Nature Near You: Week Twelve Highlights Hurricanes

provided by Nicole Finnicum, Sanibel Sea School

Nature Near You participants observed the different parts of a hurricane in their activity “Hurricane in a Bowl”.

The 12th week of Nature Near You, Sanibel Sea School’s e-newsletter, featured backyard activities to learn about hurricanes.

As hurricane season kicked off on June 1, Nature Near You participants turned their attention to the science of hurricanes. While hurricanes and tropical storms are experienced more commonly here in Florida, the effects of these storms can be felt across the country as we saw with Tropical Storm Cristobal. This week we discussed how hurricanes are formed, categorized, and named!

Marine Science Educator Alex Cook shared with us the necessary ingredients for a hurricane – warm water and wind.

“Warm, wet air rises away from the ocean, leaving low pressure air underneath it, creating thunderstorms. The rising air cools, forming clouds. These clouds build and grow, fed by more warm, moist air. The evaporation of warm water provides the energy needed for a storm to become a hurricane,” described Cook in this week’s issue.

Hurricanes are categorized by their wind speeds from Category 1 through Category 5 and are named when they reach the strength of a tropical storm. Hurricanes use a rotating list of alphabetical names that is maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

For this week’s activity, Nature Near You participants created a Hurricane in a Bowl to get a better visualization of how hurricanes spin, noting the ‘eye’ and ‘outer bands’ of their countertop hurricanes.

Our assisting Counselor in Training Abby Hendershot, took hands-on learning to another level with her custom Hurricane Obstacle Course. Hendershot created a backyard obstacle course featuring obstacles that symbolize the different stages of a hurricane. Hendershot and some brave assistants tackled the obstacle course, which can be seen on Sanibel Sea School’s YouTube channel.

Hurricanes can be devastating for communities, so it is important to take them seriously and have a plan for when they strike. By understanding the science of hurricanes, we can have a better sense of how powerful these storms can be and the impacts that can have when they reach land.

Nature Near You will continue through once weekly through June and be delivered via email. If you are interested in joining the mailing list, please email If you missed out on an issue of Nature Near You, all of the content can be accessed at

Nature Near You is Sanibel Sea School’s offering to the community. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit or email for more information.

Part of the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Family, Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.

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