- 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
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather Hardcover – May 1, 2010
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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.
Top customer reviews
I initially purchased this book to get over a fear of tornadoes, thinking that the more you know about a subject, the better you are able to deal with it. I got more than I bargained for in the best way.
First of all, the author Mike Smith is a great writer. He weaves intricate stories with complex scientific ideas, multiple characters, and different places- all without being confusing or overly-technical. As someone without a strong scientific or meteorological knowledge base, I understood what was happening, why it was happening and what it meant both historically and to the people experiencing it.
The stories/chapters were well laid out and ordered so that each story built on what you had learned from the previous ones. Watching the evolution of technology, knowledge of the weather, and the people who did something with them was more interesting than any history class I've attended.
The stories about the towns, cities and people affected by the weather were straightforward without being heartless and touching without being saccharine. It imparted lessons without preaching. And it made me curious. I was constantly looking things up because I wanted to know more- about the storms, about the aftermath, about the technology and about the people.
To be quite honest it is the best book I've read in years. I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in a day and a half. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting book where you can learn something too.
And people say that weather is boring...
One of the biggest impressions I got was how the discoveries of Ted Fujita and his contributions to our knowledge of wind shear have led to a remarkable improvement in air travel safety since the 1980s. There is some unavoidable delving into politics, from the early days of the battles between the Air Force, the Weather Bureau, and eventually TV stations over tornado warnings, to the unfortunate foot-dragging of the Bush administration with the Hurricane Katrina recovery. All told, this is a story of a triumph of true science over its adversaries, whether political or just human nature.
Mike documents all the major events from the Ruskin Heights Tornado back on May 20, 1957 to Greensburg, KS May 4, 2007. The storms, the tragedies, the scientists, the companies, the battles between the NWS/Weather Bureau and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) are all documented in this read.
What a thrilling roller coast ride Mike Smith conducts in this weather/meteorology masterpiece! Learn about the progress made as well as the difficulties that had to be overcome. One of the greatest tragedies in my opinion was the work of Dr. Ted Fujita on the role of microbursts and the effects they had on air flight. Unfortunately, his work and theories would not be accepted until after the tragedy that happened at DFW in 1985 with flight 191. Many other people perished, involved in other flight crashes, due to his theories not being accepted. The reader with less experience in the science of meteorology will get a much deeper appreciation for the work that Dr. Fujita accomplished in his career. Dr. Fujita should be remembered for so much more than just the tornado intensity scale that he developed. Mike Smith serves justice in this book and documents the work of this pioneer.
Did you know that at what one time forecasters could not use the word "tornado" or give a tornado warning? Learn about the early forecasters such as Fawbush, Miller, Audsley and their role that eventually led to the beginning of the end for that way of thinking. Learn about the the battles to get radar to the level that it is currently at.
Throughout the book you will also see how Mike Smith accrued his experience that eventually led him to forming his own company WeatherData. Mike Smith's account on how he developed into such a prominent figure in the industry comes full circle. Learn about the time from when he was a child selling forecasts going door to door to the time that he came back home to see his childhood house and his love for trains, which played a critical part for his interest in warnings. Obviously he was greatly effected by having to see his father and grandfathers car sales business literally washed away during a flood.
Lessons that should have been learned from earlier disasters weren't. Find out how about the events of Hurricane Andrew and Katrina showed a breakdown in government. The reader will get a great feel for how the forecasters and meteorologists due their best to save lives but unfortunately bureaucracy can kill so many.
Don't be surprised if this book sparks your interest so much that you will want to learn much more about any one disaster presented in this book. Mike Smith has inked the most complete account that one could do in the 284 pages of this book I have read many books related to weather and I can tell you this is the best one so far I have ever read that chronologically describes the history of how science, forecasting, technology, politics, has led to one end goal; that goal being the current warning system.
Amazing piece of work here. I can't recommend it enough.
ABOUT ME: I have been a lifelong resident of Long Island, NY. I have been studying weather and active in storm chasing since 2003.
-I have intercepted many hurricanes, most notably being Hurricane Katrina in Waveland, MS in 2005.
-I am certified by my local NWS office at Upton, NY as a Skywarn Storm Spotter.
-I am also certified by FEMA in Hurricane Community Preparedness.
-I run a large national weather group at www.facbook.com/groups/tarcweather and a smaller local group at www.facebook.com/groups/NEHurricaneCenter/
-I have spent a great time in studying the 1938 Great New England Hurricane, as well as other southern/New England hurricanes of the past, to get the word out about the threat the northeast faces the next time a major hurricane returns to the region. The track of such an event could be anywhere in between that of Sandy, 2012 just south of Atlantic City, NJ to that of the 1938 Hurricane, Bellport, Long Island. My 1938 Hurricane collection can be viewed at http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/38hurricane/panico/
-Currently in process of writing a book on a subject related to severe weather.
I have a plethora of firsthand experience in severe weather events, in various parts of the country, as well as having studied weather dynamics and processes, to understand that our nation not only needs a national weather radio station focused on severe weather preparedness, but also a meteorology/severe weather preparation course in the school curriculum, preferably grades 7-12. Whether it should be mandatory or as an elective can be debated, but I think there are few that are going to argue that it wouldn’t be beneficial and lead to the saving of countless lives.