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MSU brings meteorology to Sudduth

November 13, 2010

Mississippi State University meteorology students visited Sudduth Elementary last week to talk to the children about sever weather.
Through Title I social service intervention program, school social worker Mildred Smith asked the meteorology students to come to talk to the children about severe weather — especially as this time of year is prime for tornadoes.
“I thought it would be fun to teach them how to be safe from severe weather in a fun and different format,” Smith explained.
Meteorology graduate students Kevin Roth and David Wolter, with undergraduate student Alex St. PĂ©, came armed with brightly-colored displays and an energetic attitude to bring home the most important points of staying safe when severe weather looms.
The children learned what severe weather means, and that it actually originates from the sun heating up the Earth’s surface. Next, the children learned the first rule when dealing with weather: Look to the sky.
The children learned that the big fluffy white clouds in the sky, called cumulus clouds, usually mean that the weather is safe. But if the students look up and see a fluffy dark cloud, called cumulonimbus clouds, that usually signifies encroaching severe weather.
When children see the cumulonimbus clouds, the meteorologist-in-training taught them to get indoors as soon as possible. They also learned they should avoid standing close to trees and being near water. The students also learned about tornadoes and how they form from cool air and warm air mixing together to form a funnel cloud.
In the event of a tornado, the MSU students quizzed the children on the proper course of action. The children knew immediately to head to an interior room of the house and cover their heads with pillows or other soft objects.
“We hope the kids will be prepared in the event of severe weather,” Wolter said of his goal for the lesson.
"We want to inspire an interest in science," Roth added.

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