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Definition of Probability

Probability = # of Favorable Outcomes/# of Possible Outcomes

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Probable Winds

Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/43322816@N08/6106625390
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Have you ever wondered which cities or places are the most likely to experience a hurricane? Have you ever wondered how the likelihood of a hurricane is calculated? When you put science and probability together, you can gather a "hurricane" of information!

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Every year, scientists work to figure out the likelihood of hurricanes. They are able to calculate the chances of hurricane activity in a variety of different places, and you can find out the probability of a hurricane hitting your own town, city, state, or area. How is this done?

Credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24662369@N07/4923521946
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

When predicting hurricanes, scientists look closely at climate conditions and water temperatures. These factors can offer clues to scientists about hurricane activity. For example, certain changes in upper-level winds can be a sign that a hurricane might form. Ocean conditions can also be a good indicator as hurricanes usually form over water at warmer temperatures. When many of these factors are present in particular areas, then scientists can confidently predict that a hurricane will most likely occur. Remember that the scientists are only making predictions based on their research and data, and their predictions may or may not come true.

If you want to check out the general likelihood of a hurricane hitting your area, take a look at this table: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/weather/hurricane/history/probabilities-table.htm

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Watch the first video below to learn about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hurricane predictions for the 2013 season. With the next link, take a trip to the "Probability Fair" to practice working with probability through carnival games.



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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/43322816@N08/6106625390; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24662369@N07/4923521946; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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