VIS students engage in severe weather safety

Published 10:10 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

Meteorologist Meaghan Thomas visits the students at Valley Intermediate School to provide weather safety tips. (Contributed)

Meteorologist Meaghan Thomas visits the students at Valley Intermediate School to provide weather safety tips. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— Third grade students at Valley Intermediate School enjoyed a special visit from meteorologist Meaghan Thomas, who talked to them about severe weather and tornado safety Feb. 4.

“It is always nice to have an outside expert who can give more background and more knowledge than what we have in textbooks and videos,” said third grade teacher Carrie Baker.

This presentation coincided with the natural disasters unit the third-graders are currently learning. They’ve been learning about all kinds of disasters, how to prepare for them, what kind of safety kits should be available and how to be safe during them.

Since severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are common in Alabama, Thomas focused her discussion on those events. Baker said Thomas discussed the formation of tornadoes, where they occur and what to do in case of a tornado.

“It added so much more (to our unit), and they were engaging in her speaking and her graphs,” Baker said. ‘They were so excited; they learned a lot (and) they had a lot of questions. They were shocked at how strong tornadoes can be.”

Thomas told the students that Alabama is the top state for tornado activity and that there are two seasons for tornadoes: A main season in the spring and a shortened season in November and December.

Baker said Thomas brought some storm-chaser footage to show the students the damage and power of a tornado, while also telling the students how to be safe during a storm.

She told them what to look for, how to prepare, the proper safety kit and the necessity of having a plan in place for storms, according to Baker.

Baker said this is the first time a weather expert has visited the school in a long time. She believes they used to bring someone in for the unit, but it has been a while since then.

Having the guest speaker helped focus the students, according to Baker, and she said she thinks the students gained more from the experience being able to watch Thomas’ videos and hearing her speak.

“I enjoyed all the third-graders being excited to learn,” Baker said. “They connected with her. They were excited to learn, and I think it’s a great experience for them because it’s not very often you get to meet someone who is on TV.”