Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.
I should say up front that I am a brother of the author, Mike Smith. Now, being a younger brother, that could mean one of two things; A) I am writing an excessively positive review because, well, he’s family; or B) It’s a great chance to get even with him for all the younger brother things that were done and are still being done to me to this day; like, for example, him writing a book and therefore making me look bad since I never have nor do I ever expect to write a book; or, always having my grades in school compared to his grades in school; and guess who got his own room while my other brother, Phil and I had to share. MOM ALWAYS LIKED HIM BEST; but I digress.
The reality is, Mike has written a darn fine book, as much as I hate to admit it. With a brother who was always into weather (and great at it), I learned a little about weather myself, I suppose through osmosis. I’m even one of those people who actually enjoy watching the TV weather warnings “interrupting our regularly scheduled programs”. But, I suppose, that’s the main point of the book. Back in the day, weather warnings, once they started giving them, were often too late and ”If you can hear the sound of my voice, head to the basement or shelter; AHHHHH!!!” Heck, we were in the basement it seemed like every other night in the late spring and early summer because the weather dudes weren’t capable of anything better. “Somewhere in the 150 mile radius of the TV signal, there’s bad weather, so TAKE COVER! Now back to our regular program; we’ll be back to let you know when you can come out of the basement”; oh wait, each house only has one TV and it isn’t in the basement so try that transistor radio that gets terrible reception in the basement (and probably has dead batteries) or better yet, keep an ear out for the all-clear siren (what’s the difference?). So, Dad has to go upstairs every once in a while to check the TV with Mom yelling “Get back down here; you could get yourself killed and I’m not about to raise these brats alone.” At times, it was almost like crying wolf because it happened so often for everyone. With today’s advances, there’s usually plenty of warning. Heck, they usually know when a funnel cloud is going to form based on advanced radar detection. Then they show us the exact path of the storm and who should really be worried; and as the storm progresses, who should then be taking cover.
All this is intertwined with entertaining and educational stories of actual storms that, in the more distant past, destroyed whole neighborhoods or towns while killing hundreds or even thousands, compared to similar storms today that are more likely to have minimal numbers of tragic deaths. Or planes that crashed back then, but don’t now because of modern wind shear warnings. It’s all the more interesting because we can personally relate to most the stories because they happened close to where we live or were major news sometimes for days or even weeks; ie. Hurricane Katrina.
So, put down your romance novel of the month or the James Patterson book of the week; how much of that stuff can you read anyway? Read “Warnings” . Enjoy some real life drama and learn a thing or two along the way.
Elder of Mike’s two younger brothers so I was at least able to pick on Phil.