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Atlantic Hurricane Season Predictions

Aired April 6, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz.

You`re watching CNN STUDENT NEWS.

We have a couple of awesome things on this particular Friday.

The Mansfield High Tigers in Texas got our social media question right, so congrats to them.

And we have a surprise for you in today`s good-bye. You`re going to love it.

First up, though, we are talking about hurricanes, because that is what forecasters at Colorado State University are talking about. Every year, they make predictions about the Atlantic hurricane season. It starts on June 1st and lasts through the end of November, although storms can form outside that season, as well.

This year, the Colorado State forecasters say we`re in for a less active season. They`re predicting 10 named storms. They think only four of those will become hurricanes.

A couple of things to keep in mind here, though.

One, these forecasts aren`t perfect. Last year, Colorado State predicted 16 named storms. We had 19.

Two, even if just one storm makes landfall, it can still cause serious consequences. Forecasters say it`s important to prepare the same for every hurricane season.

Turning to another type of severe weather now, tornadoes. Most of them only last a few minutes, but they can have a very serious impact, like the ones we reported on that hit Texas earlier this week. The National Weather Service says these twisters might have rated up to EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

What does that mean in terms of the damage that a tornado can cause?

Well, that`s one of the things that Chad Myers explains in this breakdown.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Technically, a tornado is just a violent rotating column of air coming out of the bottom of a thunderstorm. But it takes a lot to get that violently rotating column to come out.

All you need for a tornado really to form, though, are thunderstorms and a jet stream. That jet stream is aloft. It makes the energy. If you have moisture at the surface, dry air, cold air pushing that moisture up, you can get a tornado to form in any state.

Those days where all the ingredients combine -- you get the humidity, the get the dry air, you get the jet stream, you get upper energy in the jet stream, you get winds turning as you go aloft. The higher you go, the winds actually change direction. That can cause storms -- those things all cause storms to exist and get big. Those are the ingredients that cause a big tornado day.

So now the EF scale, the Enhanced Fujita Scale, starts at 0 and goes to 5. Anything above 200 miles per hour is considered an EF5 tornado.

If you have a 0, you`re going to lose shingles.

A 1, you may lose a couple of boards on the roof.

A 2, you lose all the windows and maybe even a wall.

A 3, EF3, you will lose a couple of walls on the outside, but there will still be a part of the home standing.

An EF4, most of the home is gone, but you`ll still see the refrigerator, you`ll still see a closet and you`ll still see the bathroom.

An EF5, you cannot find the house. It`s completely gone.

We don`t know how big that Fujita Scale will be, how big that tornado will be, literally, until after we look at the damage.

We have this, this -- almost this triangulation that no other country in the world, no other region in the world, has. We have the Rocky Mountains to our west. We have the Gulf of Mexico in our south. We have Canada and very cold air masses coming down from the north.

All of those things combined make Tornado Alley, typically the Plains -- Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, all the way to Chicago, as far south as the southeast, including Georgia and Alabama. That`s basically the new or the bigger Tornado Alley.

The greatest threat of a tornado is being hit by something that the tornado is moving. If you`re outside or if you`re not protected inside, if you get hit by a 140-mile-per-hour 2 x 4, you`re going to be killed. So you need to be inside on the lowest level, somewhere in the middle of the home, away from windows.

When you hear the word "warning" and you hear your county, that`s when you need to take cover. When you hear the word "watch," that means something might happen today. Let`s have a plan. When you hear the word "warning," it`s too late to make a plan. You need to already have the plan. "Warning" is the long word, it`s the bad one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the Shout-out.

What`s the mathematical term for a step by step procedure that`s used to solve a problem?

If you think you know it, then shout it out.

Is it algorithm, matrix, permutation or parabola?

You`ve got three seconds.


That step by step procedure is called an algorithm.

That`s your answer and that`s your Shout-out.

AZUZ: Officials are using an algorithm out in Santa Cruz, California. The problem they`re trying to solve, crime. They`re using math to bust potential criminals.

The mathematician who came up with the algorithm says it`s not an exact science, but the Santa Cruz Police Department says it is delivering results.

Rick Baldwin breaks down how it works.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the movie "Minority Report," actor Tom Cruise tracks down would-be criminals in the year 2054.


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: A standard DCPD blue and white.


BALDWIN: Police in Santa Cruz, California are turning the sci-fi into reality. They`re using an algorithm -- that`s a complicated math equation -- to predict crime before they happen.

ZACH FRIEND, CRIME ANALYST, SANTA CRUZ POLICE: People tend to burglarize the same area more than once, even during the same types of times of day or the same days of the week.

BALDWIN: The program generates 10 hot spot maps each day, letting officers know when and where a crime is likely to occur.

LT. BERNIE ESCALANTE, SANTA CRUZ POLICE: There`s a 60 percent likelihood of a residential burglary in this area that we`re going to go to now.

BALDWIN: With police departments facing budget cuts across the country, this system gives them another tool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since 2000, we`ve lost about 20 percent of our overall staff, yet calls for service have gone up by 30 percent.

BALDWIN: Santa Cruz police say the program led to 13 arrests last year and they also saw an 11 percent drop in burglaries.

The Los Angeles Police Department is also following suit. In three months, they found the algorithm twice as accurate as crime analysts in predicting crime.

FRIEND: I really just see this as the future of law enforcement.

BALDWIN: Brooke Baldwin, CNN, Atlanta.


AZUZ: On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith organized the Mormon Church. Its official name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

In 1896, the modern Olympics were reborn in Athens, Greece, after being banned for 1,500 years.

In 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany and officially entered World War I. The conflict lasted until November of 1918.

And in 1994, Rwanda`s president died when his plane was shot down. It marked the start of a genocide, a systematic killing of more than 800,000 people in the African nation.

Well, next up, we have a couple of religious observances happening today.

The first one is Good Friday, which is part of Christianity`s Holy Week, leading up to Easter. For Christians, Good Friday is a day of mourning because it marks the day that Jesus Christ died on the cross. Many observe the day by attending services. And in this file video, you see Christians in a religious procession in Jerusalem.

Good Friday always falls two days before Easter Sunday.

These Jewish people are burning bread and other leavened products to get ready for Passover. The holiday begins at sundown on Friday. It commemorates the Israelites` exodus from Egypt.

According to the Passover story, the Jews didn`t have time to let their bread rise before they fled from Egypt. That`s why many Jews only eat unleavened bread during the eight days of Passover.

Yesterday, we had a report for you on the Augusta National Golf Club - - should it let women join?

Brandy thinks it`s OK that men have their own club: "If women want one, they should start their own. That would truly be women`s rights and proving they can do anything a man can."

Alexander says: "Women have women-only clubs and men don`t make a deal about that, so why do women want to be in a club full of men?" from Josephine: "Augusta should at least tell people they are a strictly male golf club instead of trying to be discrete about and ignoring the problem."

Patrick agrees: "Since it`s a private club, they have the right to keep it a male-only club. However, it needs to be advertised as a men`s only club."

Olivia thinks that "...the guys of this club are just afraid that the girls will beat them, like we always do."

And Shelene says she`s "a girl and likes to be included, but it`s a private club and they should be able to choose their membership. If it was my club, I wouldn`t want other people telling me I was required to admit certain people." earlier, you heard Brooke Baldwin talk about turning sci-fi into reality. This, kind of the same thing. You might not think there`s anything special about this plane, but that`s because you haven`t seen how it handles on the road. This is a flying car. The wings fold up when it hits the streets. It does about 100 miles per hour in the air, 80 on the road. And it will only set you back around $300,000.

Owning a flying car sounds like it would be pretty cool. But until that price tag comes down, you might just want to steer clear.

Inventing something like that really takes some drive. The flying car is still in its initial stages. You could call this a pilot program.

Once it catches on, though, it could really fly off the shelves. But getting to that point, well, could be a long road.

It`s time for us to take a weekend break.

Have a great one.

For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz.