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When the Sirens Were Silent Mass Market Paperback – May 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 65 pages
  • Publisher: Mennonite Press, Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC; First edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692017437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692017432
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,565,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Whew, I just read it. Heart racing!! --Denise Neil, Joplin tornado survivor

"Great work! Its informative and entertaining. I was anxious while reading it and I had to continue to remind myself that I already knew the outcome. --Jaime Green, Joplin tornado survivor

About the Author

Mike Smith has been passionate about weather and saving lives since he was five years old. A major tornado moved through his neighborhood and destroyed his kindergarten which set the course for the rest of his life. After being a television meteorologist in St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Wichita, Mike founded WeatherData, Inc. in 1981. It quickly became the leading company in the field of business-to-business warnings of extreme weather. Mike sold the assets of WeatherData to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions in 2006 and has stayed on as Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Executive. In addition to his business acumen, Mike is a certified consulting meteorologist and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. In 1992, he received the Society's highest award in the field of applied meteorology for his work in creating innovative storm warning techniques. In 2000, WeatherData won the highest award for corporate meteorology for its outreach to government and academic meteorologists. AccuWeather received the same award for corporate meteorology in 2011. Mike is a frequent public speaker. In addition to his books, "When the Sirens Were Silent" and "Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather," Smith has written numerous scientific and technical articles about weather and applied weather science. He is also a published photographer and is the inventor on 19 U.S. and foreign patents. Mike is married, the father of three grown children, and resides in Wichita.

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, meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com

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

Customer Reviews

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It's an absolute must read for anyone interested in severe weather.
Jason D
Just like his other book, "Warnings," "Sirens" is a very well written book.
Mike
Once again, Smith authors a work that is clear, concise and compelling.
Michelle Martin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By fredwxman on August 29, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mike Smith does an admirable job capturing what happened in Joplin in a crisp efficient review of events and procedures. Overwarning the public and accepting high false alarm rates have plagued the weather forecasters and emergency managers for many years--especially with the advent of the Doppler radar and its ability to detect some but not all rotating thunderstorms. Joplin is the case that shows what can happen when the public becomes complacent about severe weather and the impact of the warning sirens that had been apparently overused in the past but strangely were late in going into action on this day. As a result of this storm and others in Tuscaloosa and elswhere in recent years officials are coming to grips with how to warn the public of impending danger without overwarning and its resulting complacency. New methods for accurately communicating what is happening to all corners of the affected region are being explored. Mike's book will be a must read for those who are dealing with this problem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By flysooner9 on July 13, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Mike Smith does a great job of reviewing what happened that horrible day in Joplin. Also at the end he provides the public with numerous ways to help prepare yourself for severe weather. If you enjoyed his first book "Warnings" you will also enjoy this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. H. on March 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
An excellent recount of the events that happened that day. The government, weather service and towns should pay attention to the lessons brought out in this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James P. Burke on March 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
a good case study and well worth reading by anyone involved in weather forecasting and emergency management.
it is to the point, factual, and lays out problems and actions without to much grief.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Barnes on June 1, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this because I had wondered why. Why with all of today's technology were 161 people killed in a single tornado? Mike Smith answers this question in this quick read of a book (I finished it in a little over an hour). He steps through nearly every minute leading up to the EF5 tornado that chewed through Joplin on May 22nd, 2011 and describes what went wrong. He has added screenshots of not only radar at various timestamps through that afternoon, but even text messages being sent by those experiencing the storm while it was bearing down on them.

His explanation of Jasper County's policy regarding sounding tornado sirens is also helpful. As an aside, several years ago my husband and I were spending the night in Joplin on the 3rd floor of the Holiday Inn along I-44. At about 6:00 a.m., we woke to the sound of the sirens going off. I looked outside to see a very windy rain storm moving through. I quickly checked radar on my laptop and saw the bow echo of strong straightline winds along a contiguous line of thunderstorms. Being somewhat weather savvy, I knew this was not a tornadic storm and went back to bed mumbling about why they were sounding tornado sirens for a wind event. As Mike's book points out, that's their policy! This has lead Joplin residents to not heed tornado sirens for what they should be used for; to warn of imminent tornado threat.

I rated this book as a 4 star versus a 5 only because it could have used a little more explanation regarding why the technology the NWS was using was not as reliable as other methods available and used by Accuweather. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and hope policies can effectively change to prevent another catastrophe such as this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hill Country Bob on May 17, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting short book about the tornado that hit Joplin MO, and did so much damage, and killed so many people. The book addresses what happened, and how the people get warned. He has some excellent points regarding the fact that there is not one uniform and consistent policy on how to use warning sirens. Some local communities use the sirens only for life threatening issues, and other communities use them for many different warnings, not all of which are life threatening. This can result in people not all getting a warning like in the case of the Tornado hitting Joplin. Then there can be issues as to where the tornado is located, and how this information is provided to the residents of community, and visitors who may be passing through on the local roads. He has some good points about a uniform policy on using warning sirens, and ensuring that it is conveyed to everyone. Warning sirens can become much less useful and be ignored if they are overused.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason D on January 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I downloaded and finished the Kindle edition the day that it became available. It's an absolute must read for anyone interested in severe weather. It's also a must read for anyone working in emergency management or public safety. If you are a person who can activate the sirens in your community, please read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Ginn on May 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Going back to when I was a kid, I've been enamored by the weather. I owe this in no small part to Mike Smith. When I was growing up in south-central Kansas, Mike was my and my parents favorite television weather forecaster. He never seemed to be talking down to anyone, but always seeking to educate others about the weather. When the Sirens Were Silent continues this quest of educating people about the weather.

Where Mike's first book ("Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather") came from the perspective of what we have learned over the past decades through continuing breakthroughs and successes of both public and private meteorologists, Sirens approaches the subject from the other side. What can be learned from the failures that contributed to the deaths off 161 people?

What results is a fast-paced book that walks minute by minute through the events leading up to and during the tornado's devastating push through Joplin. Written in this way, it makes for an exciting read and makes you feel like you are present for the historic event. Mike details each step of where mistakes were made, mistakes that are the results of decisions based on old data, lack of training or skill, or the worst offender, political expediency.

What did I take away from this book? For as much good that has been done in the past several years with regards to storm warnings, public knowledge, and information dispersal, there are still many things that need to be done. One sentence out of the book summarizes it very clearly for me. "Too many tornado warnings with no tornado. Too many siren activations. People learn from experience. Sometimes they learn the wrong thing."
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