If you were watching WTVG13 on Saturday, September 4th then you saw Imagination Station’s Senior Programs Officer, Sloan Eberly, talk about the hurricane chamber. Imagination Station always wants to connect with their visitors and explain more about the exhibits that they have in the building. So I am going to discuss what hurricanes are, the hurricane chamber, the hurricane scale and finally I am going to let you in on a little secret about the hurricane chamber (Just between us of course!).
The hurricane chamber is a hurricane simulator that is located in the Water Works Learning World. Imagination Station has names for all of their large exhibit areas (Learning Worlds) that contain many individual exhibits that are all created around one theme. In the case of the Water Works area all the exhibits are dedicated to exploring water. Exhibits such as the water and erosion tables, hurricane chamber, water vortex, cloud generator and many more are found in this Learning World.
Hurricanes are strong tropical cyclones that form over warm tropical water and have wind speeds reaching 74 mph or greater. Have you ever noticed how hurricanes always get a name?
The history of naming hurricanes is interesting. Before 1979 female names were used exclusively to describe hurricanes. Then in 1979 a six year rotating list of names was adopted and the names rotate between genders. Hurricanes are given names to facilitate weather warning services, safety issues, legal issues and eliminate confusion when more than one storm is in the area. The names are decided upon at international meetings of the World Meteorological Organization.
The category scale used to describe hurricanes is called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The scale was created in 1969 by Herbert Saffir and Dr. Bob Simpson. There are 5 categories in the scale and each describes the wind speed, barometric pressure, storm surge and overall destruction level of the storm.
The table below gives you some examples of the hurricanes that have made landfall in the United States and their strength.
|Category||Sustained Winds (mph)||Description||Example|
|1||74-95||Minimal||Charley 1988 NC|
|96-110||Moderate||Bob 1991 NY|
|3||111-130||Extensive||Alicia TX 1983|
|4||131-155||Extreme||Andrew Fl 1992|
|5||156 and greater||Catastrophic||Katrina LA 2005|
Hurricane season in the Atlantic (East coast of U.S.) begins June 1st and ends November 30th.
Hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific (West coast of U.S.) begins May 15th and ends November 30th.
The hurricane chamber is a simulator that puts you in the middle of a hurricane. There are three levels and each corresponds to a hurricane category. The first level of the hurricane chamber reaches wind speeds around 95 mph. Those wind speeds cover a category 1 hurricane according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale! But here is a little secret! The hurricane chamber does reach wind speeds higher than a category 1 hurricane, in fact the chamber can reach wind speeds of 156 mph. This is a category 5 hurricane and you can experience this if you request a team member to get THE MAGIC KEY! I highly recommend that you ask a team member about this one of a kind experience.
Hopefully you learned a couple of things about hurricanes and you will come down to Imagination Station to experience the hurricane chamber and all of the other interactive exhibits. As always I would love to hear about your hurricane chamber experience. Write a comment in the box below!
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