Weather in the Courtroom: Memoirs from a Career in Forensic Meteorology

Weather in the Courtroom: Memoirs from a Career in Forensic Meteorology

by William H. Haggard

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Overview

Weather in the Courtroom: Memoirs from a Career in Forensic Meteorology by William H. Haggard


As director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in the late 1960s and early ’70s, William H. Haggard witnessed an explosion in the number of requests from attorneys needing weather data for their cases. But while the Center offered data certified by the Department of Commerce that could be submitted as evidence in a court of law, government meteorologists could not be released from work to interpret this data in the courtroom. In their place, pioneering forensic meteorologists stepped in to serve as expert witnesses.

For a society enthralled by courtroom drama, forensics, and natural disasters, Weather in the Courtroom is a perfect storm: an exciting inside scoop on legendary court cases where the weather may—or may not—have played a crucial role. Haggard explores both the meteorological facts and human stories of a variety of high-profile cases among the hundreds in which, after retiring from the government, he served as an expert witness. Were the disappearance of Alaskan Congressman Nick Begich’s plane on October 16, 1972; the collapse of Tampa Bay’s Skyway Bridge on May 9, 1980; and the crash of Delta Flight 191 in Dallas/Fort Worth on August 2, 1985, natural or human-caused disasters? Haggard’s recounting of these and other litigations reveals just how critical the interpretation of weather and climate data in the courtroom is to our understanding of what happened—and who, if anyone, is at fault.
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940033952
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,276,300
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 14.70(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author


William H. Haggard is a former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, a certified consulting meteorologist, and a fellow and honorary member of the American Meteorological Society.
 

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

1 Brown v. Jonz: The Mysterious Loss of Two Congressmen 1

2 Nevin v. USA: The Secret Test That Killed 11

3 The Day the Skyway Fell: Failure to Stop and Anchor 19

4 Alicia and Tank 089: Revealing Oil Stains 35

5 Delta 191: "Lightning Out of That One" 41

6 Lake Coamo Flood: An Act of God? 59

7 White Mountain Apache Tribe v. USA: Mismanagement 71

8 Webb, Riding, and Charlesworth v. USA: Whiteout at Roswell 85

9 New England Storm of July 10, 1989: Mohawk and Black Rock 93

10 Downing v. Bowater: Like Driving Into a Marshmallow 99

11 Palatka Paper Mill: The Other Side of the Coin 117

12 McNair v. USA: Obstructing Clouds 125

13 APL China: Christmas Overboard 135

14 State of North Carolina v. Michael Peterson: Cool by the Pool 147

15 Looking Back over the Years 153

Acknowledgments 157

Appendix 159

About the Author 187

References 189

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