Into the Storm: A book review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:42 PM GMT on February 25, 2011

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"Matt's compact Jeep became impossible to handle. Water rose on the road. We saw a family hiding in the nook of an overpass and decided that joining them was our best chance to escape danger. We parked the car and ran. Then the tornado ground straight in our direction. Thick tree branches snapped like bread sticks and made gunshot-style sounds that pierced the tornado's baritone howl. Mud flew everywhere. Air getting sucked into the tornado rushed through every seam in the overpass."

Meteorologist Reed Timmer, star of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers, and writer Andrew Tilin have teamed up to write a highly entertaining and solidly educational book that is filled with gripping stories like this, detailing Timmer's amazing career as a storm-chasing meteorologist. Into the Storm begins in 1998, when Timmer enrolled as an undergraduate in the University of Oklahoma's meteorology program. His early chase stories leave one marveling that he is still alive, as his strong obsession to experience and learn about severe storms was not accompanied by much knowledge or common sense. The excerpt above is an account of his chase of the infamous F5 Bridge Creek, Oklahoma tornado of May 3, 1999--the strongest tornado ever measured, with Doppler-estimated winds of 302 mph. Timmer lucked out, as the tornado made a sudden turn and spared him its full fury. He goes on to explain in detail how taking shelter under an overpass in a tornado is a bad idea (the overpass can magnify the winds, you've elevated yourself into a region where surface friction is not slowing down the winds as much, and you're exposed to flying debris.)

Timmer's narrative of his encounter with the Bridge Creek tornado sets the tone for the book--chase stories interwoven with meteorological education. The meteorology is described in a way that a high school-educated person can understand, and is generally accurate and well-done (one exception: he fails to go into enough detail on how hurricanes get their energy, merely saying they get it from warm ocean waters.) Mixed in with the chase stories and meteorology lessons are details of Timmer's personal life, his past, and feelings about his severe weather fascination. These add a very human touch to the book that will make it appealing to a wide audience. A center eight-page section of color photos enhances the presentation, though I would have liked to see more photos illustrating the University of Oklahoma, the Storm Prediction Center, and the locations of the two dramatic hurricane chases told in the book. His chase stories of Hurricane Katrina (where he weathered the storm at the jail house in Slidell after getting arrested as a suspected looter), and Hurricane Floyd (where he spent the storm in a mobile home near the eyewall), are eye-poppingly insane. He also talks a good deal about the dilemma faced by many meteorologists--how to reconcile our passion for storms with the great suffering and destruction they wreak. He opens the book thusly:

"It's an interesting proposition, seeking happiness from tornadoes. For those few of us who are unquestionably mesmerized by them, chasing tornadoes can be the most fantastic experience in the world. Tornado chasing taxes your intellect and puts you at one with incredible, spectacular forces of nature. Chasing is also a fix for any adrenaline junkie and, if you do it often enough, can become your career. But an obsession with stalking tornadoes can kill or maim you too, and even if chasing doesn't leave you with physical scars or a need for crutches, it's hard to escape unscathed. You'll witness death and destruction of property that sickens your stomach and saddens your heart. Your family will worry about you. Significant others will tire of playing second fiddle. Peers will disagree with the way you chase, and you'll lose friends to your obsession."

Timmer achieves some degree of relief from this dilemma by realizing that storm chasers do a public service by calling in reports that lead to more accurate tornado warnings, saving lives. He is also dedicated to collecting data for tornado research using video and instrumented chase vehicles. Still, the dilemma of attempting to gain happiness from tornadoes is one Timmer does not entirely have the answers to, giving this book a human element often lacking in books written by scientists. I recommend Into the Storm to both scientists and non-scientists; the stories are amazing, and the science is presented in a non-obtrusive way that does not slow down the book, but instead enhances it. Teaching meteorology using stories is a great way to educate people, and Timmer has done a great service to the field of meteorology by writing this book. Three and a half out of four stars. Into the Storm is $16.33 (hardback) from amazon.com. The amazon website and Timmer's tornadovideos.net website also have a spectacular 2-minute video clip highlighting some of the chases documented in the book.

This review will appear later this year in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, and is Copyright 2011 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC ?108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at (http://www.ametsoc.org/) or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or copyright@ametsoc.org.

Wunderground hiring a climate scientist
Weather Underground, Inc. is seeking a full-time scientist with excellent communication and programming skills to improve our climate change and meteorology education web pages. Initial task: use downscaled climate model output to generate "far-future" forecasts. The position requires an M.S. or Ph.D. in meteorology. Consult our employment web page for a full job description and application info. The increase in significant weather events over the past year has kept me tied up blogging, giving me little time to work on expanding the content of our climate change and weather education web pages. It is time to get some help!

Jeff Masters

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554. Skyepony (Mod)
4:21 AM GMT on February 28, 2011
Torrential rain and flash flooding are hampering the recovery clean up in cyclone-hit north Queensland towns.

Bureau of Meteorology hydrologist Jimmy Stuart told AAP the Cassowary Coast region had received 600mm (23+ inches!!) of rain in the past four days.

"The rain has eased off but there are still further falls forecast," he said.
Advertisement: Story continues below

The bureau has flood warnings issued for the Tully and Murray rivers.

The State Emergency Service has had dozens of call-outs over the weekend and Monday, the majority of jobs in Tully, Cardwell and Mission Beach.

Some suburbs in Cairns were also hard hit with 516mm of rain recorded at Kamerunga and 497mm at Cairns airport over the past four days.

The Cassowary Coast was hardest hit when category five Cyclone Yasi rampaged through in early February, damaging more than 850 buildings.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council mayor Bill Shannon told AAP the localised flooding would affect the ongoing cyclone clean-up efforts. more
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552. sunlinepr
4:19 AM GMT on February 28, 2011
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9825
551. Grothar
4:17 AM GMT on February 28, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
....and the Oscar go's to,



I want to thank all the little people.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9825
....and the Oscar go's to,

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Quoting Orcasystems:


And the author not on the receiving team.
It is rather scary how many countries are desperately trying to acquire these weapons. Makes me wonder how many of them do without our knowledge..It is possible to do, although some people do not think so.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I hope Cecil B. DeMille wins tonight.


I'm ready for my close-up!!!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
This is the example they are using...

Today, with the United States the only standing superpower, nuclear winter is little more than a nightmare. But nuclear war remains a very real threat—for instance, between developing-world nuclear powers, such as India and Pakistan.

To see what climate effects such a regional nuclear conflict might have, scientists from NASA and other institutions modeled a war involving a hundred Hiroshima-level bombs, each packing the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT—just 0.03 percent of the world's current nuclear arsenal..
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Hearing hurricanes
Seismometers set up to detect earthquakes might also capture rumbles from distant hurricanes, providing a new way to study past storms, a new study suggests. Scientists from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., found seismic signals from 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, a category-5 storm that walloped Florida, in records from a seismic monitoring station in Harvard, Mass. Because researchers don’t have complete data on how strong and frequent Atlantic hurricanes were before satellites started observing in the 1960s, using historical seismic records could help identify earlier hurricanes, the team writes in the February issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. Such data could help scientists better understand whether hurricanes are becoming more frequent and/or stronger as sea-surface temperatures rise. —Alexandra Witze
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9825
I hope Cecil B. DeMille wins tonight.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11319
Global change extends hay fever season
Here’s something to sneeze at. The planet’s slowly rising air temperatures over the past 15 years have extended the period that ragweed sheds its allergy-provoking pollen. In the northern United States and Canada this can lengthen hay fever season some two to four weeks, according to a team of U.S. scientists. Later fall frosts and briefer winters have played a big role in extending the seasonal need for antihistamines and tissues, the researchers conclude in a paper posted online February 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. —Janet Raloff
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9825
Gnight, leave ya with this, think about it~~~ (^¿ª)

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Quoting hydrus:
lol A nuclear war with the word small written on it? i dunno.


And the author not on the receiving team.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years

Regional war could spark "unprecedented climate change," experts predict.



WTF is a "small" Nuclear war??
lol.............. A nuclear war with the word small written on it? i dunno.
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Quoting Grothar:
The range of topics tonight is mind-boggling. The question is now, should I stay up late with the lights on listening to "Strawberry Fields Forever" or will is disrupt my biological clock and make me older than I am. Or, should I stay up and worry about the earthquakes and torndadoes and disrupt my sleep further. Boy, you guys really know how to screw up and evening.
You are already the oldest known object in existence. What difference is listening to Strawberry Fields for another day or two going to make?....wimper, cry, whine, sniffle...
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Quoting Grothar:
The range of topics tonight is mind-boggling. The question is now, should I stay up late with the lights on listening to "Strawberry Fields Forever" or will is disrupt my biological clock and make me older than I am. Or, should I stay up and worry about the earthquakes and torndadoes and disrupt my sleep further. Boy, you guys really know how to screw up and evening.


You can play Strawberry Fields Forever and check if this is true:

For almost thirty years the Paul Death Hoax has intrigued a plethora of Beatles fans and fanatics alike. While it's difficult to point to an absolute point of origination, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Beatles themselves had anything to do with its genesis, although many claim that the Beatles intended it to be a joke on their fans.

The clues, which seem so cleverly and intentionally arranged, have not been proven to be anything more than random coincidences or inaccurate interpretations of existing facts (to wit: John does *not* say "I buried Paul" at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever", he said by his own admission "cranberry sauce"...etc.)
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9825
Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years

Regional war could spark "unprecedented climate change," experts predict.



WTF is a "small" Nuclear war??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
The range of topics tonight is mind-boggling. The question is now, should I stay up late with the lights on listening to "Strawberry Fields Forever" or will is disrupt my biological clock and make me older than I am. Or, should I stay up and worry about the earthquakes and torndadoes and disrupt my sleep further. Boy, you guys really know how to screw up and evening.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting Grothar:
Quoting hydrus:

I see that the Northeast is in for a big rain event and warm temperatures. With all that snow, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of flood warnings being posted next week. They have an awful lot of snow up there. Not good.
The mets have been saying for a couple of weeks that systems with heavy rain and warm temperatures could cause damaging floods to the region. This next system is a fast mover. That will help some, but the overall pattern is not expected to change much, and more rain will increase the chances of rapid snow melt.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


It works like this


Leave it to you Shen! LOL I remember watching his shows. Talented guy. That explains everything.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Using Math to Navigate the Beatles 'Strawberry Fields Forever'

ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2011) — The whimsical music of The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever was made possible using production and editing techniques that were groundbreaking for its time. Beatles' fans probably wouldn't have even noticed that two takes of differing pitch and speed were spliced together until Dalhousie University's Sherlock of Rock -- math professor Jason Brown -- went in to investigate.

John Lennon wrote Strawberry Fields Forever in 1966 while vacationing in Spain. Upon returning to the studio, the song was recorded in a number of takes. Normally this wouldn't be such a big deal, except that this time, the two takes Lennon liked best were in two different keys and two different tempos.

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9825
‘Round-the-Clock’ Lifestyle Could Disrupt Metabolism, Brain and Behavior

ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2011) — In Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud argued that modern society was hard on human psychology, forcing people to get along in unnaturally close quarters. Now newly published research from The Rockefeller University points out a different discontent in the developed world, namely, the disruption of our natural sleep cycles, thanks to the ubiquity of electric lighting.

Experiments on mice, published this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that throwing off their evolutionarily ancient circadian rhythms by artificially altering the length of their days has a substantial impact on the body and the brain. The work suggests that our modern, round-the-clock lifestyle could disrupt metabolism, interfere with learning and impact behavior in ways that we're just beginning to understand.

Link
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Quoting Grothar:


I always liked what they placed on her tombstone. I thought it was very touching.

Let her RIP!


Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11319
Quoting pottery:

How can your twin be your nephew?
I am trying to come to terms with this peculiar thing.
(if you dont want to respond to this, I will understand)

heheheh


It works like this
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Quoting hydrus:

I see that the Northeast is in for a big rain event and warm temperatures. With all that snow, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of flood warnings being posted next week. They have an awful lot of snow up there. Not good.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting Grothar:


And speaking of that, isn't it getting close to your bedtime?


Speaking of that, did you know i'm not a child LOL
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Quoting caneswatch:


In the words of you, we have children here!


And speaking of that, isn't it getting close to your bedtime?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting Grothar:


Doesn't look good. I just got back from up there on Friday night. Left in 14 in of snow. Stay safe hydrus.
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NASHVILLE TN
643 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

TNZ005>011-022>034-056>066-075-077>080-093>095-28 0600-
STEWART-MONTGOMERY-ROBERTSON-SUMNER-MACON-CLAY-PI CKETT-BENTON-
HOUSTON-HUMPHREYS-DICKSON-CHEATHAM-DAVIDSON-WILSO N-TROUSDALE-
SMITH-JACKSON-PUTNAM-OVERTON-FENTRESS-PERRY-HICKM AN-LEWIS-
WILLIAMSON-MAURY-MARSHALL-RUTHERFORD-CANNON-DE KALB-WHITE-
CUMBERLAND-BEDFORD-COFFEE-WARREN-GRUNDY-VAN BUREN-WAYNE-LAWRENCE-
GILES-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...DOVER...CLARKSVILLE...SPRINGFIELD...
GALLATIN...LAFAYETTE...CELINA...BYRDSTOWN...CAMDE N...ERIN...
WAVERLY...DICKSON...ASHLAND CITY...NASHVILLE...LEBANON...
MOUNT JULIET...HARTSVILLE...CARTHAGE...GAINESBORO...COOK EVILLE...
LIVINGSTON...JAMESTOWN...LOBELVILLE...CENTERVILLE ...HOHENWALD...
FRANKLIN...BRENTWOOD...COLUMBIA...LEWISBURG...MUR FREESBORO...
WOODBURY...SMITHVILLE...SPARTA...CROSSVILLE...SHE LBYVILLE...
TULLAHOMA...MANCHESTER...MCMINNVILLE...ALTAMONT.. .SPENCER...
WAYNESBORO...LAWRENCEBURG...PULASKI
643 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

...ANOTHER ROUND OF SEVERE WEATHER EXPECTED AFTER MIDNIGHT...

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL RETURN TO MIDDLE TENNESSEE AFTER
MIDNIGHT AS A STRONG COLD FRONT APPROACHES THE AREA. ADDITIONAL
SEVERE WEATHER WATCHES ARE LIKELY LATE TONIGHT INTO EARLY TOMORROW
MORNING. THE CRITICAL TIME FOR SEVERE WEATHER IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE
WILL BE FROM 4AM TO NOON. STRONG SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE
OF PRODUCING TORNADOES ARE EXPECTED...AS WELL AS GUSTY WINDS
ASSOCIATED WITH THE PASSING COLD FRONT.

$$


I certainly will.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Lol...Who the heck in here knows what we are talking about anyways?


I always liked what they placed on her tombstone. I thought it was very touching.

Let her RIP!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting Grothar:


I heard she had the whole thing sewed up anyway.


In the words of you, we have children here!
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Quoting hydrus:
Not good. Strong tornadoes are possible..Link


Doesn't look good. I just got back from up there on Friday night. Left in 14 in of snow. Stay safe hydrus.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting Grothar:


I heard she had the whole thing sewed up anyway.


Lol...Who the heck in here knows what we are talking about anyways?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11319
Quoting Grothar:


I heard she had the whole thing sewed up anyway.

Good thing I am not here anymore to respond to that one....

keep Safe, all!
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Quoting pottery:
Being called a "twit" and a 'dingbat" by 2 different people in less that 2 minutes MUST be some kind of record! LOLOl
Must be time for bed.....

see you guys tomorrow.
I have a busy one<<<<<<<


Night Pottery!
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Being called a "twit" and a 'dingbat" by 2 different people in less that 2 minutes MUST be some kind of record! LOLOl
Must be time for bed.....

see you guys tomorrow.
I have a busy one<<<<<<<
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Watching the Ocars. Where is Edith Head?


I heard she had the whole thing sewed up anyway.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting Grothar:


I think that only works if one has iron-poor blood. I don't think I have any left; just running on fumes these days. How bad is your weather?
Not good. Strong tornadoes are possible..Link
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Quoting pottery:

On top of her shoulders ??




Choking time. LOL Geoffrey asked for that one.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


You're such a ding bat! :)

You mean, it's NOT ??
What a thing LOL!
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Quoting pottery:

How can your twin be your nephew?
I am trying to come to terms with this peculiar thing.
(if you dont want to respond to this, I will understand)

heheheh


I have twin nephews you twit. LOL Hey, it's late, I am tired, and old. If you want Emerson, go read a book.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting pottery:

On top of her shoulders ??


You're such a ding bat! :)
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11319
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Watching the Ocars. Where is Edith Head?

On top of her shoulders ??
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Watching the Ocars. Where is Edith Head?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11319
Video is now up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_yux1I0rvo
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Ah!.I was getting all kinds of confused?.I was like snow in Florida?.But this weather has been strange latley...and wack as well.


Oh yes. It's been normal here in Florida. The dry season has been living up to its name.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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