16 November 2013

Natural Disaster Vocabulary Words and Facts

Natural Disaster Vocabulary Words and Facts

1. storm surge:(noun)  /stɔːrm/  /sɝːdʒ/
meaning: an occasion when a lot of water is pushed from the sea onto                      the land, usually caused by a hurricane /typhoon 
·         The super typhoon “Yolanda” (“Haiyan”) that hit the Visayas islands in the Philippines   on November 08, 2013 made a “colossal storm surge” that engulfed the entire city of Tacloban.

2. cyclone: (noun)  /ˈsaɪ.kləʊn/
meaning: a violent tropical storm or wind in which the air moves very fast in                            a circular direction

4.  typhoon: (noun)  (/taɪˈfuːn/)
meaning: a violent wind that has a circular movement, found in the West Pacific Ocean:
·         A super typhoon named “Yolanda” (“Haiyan” –International name) hit the Philippines on November 08, 2013 leaving thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands suffering from fear and hunger on the aftermath.

5.  hurricane: (noun) /ˈhʌr.ɪ.kən/ /-keɪn/
meaning: a violent wind that has a circular movement, especially in                            the West Atlantic Ocean:
·         A hurricane is a rotating tropical storm with winds of at least 74 miles (119                  kilometers) an hour.
·         The eye is the low-pressure center of the hurricane. Air sinks inside the eye, clearing    the skies and making it relatively calm.
·         A ring-shaped eye wall surrounds the eye and carries the storm's most violent winds   and its most intense rains.

5.  tornado: (noun)  /tɔːˈneɪ.dəʊ/  US informal: twister
meaning: a strong, dangerous wind that forms itself into an upside                              down spinning cone and is able to destroy buildings as                                   it moves across the ground
·         Every U.S. state has experienced twisters, but Texas holds the record: an annual average of 120.
·         Tornadoes have been reported in Great Britain, India, Argentina, and other countries, but most tornadoes occur in the United States.
·         Once a tornado hits the ground, it may live for as little as a few seconds or as long as three hours.

6. earthquake: (noun) /ˈɜːθ.kweɪk/  
meaning: a sudden violent movement of the earth's surface,                                         sometimes causing great damage:
·          Thousands of quakes occur every day around the globe, most of them too weak to be felt.
·          Every year about 10,000 people, on average, die as a result of earthquakes.

7. tsunami: (noun) /tsuːˈnɑː.mi/
meaning :an extremely large wave caused by a violent movement of                         the earth under the sea:
       :a series of ocean waves that sends surges of water,                             sometimes reaching heights of over 100 feet (30.5 meters),               onto land:
·          Most tsunamis, about 80 percent, happen within the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a geologically active area where tectonic shifts make volcanoes and earthquakes common.
·         Tsunamis’ speed across the sea is up to 500 miles (805 kilometers) an hour—about as fast as a jet airplane.

8. flood : (noun) /flʌd/
                        meaning : large amount of water covering an area that is usually dry:
·         Most floods take hours or even days to develop, giving residents ample time to prepare or evacuate.
·         Others generate quickly and with little warning. These are called flash floods which can be extremely dangerous, instantly turning a river into a thundering wall of water and sweeping everything in its path downstream.

9. landslide:  (noun)  /ˈlænd.slaɪd/
meaning :  a mass of rock and earth moving suddenly and quickly down                                  a steep slope
·         In the United States alone, landslides cause an estimated 25 to 50 deaths and $3.5 billion in damage each year.
·         In Asia, according to Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the Philippines, up to 80 percent of the country's total land area is landslide prone, making the country the fourth most exposed to landslide risk, after Indonesia, India and China. 

10. wild fire: (noun) /ˈwaɪld.faɪər/
meaning :  a fire that is burning strongly and out of control on                                           an area of grass or bushes in the countryside:

·         On average, in the U.S. there are more than 100,000 wildfires, also called wildland fires or forest fires, clear 4 million to 5 million acres (1.6 million to 2 million hectares) of land every year. 

11. volcano: (noun)  /vɒlˈkeɪ.nəʊ
meaning :  a mountain with a large, circular hole at the top through                            which lava (= hot liquidrock) gases, steam, and dust are or                           have been forced out
·         About 1,900 volcanoes are active today or known to have been active in historical times.
·         Almost 90 percent of volcanoes are in the Ring of Fire, a band of volcanoes circling the edges of the Pacific Ocean.
·         The eruption of Mount Pinatubo on June 15, 1991 in the Philippines produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in the Alaska Peninsula.
·         According to scientists’ estimation, there are more than 260,000 people who have died in the past 300 years from volcanic eruptions and their aftermath.

Hurricane? Cyclone? Typhoon?  What’s the difference?

Actually, they’re all the same, but they just use distinctive terms for a storm in different parts of the world.
According to the National Geographic, these storms are called hurricanes when they develop over the Atlantic or eastern Pacific Oceans. They are called cyclones when they form over the Bay of Bengal and the northern Indian Ocean. They are called typhoons when they develop in the western Pacific.

Sources: National Geographic: Natural Disaster / Cambridge Online Dictionary