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Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather Hardcover – May 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A well-known meteorologist and founder of WeatherData, Smith takes readers on a fast-paced account of the biggest storms in recent years and how weather forecasting has developed into a true science since the 1950s. Part memoir, part science account, Smith's tale begins in the late 1940s, when weathermen were actually forbidden to broadcast tornado warnings. The U.S. Weather Bureau blocked storm forecasting for fear of getting it wrong, just as today, according to Smith, the FAA has banned weather radios from airport control towers. He delivers a moment-by-moment account of the monster tornado that leveled Greensburg, Kans., in 2007 as well as a damning account of governmental incompetence in the leadup to Hurricane Katrina. But as Smith shows, scientists themselves can be close-minded and prevent their field from progressing: Smith recounts the struggle by Theodore Fujita, creator of the tornado severity scale, to see his findings on microbursts—which have killed hundreds of people in airline crashes—accepted by other scientists. This account of people who do something about the weather should appeal to just about anyone who enjoys talking about it. Photos. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Mike Smith is one of the world's experts in the application of weather science. Meteorologist, entrepreneur, and inventor (recipient of 18 U.S. and foreign patents), Mike works with some of North America's most important companies to save lives and property and creates technology to warn the general public of dangerous weather. Warnings is Mike's first book. He tells, from a first-hand perspective, the story of the creation of the storm warning system that saves so many lives.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608320340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608320349
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MIKE SMITH knew he would be a meteorologist at the age of five when a major tornado occurred near his Kansas City home. Fifty years later, Smith has become one of America's most innovative and honored meteorologists.

Considered a pioneer in the field of applied meteorology, Smith's development of the color radar literally "colored the weather," He was one of the nation's first storm chasers. After receiving his meteorology degree from the top-ranked university for severe storm research, the University of Oklahoma, he worked as a television meteorologist in major markets, including St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Wichita. During his time in television, Smith became the first person ever to telecast a tornado live, demonstrating the ruthlessness Mother Nature can bring.

In 1981, Smith founded WeatherData Services, Inc., a company credited with saving countless lives and preventing hundreds of millions of dollars in property losses. WeatherData's client list includes most of the major companies and organizations throughout North America.

As a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Smith received the prestigious Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advance of Applied Meteorology for his work in severe weather warnings and newspaper weather displays. WeatherData and its parent company, AccuWeather, have both been recipients of the AMS's Award for Outstanding Services to Meteorology by a Corporation. With 15 patents in the field of weather, emergency management, search-and-rescue, Smith is the only individual in applied meteorology to have received this level of recognition and honor.

In addition to his work at WeatherData, he is a frequent speaker and author of both popular and technical weather-related articles. he has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, Fox Business News, Today, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News and numerous other media outlets and is the author of the weather blog,

To inquire about booking Mike Smith as a keynote speaker for your event, please go to or call (316) 204-9969 and ask for kim Dugger, Director of Marketing, Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Durden on June 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When cutting edge technology works and lives are saved it rapidly becomes ho-hum; violent death that did not happen doesn't make the television news or newspaper headlines. How many recall that a three-day storm over the Great Lakes in the 1800s would routinely kill 500 people, a hurricane in Galveston in 1900 killed more than 6,000, or that before 1960 a strong cold front spawning tornadoes could kill or mutilate a few thousand as it raced across the country? We have a short national memory, which is probably why weather scientists have not been heaped with more medals than they could carry for the lives they've saved in the last sixty years.

Mike Smith grew up at precisely the right time to become an intimate part of the revolution in weather analysis and forecasting that, outside the public eye, surged through this country. He writes of the efforts of weather scientists who not only did the research that allowed accurate forecasts of severe weather but took the steps to create a warning system that meant scores of Americans didn't die in their beds each year as their houses blew up around them in tornadoes. It is a story of creativity and determination fighting bureaucracy and of humanity at its best as ad hoc teams formed between meteorologists who had learned to forecast severe storms and TV and radio broadcasters who had enough foresight and willingness to come up with new and faster ways to get word to the people that bad things were about to happen in their world and how to protect themselves.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By CandleCellar on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Amazing. This isn't just the true story of how science changed the weather, it's the true story of how weather science SAVED LIVES! Growing up in Kansas and going though two separate tornadoes, I truly appreciate the humble beginnings of weather forecasting and the dedicated men & women who grew the science.
And not only tornado forecasting, these men & women have made the skies safer for airline passengers and developed better warning and tracking systems for hurricanes. This book is a wonderful, informative and at times, jaw-dropping read. Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cody Charvat on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As an Emergency Manager I give dozens of storm spotter classes every year, and coordinate the activities when our spotters and chasers are in the field, so I was especially intrigued to read how storm chasing came to be. But beyond that, everyone, regardless of vocation, has an interest in the weather, even if they only pay attention when it starts to turn nasty. Well even the occasional weather fan will be fascniated by the evolution of the warning system. Can you imagine if our weathermen were forbidden from telling us about an approaching tornado? You can if you read this book, because such was the case just a few decades ago. And for anyone more closely related to the field, especially those who responded to Katrina or Greensburg, Mike's stories will give you an even greater appreciation for the futility and heroism that were displayed.

'Warnings' is higly educational, but it reads nothing like a textbook. The writing is engaging and entertaining from cover to cover. Even if you're not yet convinced to buy it for yourself, if you know anyone with an interest in the weather, get it for them as a gift. If you're lucky, they'll let you read it when they're done.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Karen Ryno on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I hope for when I read a book is to: Learn something; Be taken someplace I've never visited; Be given to opportunity to view a topic from a new perspective; Make me giggle, make me mad and make me cry. "Warnings" did all that . . . and more.

Mike Smith has managed to mix childhood memories, science, battles with bureaucracy and thrilling stories of the power of nature . . . all in one solid read. I loved it!

He takes the reader full circle in a true story that begins with his experience smack dab in the middle of the Ruskin Heights tornado at the age of 5, and then, back to the anniversary of that tragic event where lives were lost. But that's just the perimeter of all that makes "Warnings" a great book.

Though many events in "Warnings" portray a visual sense of death and despair, Mike also lets you experience the flip side. The side that celebrates the same events that occur where lives were saved. This, only after meteorologists were finally "allowed" to warn people of imminent danger.

But, this isn't just another book about a series of tornadoes that blasts through the heartland, where Mike is from.
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