulary words

weather activities- weather word cards with pictures and descriptions of different weather

Give your students the words to describe all kinds of weather with these free printable cards. With words like sunny, cloudy, and stormy, as well as blizzard, flood, hurricane, the four seasons, and others, they can be used for many activities, such as helping students fill in their weather journals.

Learn more: PreKinders

4. Make it rain

cloud in a jar experiment-mason jar willed with water and blue food coloring

What you need: Clear plastic cup or glass jar, shaving cream, food coloring

What to do: Fill the cup with water. Squirt shaving cream on top for the clouds. Explain that when clouds get really heavy with water, it rains! Then put blue food coloring on top of the cloud and watch it “rain.”

Learn more: The Happy Housewife

5. Create your own miniature water cycle

Ziploc bag with an inch of blue dyed water in the bottom taped to a window

What you need: Ziplock bag, water, blue food coloring, Sharpie pen, tape

What to do: Weather activities like this one take a little bit of patience, but they’re worth the wait. Pour one-quarter cup of water and a few drops of blue food coloring into a ziplock bag. Seal tightly and tape the bag to a (preferably south-facing) wall. As the water warms in the sunlight, it will evaporate into vapor. As the vapor cools, it will begin changing into liquid (condensation) just like a cloud. When the water condenses enough, the air will not be able to hold it and the water will fall down in the form of precipitation.

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

6. Use ice and heat to make rain

glass jar with a couple of inches of water in it topped by a plate filled with ice cubes- weather activities

What you need: Glass jar, plate, water, ice cubes

What to do: Heat water until it is steaming, then pour it into the jar until it is about one-third full. Place a plate full of ice cubes on top of the jar. Watch as condensation builds and water begins to stream down the sides of the jar.

Learn more: I Can Teach My Child

7. Watch the fog roll in

mason jar with steam coming out of it

What you need: Glass jar, small strainer, water, ice cubes

What to do: Fill the jar completely with hot water for about a minute. Pour out almost all the water, leaving about 1 inch in the jar. Place the strainer over the top of the jar. Drop three or four ice cubes into the strainer. As the cold air from the ice cubes collides with the warm, moist air in the bottle, the water will condense and fog will form. This is one of those weather activities that will inspire plenty of oohs and aahs!

Learn more: Weather Wiz Kids/Fog Experiments

8. Make a cloud poster

student poster of different cloud types made from cotton balls

What you need: 1 large piece of construction paper or small poster board, cotton balls, glue, marker

What to do: Using the information guide included at the link, create different types of clouds by manipulating the cotton balls. Then glue them to the poster and label them.

Learn more: Science Spot

9. Crack a few weather jokes

colorful poster of weather jokes for kids - weather activities

Want to incorporate a little humor into your weather activities? Try some weather-themed jokes! Why is the sun so smart? Because it has more than 5,000 degrees! Bring a little weather humor into your classroom with this collection of jokes and riddles.

Learn more: Listcaboodle

10. Reflect a rainbow

sunlight reflecting through a glass of water, creating a rainbow on the table behind

What you need: Glass of water, sheet of white paper, sunlight

What to do: Fill the glass all the way to the top with water. Put the glass of water on a table so that it is half on the table and half off the table (make sure that the glass doesn’t fall!). Then, make sure that the sun can shine through the glass of water. Next, place the white sheet of paper on the floor. Adjust the piece of paper and the glass of water until a rainbow forms on the paper.

How does this happen? Explain to students that light is made up of many colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. When light passes through the water, it is broken up into all of the colors seen in a rainbow!

Learn more: Rookie Parenting

11. Predict rain using pine cones

four pinecones on a windowsill

What you need: Pine cones and a journal

What to do: Make a pine-cone weather station! Observe the pine cones and the weather daily. Note that when the weather is dry, the pine cones stay open. When it’s about to rain, the pine cones close! This is a great way to talk about weather prediction with students. Pine cones actually open and close based on the humidity to help seed dispersal.

Learn more: Science Sparks

12. Create your own lightning

aluminum pie tin with a pen stuck in the middle, wool sock and block of styrofoam- weather activities

What you need: Aluminum pie tin, wool sock, Styrofoam block, pencil with eraser, thumbtack

What to do: Push the thumbtack through the center of the pie tin from the bottom. Push the eraser end of the pencil onto the thumbtack. Place the tin to the side. Put the Styrofoam block on a table. Quickly rub the block with the wool sock for a couple of minutes. Pick up the aluminum pie pan, using the pencil as a handle, and place it on top of the Styrofoam block. Touch the aluminum pie pan with your finger—you should feel a shock! If you don’t feel anything, try rubbing the Styrofoam block again. Once you feel the shock, try turning the lights out before you touch the pan again. You should see a spark, like lightning!

What is happening? Static electricity. Lightning happens when the negative charges (electrons) in the bottom of the cloud (or in this experiment, your finger) are attracted to the positive charges (protons) in the ground (or in this experiment, the aluminum pie pan). The resulting spark is like a mini lightning bolt.

Learn more: UCAR

13. Learn 10 interesting things about air

a picture of Earth and some facts about it

Even though air is all around us, we can’t see it. So what is air, exactly? Learn 10 fascinating facts that explain the makeup of air and why it is so important for every living thing.

Learn more: Climate Kids

14. Conjure up lightning in your mouth

What you need: A mirror, a dark room, wintergreen Life Savers

What to do: Turn off the lights and have students wait until their eyes have adjusted to the dark. Bite down on a wintergreen candy while looking in the mirror. Chew with your mouth open and you’ll see that the candy sparks and glitters. What’s happening? You are actually making light with friction: triboluminescence. As you crush the candy, the stress creates electric fields, like electricity in a lightning storm. When the molecules recombine with their electrons, they emit light. Why wintergreen candy? It converts ultraviolet light into visible blue light, which makes the “lightning” brighter to see. If students aren’t seeing it in their own mouths, have them watch the video above.

Learn more: Exploratorium

15. Track a thunderstorm

lightning across a dark sky- weather activities

What you need: Thunder, stopwatch, journal

What to do: Wait for a lightning flash and then start the stopwatch immediately. Stop when you hear the sound of thunder. Have students write down their numbers. For every five seconds, the storm is one mile away. Divide their number by five to see how many miles away the lightning is! The light traveled faster than sound, which is why it took longer to hear the thunder.

Learn more: Weather Wiz Kids/Track a Thunderstorm

16. Make a thunderstorm front

What you need: Clear plastic container (size of a shoebox), red food coloring, ice cubes made with water and blue food coloring

What to do: Fill the plastic container two-thirds full with lukewarm water. Let the water sit for a minute to come to air temperature. Place a blue ice cube into the container. Drop three drops of red food coloring into the water at the opposite end of the container. Watch what happens! Here’s the explanation: The blue cold water (representing a cold air mass) sinks, while the red warm water (representing the warm, unstable air mass) rises. This is called convection and the warm air is forced to rise by the approaching cold front, and the thunderstorm forms.

Learn more: Earth Science Week

17. Learn the difference between weather and climate

Share this interesting video with your students to learn the difference between what we call weather and the climate.

18. Swirl up a tornado

two liter soda bottles duct taped together at the mouths. green liquid from top bottle is swirling down into bottom bottle- weather activities

What you need: Two 2-liter clear plastic bottles (empty and clean), water, food coloring, glitter, duct tape

What you do: Students always love classic weather activities like this one. First, fill one of the bottles two-thirds full of water. Add food coloring and a dash of glitter. Use duct tape to fasten the two containers together. Be sure to tape tightly so that no water leaks out when you turn the bottles over. Flip the bottles so that the bottle with the water is on top. Swirl the bottle in a circular motion. This will create a vortex and a tornado will form in the top bottle as the water rushes into the bottom bottle.

Learn more: Discovery Express

19. Make a warm and cold front model

Warm cold weather experiment with red and blue water

What you need: Two drinking glasses, red and blue food coloring, glass bowl, cardboard

What to do: Fill one glass with chilled water and a couple of drops of blue food coloring. Fill the other with hot water and red food coloring. Cut a piece of cardboard so that it fits snugly into the glass bowl, separating it into two sections. Pour the hot water into one half of the bowl and cold water into the other half. Quickly and carefully pull the cardboard separator out. The water will swirl and settle with the cold water on bottom, the hot water on top, and a purple zone where they mixed in the middle!

Learn more: Preschool Powol Packets

20. Do a Blue Sky experiment

Videos are easy to incorporate into your classroom weather activities. This one answers burning questions about weather. Why does our sky look blue? Why does the sun appear to be yellow even though it is a white star? Find out the answer to these questions and more with this informative video.

Learn more: The Action Lab

21. Grow a snowflake

sugar crystal suspended from a pencil over the mouth of a mason jar- weather activities

What you need: String, wide-mouthed jar, white pipe cleaners, blue food coloring, boiling water, borax, a pencil

What to do: Cut a white pipe cleaner into thirds. Twist the three sections together in the center so that you now have a shape that looks something like a six-sided star. Make sure the lengths of the star are equal by trimming them to the same length. Tie the flake to the pencil with string. Carefully fill the jar with boiling water (adult job). For each cup of water, add three tablespoons of borax, adding one tablespoon at a time. Stir until the mixture is dissolved, but don’t worry if some of the borax settles at the base of the jar. Add food coloring. Hang the snowflake in the jar. Let sit overnight; remove.

Learn more: Martha Stewart

22. Make magic snowballs

a hand filled with an artificial snowball against a background of artificial snow

What you need: Frozen baking soda, cold water, vinegar, squirt bottles

What to do: Start by mixing two parts baking soda with one part water to make fluffy, moldable snowballs. Then, pour vinegar into squirt bottles and let kids squirt their snowballs. The reaction between the baking soda and vinegar will cause the snowballs to fizz and bubble. For a snow avalanche, pour vinegar into a tub, then drop a snowball in!

Learn more: Growing a Jeweled Rose

23. Catch the wind

a hand holding up six colorful pinwheels

What you need: Paper cut into 6″ x 6″ squares, wood skewers, glue gun, small beads, sewing pins, a thumbtack, needle-nose pliers, scissors

What to do: Make a paper pinwheel! Follow the easy, step-by-step directions in the link below for these colorful and fun weather activities.

Learn more: One Little Project

24. Observe the intensity of the wind

a homemade wind sock made from a blue plastic bag suspended by rope- weather activities

What you need: One large blue recycle bag, one empty plastic container such as a yogurt or sour cream tub, clear packing tape, string or yarn, ribbons or streamers to decorate

What to do: Make a wind sock. Start by cutting the rim off the plastic tub. Wrap the edge of the bag around the rim and secure it with tape. Using a hole punch, make a hole in the bag just below the plastic ring. If you don’t have a hole punch, you can use a pencil. Tie a string through the hole and attach to a post or high railing.

Learn more: The Chaos and the Clutter

25. Determine the direction of the wind

homemade wind vane made from a paper plate, paper cup, pencil and a straw

What you need: Paper cup, pencil, straw, pin, paper plate, construction paper scraps

What to do: You’ll be creating a wind vane to detect the direction of the wind! Poke a sharpened pencil through the bottom of a paper cup. Insert a pin through the middle of a drinking straw and into the eraser of the pencil. Make a cut approximately one inch deep on each end of the straw, making sure to go through both sides of the straw. Cut small squares or triangles of construction paper and slip one into each end of the straw. Place your wind vane onto a paper plate or piece of paper with the directions marked.

Learn more: Education.com/Wind Vane

26. Measure wind speed

anemometer made from pink polka dotted paper cups

What you need: Five 3-oz. paper cups, 2 drinking straws, pin, paper punch, scissors, stapler, sharp pencil with eraser

What to do: Take one paper cup (which will be the center of your anemometer) and use a paper punch to punch four equally spaced holes about half an inch below the rim. Push a sharpened pencil through the bottom of the cup so that the eraser rests in the middle of the cup. Push one drinking straw through the hole in one side of the cup and out the other side. Insert the other straw through the opposite holes so that they form a crisscross inside the cup. Push a pin through the intersection of the straws and into the eraser. For each of the other four cups, punch a hole on opposite sides of the cup about half an inch down.

To assemble: Push one cup onto the end of each straw, making sure that all of the cups are facing the same direction. The anemometer will rotate with the wind. It does not need to be pointed in the wind for use.

Learn more: Weather Wiz Kids

27. Measure rain volume

a DIY water gauge made from a plastic soda bottle with measurements marked on the side - weather activities

What you need: One 2-liter bottle, Sharpie, stones, water, scissors, ruler, tape

What to do: Create a rain gauge! Start by cutting away the top third of the 2-liter plastic bottle and put it to the side. Pack a few stones at the bottom of the bottle. Pour water in until just above the stone level. Draw a scale on a piece of masking tape with the help of the ruler and paste it on the side of the bottle so you can start counting just above the current water line. Invert the top of the bottle and place it into the bottom half to act as a funnel. Leave the bottle outside to capture rain.

Learn more: News24

28. Create art with the power of the sun

blue construction paper with imprints of leaves made from the sun

What you need: Photo-sensitive paper, various objects such as leaves, sticks, paper clips, etc.

What to do: Make sun prints! Place the paper, bright-blue side up, in a shallow tub. Place objects you wish to “print” on the paper and leave it in the sun for 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the objects from the paper and the paper from the tub. Soak the paper in water for 1 minute. As the paper dries, the image will sharpen.

Learn more: Mud and Bloom

29. Measure atmospheric pressure

What you need: A dry, empty frozen-juice can or coffee can with lid removed, latex balloon, rubber band, tape, 2 drinking straws, card stock

What to do: This barometer starts by cutting off the stiff band of the balloon. Stretch the balloon over the top of the juice can. Secure a rubber band around the balloon to hold it securely. Tape the end of the drinking straw to the center of the balloon surface, making sure it hangs off to one side. Fold the card stock in half vertically and make hash marks every quarter inch. Set the barometer right next to the measurement card. As the external air pressure changes, it will cause the balloon to bend inward or outward at the center. The tip of the straw will move up or down accordingly. Take pressure readings five or six times a day.

Learn more: All Science Fair Projects

30. Make a DIY thermometer

a DIY thermometer made from a glass with red liquid inside, a straw and blue play dough on top- weather activities

What you need: Clear plastic bottle, water, rubbing alcohol, clear plastic drinking straw, modeling clay, food coloring

What to do: Fill the bottle about one-quarter full with equal parts water and rubbing alcohol. Add a few drops of food coloring. Put the straw inside the bottle without letting it touch the bottom. Seal the neck of the bottle with the modeling clay to keep the straw in place. Hold your hands on the bottom of the bottle and watch the mixture move up through the straw. Why? It expands when warm!

Learn more: Education.com/Homemade Thermometer

31. Demonstrate a fire tornado

man standing behind plume of fire surrounded by a wire mesh cylinder.

What you need: A lazy Susan, wire screen mesh, small glass dish, sponge, lighter fluid, lighter

What to do: Weather activities like this one are for teacher demonstrations only! Make a cylinder about 2.5 feet tall from the wire screen mesh and set it aside. Place the glass dish in the center of the lazy Susan. Cut the sponge into strips and place in bowl. Soak the sponge with lighter fluid. Light the fire and rotate the lazy Susan. The fire will spin, but a tornado will not be seen. Now, place the wire screen cylinder on the lazy Susan, creating a perimeter around the fire. Give it a spin and watch the tornado dance.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

If you liked these weather activities, check out 70 Easy Science Experiments Using Materials You Already Have On Hand .

And for more great hands-on activity ideas, be sure to sign up for our newsletters .

Tornadoes, lightning, and rainbows! Help your students understand weather patterns and systems with these fun hands-on activities.

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two winter science experiment ideas

50 of the Coolest Winter Science Experiments and Activities

The weather outside may be frightful, but these projects are so delightful. Continue Reading

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  • Earth Science


What is Weather?

  • The day-to-day conditions of the atmosphere at a place with respect to elements like humidity, temperature, wind speed, rainfall, etc. is called the weather of that place.
  • Weather can be cloudy, sunny, rainy, stormy or clear. It is a part of the natural phenomenon which maintains the equilibrium in the atmosphere.
  • But conditions can be worse sometimes. When the atmospheric conditions are extreme or intense enough to cause property loss or life loss, such weather is termed as severe weather.
  • These also vary according to the altitudes, latitudes, and region and pressure differences. Tornadoes, cyclones, heavy rainfall, fog, winter storms come under this category. They are disastrous and hazardous. Proper disaster management and strategies are required to handle these conditions.

Elements of Weather:

  • Temperature

Factors Affecting Weather:

  • All the changes that happen in the weather are made by the sun. Because the sun has a very high temperature and it is a huge sphere of hot gases. It is the main source of heat and light for the earth. It is even the primary source of energy hence affects the weather.
  • The energy reflected and absorbed by the earth’s surface, the oceans and the atmosphere play an important role in determining the weather at any place.
  • Gases like methane, water vapour and carbon dioxide also play a role in determining the weather.

Understand how the atmosphere plays an important part in the formation of weather by visiting the article below:

  • Layers of Atmosphere

Instruments Used to Measure Components of Weather:

  • The temperature of a place is measured using Thermometer. The highest and lowest temperature of a place is measured using Maximum Minimum Thermometer (MMT).
  • The rain gauge is used to measure the rainfall. The rain gauge is also known as Omreometer or Puliometer. It is expressed by using the units millimetres or centimetres.
  • Anemometer is used to measure the speed and direction of the wind.
  • The humidity of a place is defined as the quantity of moisture in the air and it is measured by using Hygrometer.

Climate of the place:

Every day the weather is recorded by the meteorologists and these records are preserved for decades. The pattern of the weather is determined with the help of these records. The average weather pattern taken over a long time is called the climate of the place.

If you wish to learn more Physics concepts with the help of interactive video lessons, download BYJU’S – The Learning App.

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is weather, what is atmosphere, what is ozone layer depletion and how does it occur, how does the earth’s atmosphere end, how many layers of earth’s atmosphere are there.

  • Thermosphere
  • Stratosphere
  • Troposphere

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Put your understanding of this concept to test by answering a few MCQs. Click ‘Start Quiz’ to begin!

Select the correct answer and click on the “Finish” button Check your score and answers at the end of the quiz

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California braces for more rain, flood risks after brief respite from downpour

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A brief pause in precipitation will greet Southern California after a record-setting storm system pummeled the region, caused hundreds of mudslides and prompted a state of emergency.

The break will be short-lived as the next storm in a series of February systems is expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon, when a "trough of low pressure," originating from waters off Alaska, will make its way down the West Coast, according to the National Weather Service.

"Do not let the break Wednesday morning misguide you − more rain and mountain snow coming Wednesday afternoon and night," the weather service said on X. "This system will be able to interact with the lingering moisture from our current storm to bring one last band of organized precipitation Wednesday afternoon and night."

The historic atmospheric river storm that lashed California for several days dumped six months worth of rain over Los Angeles and broke multiple records for single-day rain totals across the state. The torrential rain and powerful wind unleashed at least 475 mudslides, filled the Los Angeles River and killed at least three people.

The system arriving Wednesday carries a greater risk of floods and mudslides than it typically would because much of the ground is still saturated from the recent storms.

Throughout the day, the compact storm will cause several hours of rain near the California coast, according to AccuWeather . Forecasters expect around half an inch of rain falling over parts of the Central Valley going into Thursday.

The system that wreaked havoc on Southern California on Monday and Tuesday will bring rain and snow across the Four Corners region on Wednesday with less intensity, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Alan Reppert.

Parts of Arizona and Nevada, including major cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix, were under flood warnings, according to the National Weather Service. AccuWeather forecasted the heaviest rain in Phoenix to peak Tuesday night going into Wednesday.

California weather map

California power outage map, us weather watches and warnings, national weather radar.

Contributing: Associated Press; Christopher Cann, USA TODAY

Update: Winter weather advisory for 7 N.J. counties until Saturday morning – up to 4 inches of snow

  • Updated: Feb. 16, 2024, 5:56 a.m. |
  • Published: Feb. 16, 2024, 2:13 a.m.
  • Advance Local Weather Alerts

The National Weather Service issued an updated winter weather advisory at 5:46 a.m. on Friday valid from 10 p.m. until Saturday 10 a.m. for Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer and Ocean counties.

The weather service states, "Total snow accumulations of 1 to 4 inches."

"Plan on slippery road conditions," says the weather service. "Slow down and use caution while traveling. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1."

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Drive safely in winter: Expert advice from the weather service for challenging conditions

Winter weather can make driving treacherous, leading to over 6,000 weather-related vehicle fatalities and over 480,000 injuries each year. When traveling during snow or freezing rain, prioritize safety by slowing down. In near-freezing temperatures, it's safest to assume that icy conditions exist on roadways and adjust your driving accordingly. Be cautious of ice accumulating on power lines or tree branches, which can lead to snapping and falling hazards. If possible, avoid driving in such conditions. If you must venture out, opt for routes with fewer trees and power lines. Never touch a downed power line, and immediately dial 911 if you come across one. Here are additional winter weather driving tips:

1. Share your travel plans:

When venturing out of town in hazardous winter weather, be sure to inform family or friends of your destination, your intended route, and your estimated arrival time.

2. Prepare your vehicle:

Ensure your gas tank is full and equip your vehicle with essential winter supplies such as a windshield scraper, jumper cables, a small shovel, flashlight, cell phone, blanket, extra warm clothing, drinking water, and high-calorie non-perishable food.

3. Stay calm when stranded:

If you become stranded, remain composed. Inform someone about your situation and location. Avoid attempting to walk to safety. Indicate that you need assistance by attaching a cloth to your car's antenna or mirror, and make your vehicle more visible by using the dome light and flashers

4. Be aware of snow plows:

Keep an eye out for snow plows and provide them with ample room to pass. Only overtake a plow when you have a clear view of the road ahead.

5. Check road conditions:

Before embarking on your journey, check the latest road conditions to make informed travel decisions.

Stay safe on wintry roads with these valuable winter driving tips from the weather service, and reduce the risk of accidents during challenging weather conditions.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.

If you purchase a product or register for an account through a link on our site, we may receive compensation. By using this site, you consent to our User Agreement and agree that your clicks, interactions, and personal information may be collected, recorded, and/or stored by us and social media and other third-party partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Your local forecast office is

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Accumulating Snows Across A Large Portion of the Lower 48; Heavy Rain in Texas

Heavy high elevation snowfall will continue in the Intermountain West through the weekend. A fast moving storm will produce a brief period of accumulating snow in the Northeast and widespread lake effect snow downwind of the Great Lakes. Accumulating snow is also possible from a portion of the Central Plains into the Mid-Atlantic. Heavy rains are possible in South Texas. Read More >

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Hazardous Weather Conditions

  • Hazardous Weather Outlook
  • Special Weather Statement

Muscatine (KMUT)

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More Information:

Local Forecast Office More Local Wx 3 Day History Mobile Weather Hourly Weather Forecast

Overnight: Snow likely.  Cloudy, with a steady temperature around 29. North wind around 10 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Snow Likely

Low: 29 °F

Friday: A 50 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11am.  Cloudy, with a steady temperature around 30. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Chance Snow then Mostly Cloudy

High: 30 °F

Friday Night

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 15. Wind chill values as low as zero. Northwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Decreasing Clouds

Low: 15 °F

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 33. West wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

High: 33 °F

Saturday Night

Saturday Night: Clear, with a low around 25. Breezy.

Clear and Breezy then Clear

Low: 25 °F

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 44.

High: 44 °F

Sunday Night

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 24.

Mostly Clear

Low: 24 °F

Washington's Birthday

Washington's Birthday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 50.

Mostly Sunny

High: 50 °F

Monday Night

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 31.

Partly Cloudy

Low: 31 °F

Detailed Forecast

Additional forecasts and information.

Zone Area Forecast for Muscatine County, IA

  • Forecast Discussion
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  • Text Only Forecast

Hourly Weather Forecast

  • Tabular Forecast
  • Quick Forecast
  • Air Quality Forecasts
  • International System of Units
  • Public Information Statement
  • Past Weather Information

Get as KML

Additional Resources

Radar & satellite image.

Link to Satellite Data

National Digital Forecast Database

National Digital Forecast Database Maximum Temperature Forecast

High Temperature

National Digital Forecast Database Weather Element Forecast

Chance of Precipitation


  1. BE1A

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    weather topic 6

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    weather topic 6

  6. Weather Topic for KS1

    weather topic 6


  1. Weather forecast: Rain starts Friday morning but quickly ends for the afternoon and Saturday looks g

  2. Weather and climate office hours by Weather West: 02/05/24

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  1. Category 6 hurricane? That's what a new study suggests. Here's why

    Hurricanes (weather) Add Topic 'Category 5' was considered the worst hurricane. There's something scarier, study says. ... They used a hypothetical Category 6, with a minimum threshold of 192 mph ...

  2. Should there be a Category 6 for hurricanes? These climate ...

    A Category 5 hurricane is a storm that has sustained winds of 157 mph or greater. The new scale would cap Category 5 storms at 192 mph and anything above 192 mph would become a Category 6 hurricane.

  3. Should There Be A Category 6 For Hurricanes?

    Our team of experts discusses the idea of adding a Category 6 to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. - Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com

  4. Scientists renew call for Category 6 hurricane designation : NPR

    Four other storms since 2013 would qualify for Category 6 status, including 2015's Hurricane Patricia, which hit Mexico, and three typhoons that formed near the Philippines in 2016, 2020 and 2021.

  5. Winter storm updates: Nor'easter dumps heavy snow over New York City

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  6. Weather

    Basic English Dialogs: Weather. Th ree short dialogs for vocabulary, listening, and speaking practice. Extension activity on attached Page 2. Audio and Answer Key are also available in video format below (2:47) for your students! Download the PDF file by clicking on the green button below!

  7. An Easy Guide to Talking About Weather in English: 121 Key ...

    1. How's the weather? / What's it like out there? 2. What's the temperature like (out there)? 3. What's the weather forecast? 4. What a beautiful day! 5. It's warm and sunny outside. 6. We couldn't ask for better weather. 7. This is the best weather we've had all season! 8. Awful weather, isn't it? 9. It's boiling hot! 10. It's freezing outside!

  8. Weather & Climate

    the movement of heat that begins at the sun-soaked equator and moves warm air toward the north and south poles; the movement of the oceans that takes icy-cold water from the poles to the tropics, warming or cooling the air above the water.

  9. Weather

    Get the latest news and articles about Weather from the experts at Live Science.

  10. 6 things forecasters want you to know about weather and climate

    And sometimes, they are driven by natural climate variability. Sorting this out takes time and careful research to identify patterns of climate change influencing specific weather events. An easy way to think of it is: Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get. [See this detailed explanation of the difference between weather and ...

  11. Weather and the atmosphere

    Collection Weather and the atmosphere Grade 6 Science This collection of resources supports unit 6:2 of the 6th grade science Scope and Sequence: Weather and the Atmosphere. Included Resources Visualization of the water cyc...

  12. Weather And Climate

    10 Interesting Things About Air Coral Bleaching What Is Climate Change? How Do We Know the Climate Is Changing? What Is the Greenhouse Effect? What else do we need to find out?

  13. Topic 6

    Topic 6: Weather in the Atmosphere Topic 6 Handouts Progress Tracker Lesson 1 Layers of the Atmosphere Up, Up, and Away Lesson 1 Textbook Answers Layers of the Atmosphere Interactivity Answers Lesson 2 Weather vs. Climate The Water Cycle Lesson 2 Textbook Answers Watery Cycle Interactivity Answers Lesson 3 Weather Channels Types of Air Masses

  14. Philadelphia snow totals: Amount of snowfall depends on where in the

    Related Topics. WEATHER; PHILADELPHIA; SNOW; WINTER WEATHER; SNOWSTORM; Snow. 6 stranded hikers rescued, airlifted off Mount Baldy. Winter storm hits Bucks County; morning commute could be slippery.

  15. Weather and Climate

    Summary: Ocean circulation plays a key role in distributing solar energy and maintaining climate, by moving heat from Earth's equator to the poles. Aquarius salinity data, combined with data from other sensors, will give us a clearer picture of how the ocean works. 1. 2.

  16. 17 Weather Science Projects and Lessons

    The free STEM lessons and activities below cover the relationship between the Sun and temperatures on Earth; how the water cycle creates patterns of precipitation; how tools like thermometers, barometers, and anemometers work to measure weather variables; how meteorologists make predictions about (or forecast) the weather; how weather patterns a...

  17. Heavy snow hits Northeast after storm makes way through Midwest

    Around 6 to 12 inches of snow is forecasted across upstate New York and into northern New England, the service reported. Boston can expect up to 3 inches of snow Thursday night and 4 inches in the ...

  18. Sixth Grade, Weather & Atmosphere Science Projects

    Sixth Grade, Weather & Atmosphere Science Projects (17 results) - Charles Dudley Warner Weather and atmospheric science offer lots of opportunities for interesting explorations. It's a satisfyingly complex area, with lots of online resources so you can make your project as easy or as advanced as you want.

  19. The U.S. Government Will Soon Spend More on Interest Payments Than

    Treasury yields have sprung to multiyear highs, forcing the U.S. government to pay a lot more in interest and putting pressure on the budget. The U.S. government is expected to pay an additional ...

  20. Weather Lessons, Printables, & Resources, Grades K-12

    Weather Resources for Teachers. Help students of all ages learn the science behind weather forecasts with the lessons, printables, and references below. Study the effects of climate change with global warming handouts. Graphic organizers will help students chart weather patterns and record what they learn about clouds and seasons.

  21. 6.3 Weather, Climate & Water Cycling

    Our 6th grade science unit on weather and climate is engaging, educational, and fun! You students will love this unit that meets NGSS Performance Expectations MS-PS1-4, and MS-ESS2-4 - 6.

  22. Ideas about Weather

    Somber photos of the American Storm Belt. English-born photographer Robert Leslie drove a total of 10,000 miles across the American South and Southwest. What he found was not a prosperous land of opportunity but a storm-torn region in decay. Posted Sep 2014. A collection of TED Talks (and more) on the topic of Weather.

  23. Weather Lesson Plan

    Warm Up and Maintenance: See our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page. New Learning and Practice: 1. Teach the weather vocab Before class prepare weather flashcard pictures for the vocab sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, snowy, foggy, hot, cold. Our weather flashcards are great for this. Stick them around the walls of your classroom. 2. Play "Touch the cards"

  24. 6 of the Best Creative Weather Lesson Plans for Your Classroom

    The Top 6 Weather Lesson Plans. 1. Weather and the Sun's Effects on the Earth's Surface. Teacher: Ruth Palmer. Our first place submission from Kindergarten teacher, Ruth Palmer, is a science and engineering lesson plan that focuses on understanding the relationship between the Sun and the Earth. Students work in groups and are given a ...

  25. 30+ Exciting Weather Activities for the Classroom

    By Elizabeth Mulvahill Mar 8, 2023 Spring is the perfect season to study the weather and get your students outdoors for hands-on activities. From reading and writing about the weather to conducting experiments and more, here's our list of weather activities for the classroom, perfect for preschool through middle school. 1. Read books about weather

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    Layers of Atmosphere Instruments Used to Measure Components of Weather: The temperature of a place is measured using Thermometer. The highest and lowest temperature of a place is measured using Maximum Minimum Thermometer (MMT). The rain gauge is used to measure the rainfall. The rain gauge is also known as Omreometer or Puliometer.

  27. .NET 7.0 Update

    NET 7.0 has been refreshed with the latest update as of February 13, 2024. This update contains both security and non-security fixes. See the release notes for details on updated packages..NET 7.0 servicing updates are upgrades.

  28. California forecast calls for more floods risks as another storm nears

    The historic atmospheric river storm that lashed California for several days dumped six months worth of rain over Los Angeles and broke multiple records for single-day rain totals across the state.

  29. Winter weather advisory for 6 N.J. counties until Saturday morning

    The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory at 2:03 a.m. on Friday valid from 10 p.m. until Saturday 10 a.m. for Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth and Mercer counties.

  30. National Weather Service

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