Meteorologist talks weather at Douse Elementary

News 10 meteorologist Brady Taylor at Douse Elementary
By: Todd Martin
In a presentation as current as the gathering clouds visible from the library window, a local television meteorologist explained to second-graders Friday the science behind the weather.
Using broad photos as backdrop, Brady Taylor of News Channel 10 talked of thunder and lightning, flood waters, hail and tornadoes.
The presentation, part of the station’s Project Tornado, informs students and school staff members of the conditions that bring about storms and how to stay safe during watches and warnings.
When forecasters call on a storm or tornado watch, that means viewers should pay close attention to weather reports and to the sky. When the watch becomes a warning, that means it is time to act, Taylor said.
Tornadoes are rare because they require such a specific mix of components, but the twisting storms are so destructive that it’s important to learn about them and to be ready to act when one forms.
The recipe for a tornado is warm air on the ground that rises to meet colder air higher in the atmosphere colliding with an accompanying thunderstorm resulting in a rotating column that touches the ground.
Tornadoes vary vastly in size from the circumference of a person to two miles across and they can pack 200 mile-per-hour winds that fling rocks, dirt and debris and tear apart trees, houses and buildings.
That’s why, Taylor said, a tornado warning should drive people in the affected area inside and preferably somewhere with protective sides like a bathtub. It’s also advised, the meteorologist said to cover up with a mattress and to wear a helmet.
In Central Texas, residents are far more likely to encounter flooding. Just 6 inches of water can knock over a person and 2 feet of water can upend an 18-wheeler, he said.
The sound of thunder means lightning is also present. Lightning forms when pieces of ice in a storm cloud bump together to create static electricity, generating heat five times the temperature of the sun.
Hail is another weather risk. Quarter-sized hail is large enough to do serious damage, especially when traveling 100 miles per hour.
Forecasting weather, Taylor said, involves satellites, radars and computers and a lot of math. News Channel 10 employs two storm-chasing vehicles.
“I thought it was informative,” said Douse second-grade teacher Teresa Sveter, who said her students researched questions to ask their guest.
The information about severe weather is applicable to science lessons within students’ studies of the different seasons, she said.
Educators interested in Channel 10’s Project Tornado can find a form at the following: