Hurricane Watch

Hurricane Watch

4.6 5
by Bob Sheets

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The ultimate guide to the ultimate storms, Hurricane Watch is a fascinating blend of science and history from one of the world's foremost meteorologists and an award-winning science journalist. This in-depth look at these awe-inspiring acts of nature covers everything from the earliest efforts by seafarers at predicting storms to the way satellite imaging is

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The ultimate guide to the ultimate storms, Hurricane Watch is a fascinating blend of science and history from one of the world's foremost meteorologists and an award-winning science journalist. This in-depth look at these awe-inspiring acts of nature covers everything from the earliest efforts by seafarers at predicting storms to the way satellite imaging is revolutionizing hurricane forecasting. It reveals the latest information on hurricanes: their effects on ocean waves, the causes of the variable wind speeds in different parts of the storm, and the origins of the super-cooled shafts of water that vent at high altitudes. Hurricane Watch is a compelling history of man's relationship with the deadliest storms on earth.


- The story of the nineteenth-century Cuban Jesuit whose success at predicting the great cyclones was considered almost mystical.

- A new look at Isaac Cline, whose infamous failure to predict the Galveston Hurricane left him obsessed with the devastating effects of storm surge.

- The story of the Hurricane Hunters, including the first man ever to deliberately fly into a hurricane.

- A complete account of how computer modeling has changed hurricane tracking.

- A history of Project Stormfury: the only significant, organized effort to reduce the damaging strength of severe hurricanes.

- A unique firsthand account of Hurricane Andrew by both authors, who were at the National Hurricane Center when Andrew struck.

- A listing of the deadliest storms in history.

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Editorial Reviews
Billed as the ultimate guide to the ultimate storm, Hurricane Watch explores the history and science of hurricanes with admirable verve.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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5.15(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.71(d)

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In the Whispering Pines neighborhood about twenty miles southwest of downtown Miami, Tom Ochmanski and his wife, Laurie, have put their one-year old son, Ryan, and two-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, to bed early in the evening. Whispering Pines is not in an evacuation zone and the Ochmanski house is a strong one—they think. Around midnight, Tom and Laurie and Laurie's mother, Lee Bolander, finally try to get some rest, but the howling winds wake them two hours later. As the adults sit in the living room, watching reports on their battery-operated television set, squalls of heavy rain and high winds became stronger and more and more frequent. By 4:45 a.m., winds are probably gusting to over 150 or 160 mph, and debris slamming into the house creates an almost deafening roar. Above this roar, parents and grandmother hear breaking glass in Ryan's bedroom. Tom rushes in to find the window shattered by flying debris and scattered around the room, but, remarkably, Ryan is not cut or hurt. Tom grabs him and Laurie gets Caitlyn from her bedroom and the entire family huddles in the living room, close to the hallway entrance. They hear the other windows breaking on the north end of the house. As Hurricane Andrew's eye wall moves directly over them, the screaming wind becomes even more terrifying. The Ochmanskis know when the wind shifts direction because the loud thumps of striking debris now come from the east side of the house.

Tom shines a large flashlight at the top of the front wall and sees it pulling away from the ceiling. This is a reinforced concrete tie beam connecting the walls to the roof, and these winds are doing their best to lift it right off the house. The family moves closer to the hallway door and starts praying. Suddenly and with a tremendous crash the entire front of their house slams inward, while the front half of the roof is ripped away. A large blunt object strikes Tom in the back, knocking him across the room. Laurie quickly crawls through the debris to the hallway, taking the two terrified children with her. She places Ryan and Caitlyn on shelves in the linen closet off the hall? way and crouches in the open doorway to protect them with her own body.

Where is Tom now? Where is her mother? Are they alive or dead? Laurie has only her fears and her prayers.

• * *

Great tropical cyclones are the largest and most destructive storms on the face of this planet; collective memory never forgets the passage of a powerful deadly storm such as Hurricane Andrew in South Florida in 1992. In the past, these typhoons and hurricanes struck without warning. Today, this never happens. We can forecast the great storms with increasing, often remarkable, accuracy. We can save lives and property—some lives, some property. However, we will never be able to stop these storms. The residents of shorelines of the world exposed to storms from the tropics, and the tourists who flock to these sandy paradises will always prick their ears when they hear the words, "A hurricane watch has been posted for. . ."

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Meet the Author

Dr. Bob Sheets grew up on a small farm near Fairmount, Indiana, and attended Ball State Teachers College (now University). Upon graduation in 1961, he was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force and was sent to the University of Oklahoma to study meteorology. After finishing his Air Force tour of duty, he joined the National Hurricane Research Laboratory (NHRL), co-located with the National Hurricane Center (NHC), where he studied hurricanes, directing field operations and making more than 200 flights through the eyes of hurricanes. In 1980, after more than 16 years at NHRL, he moved into the National Hurricane Center, serving as a Hurricane Specialist, Deputy Director and finally, its Director from 1987 to 1995.

Since leaving the NHC after 33 years of government service, he has been a meteorological consultant where he provides on camera services for the Florida News Network and affiliates and the ABC network. Non-television work includes lectures and workshops on hurricane threats and preparedness, and serving on advisory boards at Florida International University and the University of Oklahoma. In addition, he has and continues to provide technical guidance for films and books concerning meteorology, with specializations in hurricanes, and was featured in the IMAX film entitled STORMCHASERS.

He received his B.S. degree in Mathematics/Physics from Ball State (1961) and his M.S. (1965) and Ph.D. (1972) degrees in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Sheets has authored dozens of published articles on hurricanes. He also has frequently been an invited lecturer at numerous Universities and other forums around the world.

His major honors include being an elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society; the recipient of the U.S. Navy Distinguished Public Service Award; the U.S. Air Force Master Meteorologist Award; Life Time Achievement Awards from the National Hurricane Conference and the South Florida Hurricane Conference; the Governor's Award from the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference; an EMMY award from the National Academy of Television Arts Society; Executive Excellence Award and Presidential Rank Award of the U.S. Senior Executive Service; citations from the governors of Maryland and Georgia; the ABC Person of the Week; the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold and Silver medals.

Jack Williams was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school. After his military service, he attended Jacksonville (Fla.) University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and government in 1962.

He began his journalism career at the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville while attending college, and subsequently worked at the Jacksonville Journal, the Rochester Times Union, and Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle. In September 1982, when USA Today began publication, Jack Williams served as the weather page editor.

In 1992, as Hurricane Andrew battered Dade County, Jack Williams was in the National Hurricane Center, which was on the fringe of the strongest winds. He has flown into three hurricanes, and has chased tornadoes with researchers on the Plains. In January 1999 Williams was one of the half dozen journalists selected that year by the National Science Foundation to report on research in Antarctica.

He is also the author of THE USA TODAY WEATHER BOOK, which won The American Meteorological Society’s Louis J. Battan Author’s Award, and THE USA TODAY WEATHER ALMANAC.

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Hurricane Watch 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book chronicles the historical development of scientific knowledge concerning the nature and behavior of hurricanes and the parallel advances made in forecasting and prediction. I was pleased but not surprised to see Ben Franklin credited with the discovery that big storms, such as hurricanes, do not necessarily move in the same direction that the winds are blowing. Franklin was also among the first to chart the Gulf Stream and to understand the relationship between brilliantly-colored sunsets and major volcanic eruptions. The book presents a chronology of hurricanes in the Americas replete with detailed observations about the storms including some that had significant historical outcomes. The painstakingly slow growth in knowledge of hurricanes accelerated greatly in the days after WWI, a pattern that continues to this day. Aircraft equipped to measure atmospheric pressures and wind speeds, radar, satellite technology, fast computers, and courageous pilots have contributed dramatically to understanding hurricanes and to forecasting their paths, arrival times, and wind speeds. The authors should have avoided using relative humidity as a synonym for water vapor. Water vapor, not relative humidity, condenses to rain, and condensation of water vapor is known to be the major internal energy source for these big storms. Andrew, 1992, was very important to the modern study of hurricanes. It forced a thorough reevaluation of hurricane preparedness, hurricane resistant building practices, and of how ground level wind speeds are predicted from measured upper altitude winds speeds. Once a building is breaking apart, all sorts of solid objects become airborne missiles that can inflict additional damage on impact and set additional flying projectiles into motion. Interior water damage and catastrophic structural failures of walls and roof are significantly reduced or eliminated by impact resistant shutters that protect against windows breaking. Given our knowledge of hurricane behavior and forecasting skills, the tragic outcomes inflicted by the Galveston storm of 1900 and Camille should not be repeated. Sophisticated technological skills are the good news. The bad news is that coastal development has placed many more people in the hurricane danger zone and raised the ante on potential property damages. In spite of impressive forecasting abilities, property damage tolls continue to rise. The book should appeal to anyone with a basic curiosity about hurricanes and should be of special interest to coastal planners, officials, and policy makers with responsibility for the safety and well being of the public.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wenalt's heart beated as fast as he could. He looked in the guide's tent, but he wasn't there until suddenly, someone put a hand to his mouth. Wenalt kicked the person who grabbed him, put him on a horse, and rode away, but it seemed like the person resisted his every kick. Wenalt was blindfolded...THE END! SORRY BUT THAT'S ALL I CAN DO FOR THIS STORY! I HAVE TO START TYPING AND DON'T WANNA GIVE IDEAS AND SPOIL THE STORY! I'M GOING TO CHANGE THINGS AND NOT GIVE AWAY EVERY WORD. LOOK FOR EZUMALID AND THE THREE SERMINS ON DECEMBER 13, 2015: GUESSED BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO FINISH THE BOOK ON OCTOBER 17, 2014! IT MAY BE POSSIBLE BUT THE AMOUNT OF PAGES IS 375. I DID A GUESS LATER AFTER THAT BECAUSE OF PUBLISHING AND EDITING. IT MAY TAKE MORE. SOME STORIES TAKE MORE TIME THAN OTHERS. I BELIEVE THIS STORY IS A 2 1/2 YEAR LONG WORTH TYPING STORY?