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Measuring Weather (Grade 10)

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Measuring Weather

The Fujita Scale
Over two decades ago, meteorologist Tetsuya “Ted” Fujita changed the way the world perceived and understood tornadoes. Fujita, born in Japan in 1920, spent all of his adult life studying and researching thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes. His experimentation led to the development of the now familiar Fujita scale, designed to measure the intensity of a tornado.

The scale is formulated based on the storm’s area of damage, and wind speed. For example in a F0 tornado, winds only reach 72 miles an hour and damage is minor,. A F5 features winds going as high as 319 miles an hour, and destructive is massive. The Fujita scale is divided into six categories: F0 (Gale); F1 (Weak); F3 (Severe); F4 (Devastating) and F5 (Incredible).

Over the years, Fujita, as well as other meteorologists have discovered flaws in the scale. In 2007, the scale was revised and implemented throughout the nation. Even though Fujita passed away in 1998, his impact on the field of tornado research is endless.


In 2007, two scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a new method of measuring or rating snowstorms. It is known as the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, or NESIS. The scale is used to rate the blizzards that strike the northeastern portion of the country.

NESIS is based on five levels of intensity. They range from 1 (Notable), 2 (Significant), and 3 (Major), to 4 (Crippling) and 5 (Extreme). The scale is not used as a warning system, but instead measures and assesses the impact of a storm after it has already ended. It is predicated upon the inches of snow, the land area affected, and the number of people affected. Eventually, the experts at NOAA believe NESIS will extend to other regions within the country that regularly experience massive winter storms.
What factor do these two viewpoints have in common?
  1. Weather can be incredibly destructive.
  2. Better warning systems have saved lives.
  3. The impact of a storm on people must be factored in.
  4. Different regions of the country experience different weather problems.
What information does the author of Passage 1 include that the author of Passage 2 leaves out?
  1. The different levels involved in the scales.
  2. The exact year the scale was created.
  3. The reason why some areas require different scales.
  4. The history of the how the scale was originally invented.
What is one thing both passages have in common?
  1. Both of them describe the inventor of the scales.
  2. Both of them list the five levels and their specific names.
  3. Both of them cover only a limited portion of the country.
  4. Both of them include details about how the scales have changed over time.
The primary purpose of NESIS is to provide the public with a reliable warning system.
  1. True
  2. False
The equivalent of an “incredible” rating on a tornado is a(n)                            on NESIS.

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