English News Pod

#8: Too Many Hurricanes for the Latin Alphabet

September 28, 2020 English Teacher Caroline Episode 8
English News Pod
#8: Too Many Hurricanes for the Latin Alphabet
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Episode 8: Today's news in English will look at the 2020 U.S. hurricane season and the rare naming of storms using the Greek alphabet, rather than the typically used Latin alphabet. You can find a full transcript of this podcast here

Thanks for listening, and I will see you soon for more news in English!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnglishTeacherCaroline

Hello my beautiful students and welcome back to English News Pod, the best way for you to learn practical English through the news. I’m your host and teacher, Caroline. After a short 2 week break, I’m excited to be back to talk about today’s top news! To make up for lost time, today’s lesson will be slightly longer than normal.

You can find a full transcript of this podcast episode in the description, and you can use chapter markers to skip easily through the fast or slow sections in this report depending on your level. Enjoy! 

The 2020 hurricane season in the US has been off to a hectic start! Hurricanes usually form off of the East and Gulf coasts of the US from June to November each year, with August and September being the peak months. Hurricanes are usually named in  alphabetical order. For example, this year’s first storm in June was named Cristobal (starting with a ‘C’), followed by Edouard  (with an ‘E’), Fay (with an ‘F’)...all the way through ‘Wilfred’ (with a ‘W’). 

However, the season is still strong, and the meteorologists have run out of Latin alphabet letters to name storms! For the second time in history, they are now using the Greek alphabet to name storms. On September 18th, two new storms were named with the Greek alphabet - Alpha and Beta. 

You might be thinking, why are there so many storms this year? There are a few reasons for this. The first is known as La Niña, which happens every 3-5 years. This year is known as a La Niña year, which means a cooler Pacific Ocean and warmer Atlantic Ocean. The word “La Niña” actually comes from Spanish, meaning little girl, but in regards to hurricanes, warm water creates a perfect storm. 

The second reason there are so many storms is, you guessed it, climate change. As global temperatures rise, so do the amount of hurricanes each year. Hurricanes are not only becoming more numerous, but actually stronger too. This is a huge problem for the people living in hurricane zones, as flooding, tornadoes, power outages, and strong winds can destroy entire communities every year. 

Do you have hurricanes in your country? If so, are they called hurricanes or typhoons?

Let’s take a look at some grammar:

  1. Hurricanes - hurricanes are very strong spinning storms that form over water and have wind speeds of over 74mph. The strength of the storm is on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the weakest, and 5 being the strongest and most destructive.
  2. "Has been off to + adj + start" is a phrase meaning that something has started. In this case we’re saying ‘the hurricane season has been off to a hectic start’, meaning the season has started and is very busy. You can also use it in different contexts, for example “my project is off to a good start.”
  3. Peak - the peak is the height, or the maximum time. Here we are talking about peak months of hurricane season, meaning the most hurricanes occur during August and September.
  4. Meteorologists - meteorologists are scientists who study the weather. The prefix meteo- indicates weather. The suffix -ologist indicates a scientist. You can see the suffix -ologist in combination with other prefixes in a lot of other common words, like biologist (a scientist for bio, which is life), a psychologist (a scientist for the psych, or the mind), and so on. 
  5. Numerous - numerous is an adjective coming from the word "number", and meaning a lot of something. In this case we are talking about a lot of hurricanes, or numerous hurricanes. 
  6. Tornadoes - tornadoes are spinning storms, but unlike hurricanes, they form over land, not water. Tornadoes also form very quickly, while hurricanes take a long time to form. In general, people can prepare for hurricanes, but they cannot prepare a lot for tornadoes. Despite these differences, both types of storms can still be very dangerous.
  7. Power outages - let’s split this up. First, we have the word "power," meaning electricity. In the US we say power lines to describe the wires that carry electricity through a town or city. Second, we have "outages," coming from the word out, like off, gone, or finished. So, power outages are when the electricity is cut off because of a storm or technical problem. 

That wraps us up for today. If you liked this podcast, please subscribe and follow for episodes 3 times a week, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can also find English Teacher Caroline on Facebook to ask questions about English grammar.  

Thanks for listening, and I will see you soon for more news in English!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnglishTeacherCaroline

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