Skip to Content

2015 October

October 23, 2015

Hurricane Patricia sets cyclonic sustained wind speed record

hurricane patricia near mexico as seen from space

Hurricane Patricia from the International Space Station as taken by Cmdr. Scott Kelly, NASA Astronaut

Hurricane Patricia is a Category 5 storm (sustained winds above 156 miles per hour) that is about to make landfall on the Pacific Coast of Mexico this afternoon. The sustained winds of 235 miles per hour are the highest reliably-measured surface winds on record for a tropical cyclone, anywhere on the Earth. This is a larger storm than Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is the strongest storm ever recorded in the Pacific Ocean. The cities of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo could see upwards of 20 inches of rain as the storm passes through and 8-12 inches along the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Dr. Jeff Masters from Weather Underground reported that this storm is also the fastest to intensify as well. The central pressure of the storm dropped by 100 millibars in 24 hours and winds intensified by nearly 100 miles per hour over the same period. The barometric pressure change between a sunny day and a stormy day is about 10 to 30 millibars of pressure depending on typical weather conditions. The central barometric pressure of the storm was recorded at 879 mb (25.96 inches) on Friday afternoon is the lowest ever recorded which means this is one of the biggest storms in modern history.

Update: Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Mexico with sustained winds of 165 miles per hour — a Category 5 storm.

For a historical breakdown on the size of this storm with some more pictures and graphs, check out this article from Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground.

For more about the Saffir-Simpson wind scale used to categorize tropical storms and cyclones, click here.

October 12, 2015

Canvas How-To: Creating Sections

In today’s installment of our Canvas How-To series, we will cover course sections which will help to differentiate assignments between groups of students. This is especially useful in a blended 400/500 level course (undergraduates and graduates in the same course) but it can be useful in assigning groups for larger projects or for any other reason you decide. In short, sections help to organize your students in a way to help with issuing assignments and group work, and making grading easier for differentiated assignments.

Process Overview

The process is two-fold:

  1. You will have to create sections within your group then…
  2. Assign students to those sections.

The first part is a matter of a few clicks, the second takes a little more time but it will save you time in the long run.

Creating Sections

Go to the Settings menu option of your course then select the Sections tab


Then in the form field, type in the name of your new section(s), then click Add Section.

Note: These section names can be edited at a later date by hovering over the list of created sections then clicking on the pencil icon.

Adding Students to Sections

Go to the People page. This will show all of the students enrolled in your class.

To add a person to one of your sections, move your mouse cursor over the person’s name and a gear icon will appear on the right-hand side of that row.


Click on the gear icon, then select Edit Sections


Then, type in the name of the section you would like to place them in or click on the book icon to pull up any available sections from which you can then select. Click Update to proceed.

Some benefits of using sections

After your sections have been created and filled, you will then be able to do a couple things much easier than you could before: differentiate assignments and grading.

How it can help?

When you create an assignment, you can select which section to which you would like to assign. You can select multiple sections if you have the administrative ability:




When it is assigned to one section, the other students not in the section will not have it counted in their grades.

Can some of this be done automatically?

In some cases, when classes are blended under one CRN (e.g., first-year language courses with multiple instructors, etc.), sections can be made from individual CRNs when combined with other CRNs. Please consult CMET at the UO Library for more information.