Posted by Jeff Id on December 5, 2010
Ok, I’m not a natural book reviewer. I am a prolific reader however, and simply can’t stop trying to entertain or educate my overworked ganglia. It is a curse when a book can take hours of your life yet you can’t stop reading. Recently Mike Smith sent an email saying he wanted to send me a book. The title of the book was “Warnings – The true story of how science tamed the weather”. On getting a few minutes to my self I began reading it, unaware that I was about to shoot the whole day reading a book on weather. Unfortunately besides the hundreds of climate papers I’ve now read, meteorology isn’t in the repertoire. Honestly, I’m not nearly as interested in the weather as I should be to have a climate blog! The story however, was educational but it was also a heck of a lot of fun. From the first prediction of a tornado, to development and deployment of doppler radar, the state of weather understanding both then and now is laid out in non-technical detail in the context of personal stories from both Mike and other meteorologists. Both the tragedies and triumphs are described.
Were you aware that the official US government policy as recently as the 1950’s was that weather reports were banned from issuing alerts about known tornadoes. Imagine the angst of being a young weatherman with a known massive tornado bearing down on a huge population and not being able to report it. Imagine the story when personal accounts are told by those who gave the first public warnings in the face of the law, with the full knowledge that there could be consequences to their careers. It was one interesting story after another and I ended up ripping through the entire book in a day.
Mike Smith does an excellent job telling what turned out to be an exciting story of when the weather met science and technology. If you are interested in the history of predictions of severe storm weather, or enjoy reading about severe weather events, you will very much enjoy this read. Mike’s book cost me five or six hours, in exchange for which I was thoroughly and completely entertained and perhaps a little more educated.
The book 270 pages and it has a large number of color photos in a center section. I definitely recommend it. Click here for Mike’s own site containing a number of more qualified reviews, and links of where to purchase.