Bryan Norcross's Hurricane Almanac: a book review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:19 PM GMT on May 24, 2007

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Bryan Norcross, Hurricane Analyst for CBS's national news and Director of Meteorology for WFOR-TV in Miami, has just written his second annual Hurricane Almanac: The Essential Guide to Storms Past, Present, and Future. Bryan is famous for his marathon on-air performance during Hurricane Andrew of 1992, when he talked people through the storm as their homes came apart around them. His book is a great addition to the bookshelf of anyone living in Hurricane Alley. Like any almanac, it has information on a variety of topics, and is not meant to be read straight through. My favorite part was his 5-page description of his Hurricane Andrew experience--and the lessons we should have learned from it, but didn't. Some other highlights:

Ready, Set, Hurricane!
The book's greatest strength is the impressive 134-page section that provides checklists and practical information on how to prepare, ride out, evacuate, and recover from a hurricane. There are so many things to think of that having them available in a handy book one can pick up anytime makes Hurricane Almanac a great book to have. When preparing for a hurricane, you'll find tips on what storm shutters and generator to buy, what to do with your pet, computer, boat, pool and car, and how to make a Family Hurricane Plan. Bryan also boosts a web which I also like, onestorm.org. This is a free hurricane preparedness web site that helps you put together a family hurricane plan.

I like how the book emphasizes the most important things it wants you to know. In the case of the Ready, Set, Hurricane! section, Bryan emphasizes this:

IF YOU DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE, DO THIS!

-Contact a friend or relative out of town and ask him or her to be your family's emergency contact.

-Before the storm, be sure that every member of the family has a piece of paper on them that says, for example:

EMERGENCY CONTACT
AUNT MILLY IN NJ
201-555-5555

-Call Aunt Milly before the wind starts blowing to tell her exactly where you are and what you are planning to do.

-Be sure everybody knows that they should call Aunt Milly if they get lost or anything bad happens.

It's important that your main contact person is out of town, because local calls are more likely to be disrupted after a storm. Both ends of local connections are subject to problems.

Another interesting fact I learned from Hurricane Almanac: You can send an email message to any cell phone able to receive text messages by emailing to XXX-XXX-XXXX@teleflip.com (replace the X's with the phone number of the person's cell phone). The message will be forwarded to any cell phone provider in the U.S.

Hurricane Almanac also details what to do after the storm--how to deal with FEMA and your insurance company, save water-damaged possessions, and purify your drinking water. Additional chapters include an excellent summary of all the various National Hurricane Center advisories and how to interpret them, the basics of hurricane science, and a summary of some of the famous storms in the past. The opening chapter includes a very passionate critique of our emergency management system, building codes, and the politicians who fail to adequately protect us against hurricanes. A sample quote:

That President Bush, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, and the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, General Carl Strock were completely misinformed and saying ridiculous things for days and weeks after the Katrina disaster is frightening. These people know when a pin drops in Afghanistan. How can they not know when a levee breaks in New Orleans? The evidence says that the communications and operational infrastructure of the federal government broke down. We should all be very concerned.

Hurricane Almanac (335 pages, softcover) is $10.39 from amazon.com. It's not fancy--all the photos and figures are black and white (if you want a coffee table hurricane book with beautiful color photos and figures, get Dr. Kerry Emanuel's Divine Wind. An added bonus for Hurricane Almanac is a companion web site, hurricanealmanac.com. The web site is not fancy, but does have some useful links and a page that allows you to send Byran emails with suggestions and/or fixes for the 2008 version of his book.

The book also has a provocative chapter titled, "How I'd do it better," that I'll comment on in a future blog.

Jeff Masters

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69. hurricane23
2:26 PM EDT on May 24, 2007
Posted By: KYhomeboy at 2:23 PM EDT on May 24, 2007. (hide)
Whats going on in the Central Atlantic?

40-50kt shear.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
68. KYhomeboy
6:22 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Whats going on in the Central Atlantic?
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67. Skyepony (Mod)
6:14 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
You too StormW!

23~ That blob has game. Been watchin the EPAC a few days now. Something has to give there's not an invest in the world at the moment.

Interesting in the news...
U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Fossil Fuels Declined By 1.3 Percent In 2006
The economy, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), grew by 3.3 percent and energy demand fell by 0.9 percent indicating that energy intensity (energy use per unit of GDP) fell by 4.2 percent. Carbon dioxide intensity (CO2 emission per unit of GDP) fell by 4.5 percent.

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66. hurricane23
2:14 PM EDT on May 24, 2007
Yea but but means nothing towards the season.I think the chance is there that we wont see anymore development across the basin for a while.Conditions are just to unfavorable out there which is quite typical as june and july are usually slow months.Lets hope this current pattern with trofiness stays in place threw out the season.

Take advantage of tax-free week coming up on hurricane supplies.Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
65. Tazmanian
6:17 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
7 days to go in tell june 1st
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64. TheRingo
2:12 PM EDT on May 24, 2007
looks like the jet stream is starting to make it's move to the north now.
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63. RL3AO
6:11 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
1 more week.

It was a crazy May. 2 invests and a named one.
62. hurricane23
2:05 PM EDT on May 24, 2007
Looks like we may get an invest in the pacific as convection looks decent with a possible low developing.Lets see if it persists.



ir
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
61. hurricane23
1:55 PM EDT on May 24, 2007
Hey stormw!

Just waiting on IWIC'S 07 outlook release tommorow.Look for an extremely detailed outlook form location to location from steering pattern's and other atmospheric conditions that might be in place this season.I dont get off till about 12:30 noon time tommorow from work so iam going to be looking forward to that.Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
59. hurricane23
13:39 EDT le 24 mai 2007
Tell me about i probably wont get to see it completely till about 1:00pm tommorow we i get of work.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
58. TheCaneWhisperer
5:38 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Odd time for the IW Team to release thier forcast 23! Looks like I'll have to wait till morning to read!
57. hurricane23
1:08 PM EDT on May 24, 2007
John Gerard use to be work @ channel 10 a few years back and i will say he's really great when it comes to tropical weather along with a few others from south florida like Craig Setzer Don noe and bryan norcross.Like bryan Don Noe has been at it for about 25 years.Still remember him during hurricane andrew.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
53. Skyepony (Mod)
4:54 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Dr Masters~ Excellent blog as usual. Your must reads are always great reads. I'm intreged by the "provocative chapter" & look forward to that blog.

HIEXPRESS~ Good info in that link, though a big kid trama factor for kids they totally left out was them dealing with after cane life with no AC or TV. One nephew of mine was scarred more by a weeks loss of X-box use than anything.
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52. nash28
5:01 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Congrats CCHS! Best of luck to you in college!
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
51. nash28
5:00 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Around 30kts in that area right now. The remainder of the GOM into the Carribean is still around the 50-60kt range.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
49. nash28
4:58 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Shear is beginning to relax a little bit in the NE GOM.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
48. HIEXPRESS
4:50 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Hurricane Movement: Who's Driving?
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47. K8eCane
4:46 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
remember the atmosphere is always in motion
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46. K8eCane
4:44 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
well if theres a trough of low pressure sitting in the eastern us and a high just off the east coast, the canes tend to ride up the east coast
there are a lot of factors involved in where a cane goes
they dont usually follow a straight line
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45. KYhomeboy
4:45 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Welcome to FIU!!!!!!
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44. Skyepony (Mod)
4:43 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
cchs~ It probibly origanally came from UCF's forecast. The info for all hurricane prone areas are here.
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43. fire16
4:37 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Good luck!!
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42. Skyepony (Mod)
4:41 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
STS Andrea claimed a victim ~ they just found the remains.
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41. HIEXPRESS
4:22 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
A resource for info - Helping children deal with natural disasters Link

Don't forget about those unpredictable ULLs, they can move those hurricanes around too. Where would Hugo have gone without the effects of a ULL around, if memory serves NE GOM?

Be good, working & lurking.
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40. K8eCane
4:35 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Posted By: cchsweatherman at 4:32 PM GMT on May 24, 2007.
By the way K8eCane, where did you get those county-by-county percentages from? I want to look at South Florida, where I live.



they were on the website for my local news wect.com
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39. cchsweatherman
4:26 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
That NAM model looks very interesting, but so do all the models that have shown something similar to a TS or hurricane. By the way K8eCane, where did you get those county-by-county percentages from? I want to look at South Florida, where I live.

P.S. Today was my final day in high school. I graduate on Tuesday! I'm so excited! I'm going on to FIU and majoring in Atmospherical Sciences while working at an internship with NBC6 Meteorologist John Gerard when I become a college sophomore. Wish me luck!
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37. NOLAinNC
4:25 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
I know what I'm getting everyone I know for Xmas this year!
-NOLA
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36. oriondarkwood
11:38 AM EDT on May 24, 2007
I called Aunt Milly and she wants to sell me a timeshare for a ocean resort town.. somewhere I never heard of before a small town called Waveland, Mississippi anyone every heard of it?
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35. livinginnavarre
3:34 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
The Hurricane hunter planes will be on display at Pensacola Regional Airport Today (May 24)
if anyone is in the area.
Link
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33. PhilipDeLaneyWV
3:13 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Posted By: DoveflowerFtMyers at 3:04 PM GMT on May 24, 2007.
I think someone should come up with a book for children. In my experience in Charley, that time was very traumatic for my daughters (not to mention myself!). No power, no water, etc. I have educated my girls now, but if they had a book written for them to explain and educate them in words they understand, that would be great. Just my 2 cents!


I seem to recall a Sesame Street series of episodes where Big Bird's nest was blown away and how he dealt with it. Practically makes me cry just thinking about it...
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31. DoveflowerFtMyers
3:04 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
I think someone should come up with a book for children. In my experience in Charley, that time was very traumatic for my daughters (not to mention myself!). No power, no water, etc. I have educated my girls now, but if they had a book written for them to explain and educate them in words they understand, that would be great. Just my 2 cents!

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30. IKE
9:57 AM CDT on May 24, 2007
Latest NAM model run 12 UTC...A TD/TS in the western Caribbean in 84 hours..ha-ha-...Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
29. OGal
2:25 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Intend to go pick up Bryan's book. Thank you so much for telling us. We can never have too many resources.
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28. HURRICANE911
2:13 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Thank you Dr. M you are the greatest!!! I love you so much. You made my day. What would us bloggers do without you?
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25. nash28
2:09 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
You're very welcome Catastrophe.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
24. MisterPerfect
2:07 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
I try to call Aunt Milly but I keep getting a Taxi Service. Does Aunt Milly drive the yellow horse for a living?

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23. catastropheadjuster
2:06 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
STORM&NASH: Thank you for explaining this to me I really do appreciate it.
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22. MisterPerfect
1:53 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Dear Aunt Milly,

I can't wait to get up to New Jersey to see you again. I'm sending this letter via carrier pigeon due to the fact our five oak trees have fallen on the house and pinned us in the family room. We can hear chainsaws outside, so it won't be long until we're free. Dad is loading the shotgun so we can bargain for ice later. Keep trying to call us, Aunt Milly..305-444-4444.

Love,
Billy
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21. nash28
2:03 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Great point StormW in regard to the steering currents in relation to the strength of the system. The deeper the system is, the more it is affected in the upper levels of the atmosphere. This is where the shallow BAM comes into play. When the storm is weaker (more shallow) that model has a better grasp on it.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
19. nash28
1:56 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
Last year, the BH set up shop further to the east than we saw in '04 and '05. It was also not a very large (sprawling) High. When the BH sets up further to the west and south in the ATL, it tends to steer long track storms due westward, which is what we saw especially in '04. Since tropical cyclones rotate in a counter-clockwise fashion around the periphery of the High, a stronger High that is positioned closer to the East Coast makes for an interesting season.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972

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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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