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Extreme Weather: A Guide & Record Book Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393326586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393326581
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Weather-watchers will rejoice in this lavishly illustrated compendium of the hottest, coldest, wettest, driest, windiest, snowiest, wildest and weirdest weather on the planet. Burt, an amateur meteorologist and publisher of the Compass American Guidebook series, explores extreme weather phenomena in digestible mini-essays complemented by sidebars on such oddities as colored snow and luminous tornadoes. The whole is supplemented by maps, lists of destructive storms, and photos of towering thunderheads, raging floodwaters and the devastated remains of human settlement. The focus is on the United States, thunderstorm and tornado capital of the world thanks to the Great Plains collision between warm, moist Gulf air and cool, dry Canadian air. But Burt also looks at meteorological problem areas abroad, such as Bangladesh, where cyclonic storm surges killed 300,000–500,000 people in 1970 and a further 139,000 in 1991. In addition to regaling readers with prodigies, Burt exhaustively tabulates weather records for each state and for hundreds of U.S. cities. Although his discussion of the science behind the weather tends toward the cursory, this eminently browsable blizzard of sensational facts will delight budding meteorologists and barroom wagerers alike.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - This book has enough information packed within its pages to keep the most ardent weather watchers busy. Chapters are arranged by such phenomena as thunderstorms and hail, snow and ice, windstorms and fog, etc., and liberally illustrated with beautiful black-and-white and color photographs, charts, and maps. True "junkies" will pore over the appendixes that include a map of weather stations and state and city precipitation records. In the course of discussing each type of occurrence, Burt offers numerous items of interest. For example, Key West has only one foggy day each year, while the "foggiest of the foggy" towns in the U.S. is Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia River. Mysteries such as why most other countries in the world, with the possible exception of India and Bangladesh, do not experience as many severe thunderstorms as the United States does are clearly explained. Discussions of scales such as the Fujita, used to measure the strength of a tornado, and the Saffir-Simpson, used to measure hurricanes, are included. Eyewitness accounts are scattered throughout. This book will captivate weather lovers and make converts of others. - Peggy Bercher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Chrstopher C. Burt is the author of "Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book" and the weather historian for wunderground.com. He blogs weekly for this web site: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/#met

Chris worked with Khalid El Fadli, the director of the Libyan National Meteorological Center (LNMC) and the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to overturn the long-held (for 90 years) planetary heat record which was announced in September 2012. Chris is featured in a documentary about this investigation titled 'Dead Heat: Overturning the World Heat Record.'

Chris studied meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He currently resides in Oakland, California.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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It's enjoyable reading just in sections or as a whole.
Elaine C.
Complimenting the well organized data is an excellent and informative historical text.
Marcus A. Burtner
This is a well written and fascinating book on weather extremes.
magellan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pegleg on January 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the book a weather nut like me wished he had thought to write first. Great maps and photos, tables of data, and he asks for corrections, publishing them, with updates, at [...] .

The photos, such as Lincoln, NE, summer 1936, are spectacular, as are his colored maps of everything (wettest and driest spots by state is one example).

He even has NYC data from the mid 19th Century, with "the day that never got above zero" Now that takes some hunting to dig up.

A great gift, as well as a wonderful resource. All libraries, as well as anyone interested in the weather should have a copy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on September 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book on weather. And the extreme values it gives are actually fairly interesting and fun to read about. Besides, we all like to know if we're in the middle of truly unusual weather.

The book starts with heat records for every state, both absolute maximums and July averages. As well as maps showing number of days with 90-degree (Fahrenheit) or higher temperatures. We learn about temperature-humidity indexes, heat waves, and even heat bursts. As well as extremes in temperature ranges. There's information about heat extremes in foreign countries as well.

Next we get to cold weather! Heat records for every state, both absolute minimums and January averages. Cold waves. Wind chill. And international extremes. Did you know that near Lake Vostok, in Antarctica, the temperature once reached minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit? Brrrr!

We learn about the snowiest cities. And then we get to rainfall records for a big bunch of American cities. There are also records for varying amounts of time. What's the record for rainfall in 30 minutes? It's over 11 inches! And it fell in Sikeshugou, China. And there's material about floods, thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes. As well as wind and fog!

There is a fascinating chapter on hurricanes. I vividly remember Hurricane Carol, which struck in August of 1954. And there's a picture of Providence, Rhode Island, after it was hit by the storm surge from that hurricane. There is also an excellent map of the American Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean coasts, with probabilities per year of being hit by a hurricane, as well as probabilities of being hit by 125 mile-per-hour winds or greater. The five areas that in 2004 that were "overdue" for a hurricane are listed.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Scott M. Kruse on October 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is well written with a wealth of easy-to-understand graphics and tables. It is divided into 8 parts: Heat & Drought, Cold, Snow & Ice, Rain & Floods, Thunderstorms & Hail, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Windstorms, Fog and El Niño-Southern Oscillatiion. Appendices include maps, records and conversion tables.

This is a wealth of information, often shown as very useful maps. The book will have to be updated as information is only presented in pre-1865 inch-pound measuring units and not the US system of measurement, SI or "metric" units. The author presents means and extremes in every category, world wide, complete with anecdotes of luminous snowfall and tornadoes, lightning pranks, heat and cold, storminess, maximum aridity and precipitation. This is not the "end all, be all," but pulls together information that is otherwise scattered in academic texts not normally available to the general public.

Emphasis is on the US and North America. There is no discussion of effective moisture (Index of Moisture, precipitation compared to the climatic demand for moisture, potential and actual evapotranspiration). Recent severe blizzards are chronicled, but a "blizzard" is never defined. Föen or chinook winds are discussed for Colorado and Utah, but ignored for Sierra Nevada and Cascades of WA, OR and CA.

The author points out 1) records will always be broken and 2) unprecedented events do not presage extraordinary explanations. These are two thoughts that should be on the wall of every television, radio, newspaper, magazine and internet weathercaster. This book is a fun read and very handy to have close by.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marcus A. Burtner on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
The ultimate extreme weather guide. Extreme Weather is filled with beautiful photos, easy to read maps and charts and concise, easy to use weather records, organized by city and state. Complimenting the well organized data is an excellent and informative historical text. A must have for any weather enthusiast, Extreme Weather is a valuable resource for the home or office.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Crabtree on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! The photos are great, nice thick book, and a wealth of info on the coldest, hottest, wettest, windiest, etc. You'll like it if you enjoy weather, records, trivia, reading about geography, etc.

Big color photos, tornadoes, floods, maps, some historic photos too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elaine C. on January 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Extreme Weather" is a great combination of general meteorology, defining photographs and fabulous factoids. All kinds of interesting information on the wildest weather possible is included. Everything from floods to ice, from snowstorms to sandstorms and all in between. The reader gets a pretty cold view of just how nasty mother nature can be. It's enjoyable reading just in sections or as a whole.

The book features a neatly organized an attractive comination of photographs and text. The well written text presents the reader with valuable information at an easy pace. Anyone interested in nature, the enviornment in general, or meteorology will love this book.
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