AccuWeather Summer Camp: Week 9
🔥 August 7 - Campfire Tales: How reliable are car thermometers?
We learned earlier that bank thermometers can read too high on sunny days, and the same thing can happen with car thermometers. Worse yet – rain, snow and even something inside your car can give you a wrong temperature reading. Let’s grab our infrared thermometers and explore the reasons why:
Car thermometers should be used as a guide and not be solely relied on to know when temperatures have dropped below freezing – since that is extremely important if there is a threat of ice in your area.
Sometimes after a really long stretch of cold weather, roads can stay colder and turn icy well after the temperature rises above freezing and rain is falling on your windshield. Also, car thermometers can’t tell you when a colder, shaded area with a lingering icy spot is coming up.
While you should use car thermometers as just a guide, your car’s trusty metal frame will protect you from lightning strikes. Remember, it’s not the rubber tires that keep you safe from lightning in a car!
🔎 August 7 - Weather Detectives! Don’t be fooled by bank thermometers!
Next time you drive past a bank thermometer on a sunny day, compare the temperature you see with the one on your car thermometer or on your AccuWeather app. More than likely, that bank thermometer will read a much higher temperature – and one that is not right.
You get a gold star if you and your family have your outdoor thermometer positioned in the shade – that’s what meteorologists do.
Temperatures soared to the century on a bank thermometer in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
🥤 August 7 - Water break! Tips to stay cool without air conditioning
It’s time to beat the heat at AccuWeather Summer Camp with ways to stay cool if you don’t have A.C. or want to help your parents save on electricity bills. If you miss the beach, one tip shown below makes it feel like you are sitting in the sand with a misty breeze blowing on you!
Before air conditioning was invented, people had to come up with even more unique ways to stay cool – including dunking their heads in large water fountains!
If you can’t stay inside on a hot day, don’t forget that light-colored clothing is always a better choice than darker colors:
🐠 August 6 - Aquarium Trip: 5 sharks that probably won’t eat you
While we hear of shark attacks each year, you don’t have to be scared of all sharks. Here are five sharks that more than likely don’t care that you are in the ocean -- one of these sharks is among the laziest fish in the ocean!
While the sharks in the video above may not pose dangers to you, it may be hard to tell which shark is which when you are swimming – so, be sure to follow tips to make sure you don’t get mistaken for a shark’s prey. Also, don’t forget to be on the lookout for jellyfish and stingrays!
Photo of two Mako sharks off the coast of Southern California on Aug. 10, 2012. (Mark Conlin/NOAA Fisheries Image Gallery)
🐞 August 6 - Bug Camp: How crickets can tell you the temperature
We learned earlier during AccuWeather Summer Camp that counting cricket chirps and a little math will give you the outside air temperature, but why do crickets make great thermometers? Let’s listen to some crickets and learn more:
Before you throw away the thermometer you have in your house, crickets typically do not chirp when the temperature is below 55 F or above 100 F, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Entomology.
They also said that some crickets don’t sing in a way that you can count the chirps, as these crickets may sound more like a continuous vibrating sound, and a cricket’s age, hungry belly, a nearby intruder or success at finding a girlfriend, since you usually are hearing a male chirping, can also throw off a cricket’s thermometer reading.
🎡 August 6 - Carnival Ride: Bugs and birds riding the waves of storms
Bugs and birds are often seen flying on radar, but sometimes storms can take them on a journey far from home. Butterflies were swept more than 625 miles across open water from India to the Arabian Peninsula on Aug. 5, 1983 – that definitely was one powerful storm!
Gather around the campfire to hear more of that story, and how some people believe storms can carry smells as well in the AccuWeather This Date in Weather History podcast:
🏊🏽 August 5 - Swim class: Why don’t fish get struck by lightning?
You are swimming in a lake or the ocean and you hear thunder. You jump out and get indoors, right? But what about the fish still in the water, how do they stay safe? Let’s do a quick activity with fish candy, water and vegetable oil to find out the reason:
It’s unknown how deep the lightning strike will reach in water, but most fish swim deep in lakes and oceans and can ride out thunderstorms there.
So if lightning strikes don’t travel deep in bodies of water, why isn’t it safe for you to take a shower or bath during a thunderstorm? It’s the metal that your water pipes are made of that can carry the electricity from lightning to a bathroom.
⚡ August 5 - Shocking Truth: What’s it like to get struck by lightning?
Have you ever met a lightning survivor? Chances are low given that the odds of you being struck by lightning in your lifetime (if we say 80 years for an average lifespan) is one in 15,300, according to the National Weather Service.
If you’ve never heard a lightning survivor tell their story before, gather around the campfire to hear one woman talk about how she was struck by lightning inside her home earlier this year in the following AccuWeather podcast:
One very important thing to remember – you will not get electrocuted if you touch a person who was just struck by lightning. Call 911 immediately and start CPR right away if needed. CPR has been credited with saving the lives of many people who suffered a lightning strike.
🔥 August 4 - Campfire Tales: How nature makes its own hot tubs
If you step into a creek fed by spring water, more than likely you will notice how cool the water is compared to a nearby stream that has been warmed by the sun. However, there are springs across the Earth that create a natural hot tub.
These thermal springs form as the groundwater is heated by rocks far down below the land we are all standing on. Many thermal springs are found where there has been recent volcanic activity, but that is not always the case. Rocks become warmer the farther down you go in the Earth, the U.S. Geological Survey explains, and can lead to a thermal spring.
Some thermal springs are comfortable enough for people to take a dip in, like a swimming pool or a hot tub -- one such spring in Greenland lets people be in the water as icebergs float by!
Happy Greenlanders and tourists enjoy the unique experience of dipping in the hot springs while enjoying drifting icebergs floating by on Uunartoq Island at the far southern tip of Greenland. These hot springs provide visitors with a perfect bath temperatures of about 100°F. (USGS)
Other thermal springs can be too hot to get in -- the hot springs in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park often reach the boiling point, park officials said.
🎨 August 4 - Art Station: Make your own lava lamp
Oil and water don’t mix, but the two can create a fun at-home lava lamp!
All you need is a glass, water, vegetable oil, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer or denture cleaner. You don’t necessarily have to have a flashlight, but it makes AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls’ experiment really cool:
🏕️ August 4 - Excursion Day! Water that comes up out of the ground
Do you know where your water comes from? If it is from a well or spring (and we aren’t talking about the season in between winter and summer!), that water takes an extra long journey from the sky to your faucet.
Aquifer is the official term for the rocks well below our feet that hold water and supply wells and springs. Do you live in the area from around Nebraska and southward to West Texas? If so, the largest aquifer in the United States is underneath you!
This aquifer, called the Ogallala aquifer, is nearly 174,000 square miles (450,658 square kilometers) and supplies 30 percent of all water used for irrigation in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
🥕 August 3 - Gardening Time! Surprising warm weather garden problem
If you have a garden at home, you know that a stretch of warm and dry weather is not the best for helping your veggies grow. You have to water the garden daily or the leaves of the veggies will quickly begin to wilt.
What’s another garden problem that can arise when it’s warm and dry? Let’s check in with AccuWeather On-Air Meteorologist Chris Nallan as his garden took a hit from a pest that multiplies in this type of weather.
When it is dry out and you have to water your garden, it is important not to overwater your plants -- roots need air or they will smother and rot. Only swamp plants like to sit in soggy soil all of the time, not most veggies that you have in your garden.
The best way to water your garden is to give it a thorough soaking followed by some time to let the plants drink up that water.
🔎 August 3 - Weather Detectives! Debunking sunscreen myths
The main reason we baked biscuits in a car earlier was to show you how powerful the sun is -- not to have you stop using your oven! The strength of the sun in the late spring and summer can not only cause cars and the pavement to become dangerously hot but can also leave some people looking like lobsters if they don’t have the proper amount of sunscreen on.
To make sure you don’t get burnt the next time you are swimming or playing outside, let’s debunk the top three myths about sunscreen:
🍳 August 3 - Cooking Activity: Car gets hot enough to bake biscuits
Did you see how hot the car’s dashboard got? 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius)! While it was fun to use the sun to bake the biscuits, this shows how dangerous cars can get when the windows are up and the air conditioning is off. Krissy even noted how hot it was to just sit in the car and film this activity.
Adults should never leave kids or pets in a car without the AC on even for a short period of time. Remember that we’ve shown that slightly cracking your car windows does not make a significant difference to keep your car cooler.
If you were wondering, Krissy used Bisquick to make the biscuits.
Additional experiments and reporting by Jason Nicholls.
Previously:Report a Typo
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