A farmer was struck by thunder / lightning on Thursday evening while mending a fence in one of his plains / fields. The farmer, Jack Dobson, received treatment for slight burns at Meldew Hospital. Talking about the incident later, he said: “It was drizzling / showering slightly when I went out, but I’d checked the weather prediction / forecast and it hadn’t said there was going to be a thunderstorm. It was lucky I was wearing my Wellington boots!”
Save Bags and Save Money
Shoppers at a local supermarket are being urged not to throw away the supermarket’s plastic shopping bags. A spokesperson for Asdo said: “For every new bag we make, the factory has to pump out industrial waste / litter and that’s increasing pollution in the suburban / surrounding area. We want to reduce the number of bags we make each year. We’re offering a financial incentive to our customers to reuse / repeat their bags by bringing them with them every time they shop with us rather than getting new ones each time.”
Local Academic Causes a Stir
An academic from Davington University has caused controversy by claiming that global / worldwide warming is not caused by human disregard for the weather / environment. In her new book entitled Are We to Blame?, Professor Angela Lucini argues that large-scale changes in the Mediterranean land / climate, for example, have taken place ever since the world was formed. “People weren’t responsible for the Ice Ages, or their coming to an end, and we certainly weren’t responsible for the fact the dinosaurs became extinct / endangered, so it’s a bit presumptuous of us to think we’re responsible for all the problems were facing now, isn’t it?” she said.
Councillor Calls for an End to the Fireplace
Local councillor Davina Forrest is calling for a ban on the use of coal fires at home. “There’s no doubt that if domestic chimneys stopped pumping out smoke / fog into the atmosphere, the air / wind we’d all be breathing would be much cleaner / cleare”, she said.
3.33. Read the text Climate Extremes and do the exercises after it.
In certain parts of the world, people’s actual survival depends on the way that they adapt their lives to the extreme weather conditions of their environments.
Extreme heat. Temperatures in the Australian outback – the central desert area of Australia – can often exceed 50°C for the summer months. Due to the strength of the sun over this part of the world, Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Since 1981, there has been an official campaign by the Australian government to encourage Australians to protect their skin from the sun. Forest fires are another result of consistently high temperatures. These have become more and more common in the past few years, even happening around the city of Sydney.
Snow and extreme cold. Valdez in Northern Alaska is used to battling against the elements. The town was relocated in 1964 after an earthquake and tidal wave completely destroyed it, and it currently has the record snowfall for the whole continent of North America – 7.7 metres per year. Snow and ice are part of daily life for Alaskans. Many towns are accessible only by sea or by air, as roads either don’t exist or are blocked for most of the year. Some houses are built without excavating any foundations, and most have special strong roofs to support the snow, and features such as windows that only open inwards so that they aren’t ripped off by the Arctic wind.
Hurricanes. Thanks to its coastal location and tropical climate, Florida is the American state most regularly hit by hurricanes. On average (normally) a hurricane happens along the Florida coast every 3 years. Most cause some damage to buildings and vehicles but some, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992, can cause devastation. Andrew was the worst hurricane in America’s history and caused 65 deaths and $26 billion worth (value) of damage to property. Not surprisingly, Floridans spend a lot of money protecting their homes from hurricane damage. They prefer concrete (cement) walls to wooden or metal constructions, and most windows and doors have hurricane shutters (a cover for a window). Some new houses are also being built with special reinforced rooms for sheltering (covering and protecting yourself) from hurricanes.
Tornadoes. Tornadoes happen during storms when warm air and strong winds begin to spin (to turn quickly) upwards. These distinct funnel-shaped (a utensil with a wide mouth that gradually reduces to a small hole) winds can cause great damage along their paths. Central states such as Kansas and Oklahoma see the majority of the USA’s tornadoes. In fact, there is a famous tornado ‘route’ through ten Midwestern states which is known as ‘Tornado Alley’. Homes in that area often have storm cellars (underground room) where families can shelter from the weather.
Earthquakes. Most of the earthquakes are not even noticeable, and the last large one happened in 1994 in California. However, catastrophic earthquake nearly destroyed San Francisco in 1906. Scientists say that it is possible that another massive earthquake may happen in the future, but they predict that they will recognize the warning signs years before it happens. As a precaution against earthquakes, some older buildings in California cities are being pulled down (destroyed), and there is very little new building along the fault line itself.
► Match the natural disasters to their definitions.
1. earthquake a) a storm with severe winds, often in coastal areas
2. hurricane b) a storm where winds turn around a central point
3. tidal wave c) movement of the surface of the earth, caused by activity below the surface
4. tornado d) a gigantic sea wave
3.34. Read the text again and match the weather conditions to the geographical areas.
1. earthquakes a) Australia
2. extreme heat and forest fires b) central USA
3. hurricanes c) northern USA
4. snow and extreme cold d) southern coast of the USA
5. tornadoes e) western coast of the USA
3.35. Answer the questions about the text.
1. Which health problem does the sun cause in Australia?
2. Why was Valdez rebuilt in the 1960s?
3. Can you drive to the state capital of Alaska?
4. How often do hurricanes hit the Florida coast, on average?
5. Where do most of the USA’s tornadoes happen?
6. When was the last serious earthquake in California?
7. Why do scientists say that people should not panic about a future major earthquake in California?
3.36. Write the review of the text Climate Extremes. (See Unit 11.)