New Review of "Warnings"

I was thrilled when I went to Amazon a few hours ago and found author Vicki Landes read Warnings and posted a review. Because of her master’s degree in emergency management, she has a unique perspective on the book. Here is her review,

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone with an interest in weather – very enjoyable!!February 24, 2011

Of all the things we take for granted, weather forecasting and severe weather warnings probably rank up near the top. We normally only notice – and complain – when forecasts are wrong; praise for accurate reporting just doesn’t happen. Meteorologist and author Mike Smith hopes to bring a more positive light to the criticized field of forecasting while exploring the history of weather warnings in his book, “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather”. 

“Warnings” is an intriguing look at the development of early warning systems and the difficulties in deciphering constantly-changing weather patterns. While many have the ability to write a book such as this, Mike Smith has the unique advantage of claiming, `But I’ve been a major player in its improvements!’ The book gives readers a firsthand account of some of the most disastrous storms of the last half century, showing Smith in the forefront of technological advances. Further, he describes early weather forecasting protocol and the surprising fact that at one time, forecasters were not supposed to give severe weather warnings! Smith goes on to detail lives lost in the government’s efforts to stay out of the warning business and his own struggle to overcome that political red tape. The inclusion of pictures further illustrated how important early warning systems are to life and property. The book ends on a positive note, giving the reader a sense of relief as he describes current warning practices while alluding to the fact that there are plenty of advancements yet to be made. 

“Warnings” is the perfect read those with any level of interest in weather – from a healthy curiosity to a professional involvement; storm chasers and meteorologists alike will find it as informing as it is entertaining. As someone who has very recently earned her masters in emergency management, “Warnings” gave me plenty of alternative viewpoints to think about. For example, I’d never considered the `disconnect’ between a meteorologist’s warning and the political resistance of initiating action before it’s absolutely necessary (read: Hurricane Katrina). Normally it’s viewed as the emergency manager’s inability to get proactive support but in actuality that process starts as far back as the initial weather forecasts – that crucial step we take for granted. 

“Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather” gives you a fresh perspective on the field of meteorology and the history of severe weather warnings. Smith has passion and a child-like fascination with weather which emanates from the pages. I absolutely loved how his obvious devotion to the subject came out in each and every sentence. Very enjoyable and educational read! 

Vicki Landes, author of “Europe for the Senses – A Photographic Journal” 

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