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NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency that enriches life through science. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

One part of NOAA is the National Weather Service which provides daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring, among many other services. Listed below are a few of the many NOAA resources that will make teaching weather and climate easier, more realistic and more engaging.

ClimateWeather | Severe Weather | Lightning | Hurricanes | Tornadoes


NOAA Elnino ImageClimate Educational Materials

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Weather Lessons

    This is the education section of the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) website. It includes lessons on weather maps, weather symbols and weather systems. There are links from this page to other educational resources from NSSL.

Jet Stream

    Jetstream contains a lot of excellent information (accompanied by high quality diagrams and links to further information) which is arranged by subject; beginning with global and large scale weather patterns followed by lessons on air masses, wind patterns, cloud formations, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, damaging winds, tornados, tropical storms, cyclones and flooding. Interspersed throughout JetStream are "Learning Lessons" which can be used to enhance the educational experience.

Weather Conversion and Calculators

Weather General Information Cool Sites for Everyone

Weather Balloons
NOAA Weather Balloon Image Note: Your machine will need to have the "RealVideo" plug-in and a sound card to access these two websites.

    Learn about weather balloons - what they are, how they take observations, and how the information is used to predict the weather
    Watch a weather balloon being inflated and released, then listen to the signal from the instrument (radiosonde) attached to the weather balloon as it transmits data back to the ground where the data is plotted on a computer.

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Historic Weather events for Washington DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia

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Severe Weather


    This site contains a wealth of information: weather forecasts for the entire United States, information, maps and data pertaining to many different types of weather events all over the world, including information about such topics as air quality, harmful algal blooms and chemical spills.

Severe Weather Primer

    Excellent fact sheets on various severe weather events including good graphics, a pop up glossary, and links to more info about specific topics. Part of the NSSL (National Severe Storms Laboratory) website.

Severe Weather Safety

    This site contains the basics of what to do in case of severe weather, how to create a family disaster plan, and NOAA resources for deaf and hard of hearing persons. Part of the NSSL (National Severe Storms Laboratory) website.

NWS Science and Safety Publications

A Comprehensive Glossary of Weather Terms for Storm Spotters

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Lightning Science and Safety

    Access a lightening safety brochure and take a lightening IQ quiz on this site. There are also statistics, medical information and other facts about lightening and lightening safety. There are links from this page to a wide variety of resources, one of which is described below.

Flash Riprock and the Bolt from the Blue

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NOAA Hurricane ImageHurricane Basics


Hurricane Names

    This site contains a listing of world wide tropical cyclone names and reasons for using the naming systems which are used (these are different in different parts of the world) There is a link to the history of naming hurricanes and retired hurricane names.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

    Keywords: Hurricane intensity, strength, classifications
    Description: This is a description Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane's present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. There are embedded links to past hurricanes in various categories.

Hurricane Tracking Chart

An example of how a chart is used is available at:

Or, try “How to Track a Hurricane”
To plot each location of the storm over time, do the following:

  1. Determine the latitude of the storm, the first coordinate in the pair, and locate it on the map (usually followed by an N or S). Latitude measures how far north or south a location is from the Equator (on a map, lines of latitude run east and west).
  2. Determine the longitude, the second coordinate in the pair (usually followed by a W or E), and locate it on the map. Longitude measures how far east or west a location is from the Prime Meridian (on a map, lines of longitude run north and south).
  3. Draw a   (for a hurricane) or a    (for a tropical storm) on the weather map.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 using the next tracked location of the storm.

This activity is courtesy of Jill Hasling at The John C. Freeman Weather Museum at Weather Research Center, Houston TX.

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NOAA Tornado ImageQuestions and Answers about Tornadoes

    The  Who-What-How-Where-Why-When about tornadoes. This page links off to SeverePlot v2, a graphical database of severe thunderstorm and tornado occurrences in the United States which allows creation of customized plots of severe weather reports.

Tornado Frequently Asked Questions

    This site answers the questions about tornadoes most frequently asked by the public including tornado forecasting and rating. There are many links embedded in the text that give more detailed explanations of the content discussed.

Tornadoes...Nature's Most Violent Storms: A Preparedness Guide

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NOAA Image



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