Word-Storm Ahead by The Grammar Diva: Arlene Miler

Word-Storm Ahead


Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (and we hope Jose dwindles down to nothing).  I have put some links to places where you can donate at the end of this post.

Categories of Storms: What Do They Mean

We all hear about the different categories of tropical storms and hurricanes. What do they mean?

They are measured by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale also estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. 





74-95 mph

64-82 kt

119-153 km/h

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.


96-110 mph

83-95 kt

154-177 km/h

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.



111-129 mph

96-112 kt

178-208 km/h

Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.



130-156 mph

113-136 kt

209-251 km/h

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.



157 mph or higher

137 kt or higher

252 km/h or higher

Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Different Types of Wind and Water Storms

The following are some of the most common types of damaging storms in the United States: 

Hail Storms

Hailstorms do the greatest amount of damage to the exterior of your home or property:  roof damage, siding damage, shingle damage, window damage, and automobile damage. 


Thunderstorms can produce lightning, hail, tornadoes, flooding, and more. 

Ice Storms

Ice storms produce freezing rain that coats everything in its path with a layer of glaze ice. Generally speaking, if a storm causes accumulation of more than a quarter inch on exposed surfaces, the storm can be classified as an ice storm. This type of accumulation can cause broken tree branches, power outages, and other hazardous conditions.


For many areas around the United States, damage from severe tornadoes presents a very real threat. Most tornado damage is done by high winds with recorded speeds exceeding 300 MPH and the flying debris propelled by these fierce winds. The most damage from tornadoes happens in “tornado alley” — a part of the United States that includes Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri.


You may be surprised to learn that lightning is a major cause of storm damage in many areas around the country. The National Lightning Safety Institute estimates the cost of lightning damage in the $5 to $6 billion dollar per year range. Lightning that hits trees and the ground is a common cause of wildfires, structure fires, property damage, and power outages.

Heavy Snow / Blizzards

Blizzards are severe winter storms that combine heavy snowfall, with high winds and freezing temperatures. The combination of cold, wind, and snow damages homes, businesses, and automobiles. Heavy snow can produce dangerous conditions, including roof collapse.


Floods are typically the result of heavy rain and water that rises faster than storm drains can handle. Flash floods driven by quick, violent bursts of rain can flood homes, basements, and businesses, causing serious damage to both interiors and exteriors. Flooding is a very dangerous storm phenomenon that results in numerous deaths and extensive property damage each year.

Derecho Storms

A derecho is a large, violent, fast-moving, complex of thunderstorms that follow one another along a path of at least 240 miles, with wind gusts of at least 58 mph. Although derechos are very difficult to predict, they often form along the boundary of a large, hot air mass near a jet-stream air current. 

Tropical Storms

A tropical storm is a type of storm system that develops in tropical environments. These storms are characterized by extremely low pressure systems and high-speed, swirling winds. In order for a storm to be classified as a “tropical storm,”  a specific set of circumstances must exist. In order to be a tropical storm, the wind speed must be between 39 and 73 miles per hour. Lower or higher wind speeds would be another classification (lower: tropical depression, higher: hurricane). 


A hurricane is the most powerful classification given to a tropical cyclone. Characterized by low barometric pressure systems, extremely high winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges and swells,  hurricanes that make landfall can be extremely destructive. 

What Does FEMA Stand For and What Does It Do?

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)  supports the citizens and first responders who work  to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. 

Climactic Versus Climatic

Many people get these two words confused. Climactic comes from climax. Climatic comes from climate. So when we are talking storms, we are usually talking about climatic.

How Are Hurricanes Named?

Ever wonder how hurricanes get their names? And why do hurricanes have names at all? Meteorologists long ago learned that naming tropical storms and hurricanes helps people remember the storms, communicate about them more effectively, and so stay safer if and when a particular storm strikes a coast. These experts assign names to hurricanes according to a formal list of names that is approved of prior to the start of each hurricane season.

Most hurricanes were originally designated by a system of latitude-longitude numbers, which was useful to meteorologists trying to track these storms. Unfortunately, this system was confusing to people living on coasts seeking hurricane information.

In 1950 a formal practice for storm naming was first developed for the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, storms were named according to a phonetic alphabet (e.g., Able, Baker, Charlie), and the names used were the same for each hurricane season; in other words, the first hurricane of a season was always named “Able,” the second “Baker,” and so on.

In 1953, to avoid the repetitive use of names, the system was revised so that storms would be named after female names. By doing this, the National Weather Service was mimicking the habit of naval meteorologists, who named the storms after women, much as ships at sea were traditionally named for women.

In 1979 the system was revised again to include both female and male hurricane names.

Atlantic hurricane names for the 2017 season are: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30

Where to Donate

Red Cross Disaster Relief

Other Places to Donate and Avoid Scams

Habitat for Humanity

Thank you to the following websites for providing information!

Where Do Storms Get Their Names?

Hurricane Wind Scale

List of 40 Highly Rated Places to Donate

Types of Storms


US Citizenship Podcast – She Built Ships in WWII

Get all the great US Citizenship podcasts by clicking here.  Listen online or download Apps and Episodes by clicking here

Well, I feel Good! By Arlene Miller, The Grammar Diva!

  • I just finished a good book.
  • I am good.
  • I am well.
  • The cake is good.
  • The candy tastes good.
  • I did well on the test.
  • She is a good tennis player.
  • She plays tennis well.
  • I feel well.

All of the above sentences are correct in their use of well and good. The main difference between the words is that good is an adjective (and they generally describe nouns), and well is an adverb (and they usually describe verbs, or sometimes adjectives or other adverbs).

Here is why all the above sentences are correct.

  • Good book.Good is an adjective in its usual place, right before the noun it modifies.
  • I am good. If you have a “linking” verb, which is a verb that connects the word before it with the word after it (it serves as an equal sign), you use an adjective after it, not an adverb. Good doesn’t describe am; it describes I (I = good). The most common linking verb is the “to be” verb; some of its common forms are am, are, is, were, was, have been, will be. But the “to be” verb must be the only verb. If you say, “He was walking,” walking is the verb, not was. (Was is an “auxiliary,” or “helping,” verb here). Compare a linking verb to an action verb: I read a book. Read is not connecting I and book (I do not equal a book). I read well. Here, well is describing how you read, so you use an adverb. 
  • I am well. Hmmm….so if #2 is correct (I am good), how is I am well also correct? If you say, “I am good,” it is often in reference to how you feel. The explanation for why you use good in the sentence is in #2. However, well is acceptable after the “to be” verb if it refers to a state of health.  So, they are both correct.
  • The cake is good. Here is another example of using the adjective after the “to be” verb. 
  • The candy tastes good. You would never say, “The candy tastes well.” In addition to “to be,” the sense verbs are also sometimes linking verbs: look, smell, taste, feel, sound. See the comparison of these verbs as linking verbs and action verbs after #9 below.
  • I did well on the test. Well is an adverb describing how I did (action verb did.)
  • Good tennis player. Good is an adjective modifying tennis player after the linking verb is.
  • She plays tennis well. Well is an adverb describing the action verb plays. How does she play?
  • I feel well. This is pretty much the same as I am well. Feel is a linking verb because it is a sense verb here. However, well means a state of health here, so it is fine to use, even though it is generally thought of as an adverb. Here is a really an adjective. (Note that well can also be a noun – Timmy fell into the well – and even an interjection – Well! What have we here?

Comparison of action verbs and linking (sense) verbs:

  • I am looking at the cake vs. The cake looks good.
  • I smell smoke vs. The brownies smell good.
  • I taste the salt in the chocolate vs. The chocolate tastes good.
  • I feel my cat’s soft fur vs. The breeze feels good.
  • I sound the whistle to get their attention vs. That music sounds loud.


Grammar Diva News

Does Your Flamingo Flamenco? will be available on Amazon (and soon everywhere else) in a couple of days. 

I will be selling my books and giving readings and grammar tips at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, CA on August 5, 11, and 13 from about 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. I will be part of the Redwood Writers tables inside the EC Kraft Building. All my books will be for sale, including a special back-to-school (or college or new job) package including three books at a special price: the grammar book, the grammar workbook, and the book of confusing words. If you are local, I hope to see you there. There will be many great authors and books for sale! (Well, the authors won’t be for sale, but the books will be!)