Christmas weather books and Storm Chaser book review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:54 PM GMT on December 18, 2007

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Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey ($23.10 from Amazon) takes the reader on a spectacular photographic journey through the U.S., documenting four seasons of our beautiful and violent weather. Author Jim Reed makes a business of weather photography, and has spent over 15 years chasing storms and documenting their awesome beauty and violent destructive power. The 191-page book would make a perfect Christmas coffee table book for that weather enthusiast (yourself?) in the family, and has great photos of tornadoes, hurricanes, hailstorms, blizzards, sunsets, and lightning. The book is mostly photos, but there are several riveting stories Reed tells. Most captivating is the story of his encounter with Category 4 Hurricane Charley as it pounded Punta Gorda, Florida in 2004. Reed miscalculated his time needed to get to shelter, and got caught in his vehicle on the road in the eyewall. Luckily, his videotaped farewell for mother and friends done during the height of the storm was not needed, as he was able to find shelter during the 4-minute passage of the eye. Reed also braved Hurricane Katrina from the beach front, and tells an abbreviated version of his dramatic encounter with the hurricane from Gulfport, Mississippi. I also recommend Hurricane Katrina Through the Eyes of Storm Chasers ($14.96 from Amazon) to read the full tale of his Katrina experience.

Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey has a few flaws. The quality of the writing is not quite as high as that of my favorite storm chaser book, the now dated 1996 Warren Faidley book, Storm Chaser: In pursuit of untamed skies (no longer in print, but available used). Reed's text doesn't match up with the photos presented on the pages in places, and he makes a number of unwarranted connections between global warming and extreme weather events. For example, he blames the June 22, 2003 fall of volley ball-sized hailstones in Aurora, Kansas on global warming. No single weather event can be attributed to climate change--all we can say is that the probabilities of some extreme weather events have increased. For example, the incidence of extreme precipitation events (the heaviest 1% of rain storms) has increased 20% over the U.S. in recent decades. No scientific papers have been published showing a link between tornadoes or hailstorms and climate change. That quibble aside, I heartily recommend Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey. The photos are fantastic. Three and a half stars out of four.

Best weather books published in 2007

Weather Photography:
Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey ($23.10 from Amazon).

Climate change:
Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming by Chris Mooney ($17.16 from Amazon). See the realclimate.org review. I'll be posting a review of my own at some point.

General Weather:
Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book by Christopher Burt ($17.13 from Amazon). I hope to review this book soon.

Hurricanes:
Hurricane Almanac by Bryan Norcross ($11.04 from Amazon). See my review of the book.

Tornadoes:
Storm Warning: the Story of a Killer Tornado by Nancy Mathis ($16.32 from Amazon). See my review of the book.

Jeff Masters

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377. melwerle
1:55 PM GMT on December 21, 2007
It is POURING here outside of Savannah - really surprised we have no tornado watch - usually do when it's like this...

People are calling in to say they are staying home to make sure their house doesn't flood. Need the rain and grateful to get it.

Have a great day!
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376. Patrap
7:54 AM CST on December 21, 2007
For aquak9,.. the one who witnessed.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127810
375. Weather456
1:41 PM GMT on December 21, 2007
I think it should of been Hugo Chavez...lol
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
374. Weather456
1:38 PM GMT on December 21, 2007
oooo I see
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
372. aquak9
8:31 AM EST on December 21, 2007
Yeah, express, I think I've just watched the last of it pull off the coast. All clear and blue to the west. The breeze and fresh air is lovely, with no cold temps chasing it. Gotta love Florida sometimes.
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371. Weather456
1:31 PM GMT on December 21, 2007
Am I correct...this year's Man of the Year is Al Gore acording to Time Magazine or Time Warner?
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
370. HIEXPRESS
8:21 AM EST on December 21, 2007
Here's that front from the other side.

Front Exits E. Central FL (Looking South)
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369. aquak9
8:13 AM EST on December 21, 2007
Wow we are really gusty here in NE fla. Sunrise of bright blue sky, thin clouds glowing bright white, thick clouds dark grey and heavy, all zooming to the east. Really magnificent, the sound of the wind added in.

Sun breaks thru like a spotlight on the porch. Wow.
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368. Bonedog
8:11 AM EST on December 21, 2007
yesterdays sever weather maker and this weekends storm......

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367. extreme236
12:57 PM GMT on December 21, 2007
Looks like a fog outbreak across a large area in the east-central US
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366. Weather456
7:31 AM AST on December 21, 2007
Dama encountered an upper level jet that is being produce south of a large ridge over Northern Australia.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
365. Weather456
7:28 AM AST on December 21, 2007
Tropical Depression Ex-Dama

1100 UTC DEC 21 2007

Pattern: Sheared

Current Intensity: CI 1.5

Adjustments: None

Final Estimate: CI 1.5

Dvorak Trends:
0030 UTC DEC 17 - CI 1.5
1030 UTC DEC 17 - CI 1.7
1500 UTC DEC 17 - CI 2.2
2300 UTC DEC 17 - CI 2.5
1030 UTC DEC 18 - CI 2.5
1430 UTC DEC 18 - CI 2.5
1955 UTC DEC 18 - CI 2.5
0100 UTC DEC 19 - CI 2.7
0830 UTC DEC 19 - CI 3.0
1630 UTC DEC 19 - CI 3.5
2200 UTC DEC 19 - CI 3.0
1200 UTC DEC 20 - CI 3.5
1630 UTC DEC 20 - CI 3.5
2000 UTC DEC 20 - CI 3.5
0130 UTC DEC 21 - CI 2.8
1100 UTC DEC 21 - CI 1.5


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364. Weather456
7:08 AM AST on December 21, 2007
Good Morning
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363. IKE
5:01 AM CST on December 21, 2007
New Orleans rocking yesterday, in addition to the weather....

"By CAIN BURDEAU - Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS(AP) After violent clashes with police at City Hall, protesters vowed that the fight over a plan to demolish 218 public housing buildings for the poor was far from over, both in the courts and on the streets.

On Thursday, police used chemical spray and stun guns on protesters who tried to force their way into a City Council meeting where the members voted unanimously to allow the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish 4,500 public housing units."
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
362. hydrus
10:51 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
Thank you to KoritheMan.
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361. sydneyaust1
10:15 AM GMT on December 21, 2007


Violent storm approaching Kamchatka and Chukotka

20.12.2007, 13.01





PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, December 20 (Itar-Tass) - A warning about a violent storm has been sent to the fleets in the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean staying off coasts of Kamchatka and Chukotka.

The seas can whip up waves reaching 8-10 meters on Thursday, the Far Eastern department of the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

The emergency forces in Kamchatka and Chukotka Autonomous District have been brought up to their feet to withstand natural disasters.

Chiefs of municipalities, seaports and shipping companies have been informed about the possible storm.

At the same time, the storm is not threatening coast facilities, the emergency services said.

Shiveluch volcano has activated in Kamchatka. It has thrown out clouds of ash that fell on Klyuchi, a settlement of 50,000 that is located 50 kilometres from the volcano.

Specialists said Shiveluch spewed ash to a four to nine kilometer-height several times.

The ash fall-out was observed in a 1,450 kilometre-range.

Link
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360. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:03 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
TROPICAL CYCLONE DAMA ADVISORY NUMBER TWELVE - ISSUED AT 6:00 AM UTC
==========================================

As of 0600 AM UTC, Tropical Depression, Ex Dama [998 hPa] located near 19.3S 88.2E or 3375 kms east of the coast of Reunion has 10 min sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts up to 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving east-southeast at 17 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Gale Warning Area
=====================
110 NM from the center in southeasten semi-circle

Forecast and Intensity
========================
12 HRS: 20.0S 89.7E - 25 knots (PERTURBATION TROPICALE)

Additional Information
======================
System should dissipate within the next 48 hours.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45223
357. hydrus
4:44 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
Beell- they said on the 6 pm news that this line of thunderstorms would weaken before reaching the coast,this line does not appear to be weakening.



























































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356. beell
4:30 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
May be enough instability moving onshore to go with the good dynamics when these t-storms move onshore for some brief spin. If the mesolow deepens some this would increase the chances.
(Higher dewpoints and a bit of helicity with a stonger warm front)

000
FXUS62 KTAE 210139
AFDTAE

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
839 PM EST THU DEC 20 2007

.UPDATE...ENERGETIC WEATHER SYSTEM MOVING THROUGH THE DEEP SOUTH
THIS EVENING. AFTERNOON MCS OVER SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI/ALABAMA HAS
EVOLVED INTO A MESOLOW JUST OFF THE GULF COAST BETWEEN DESTIN AND
PANAMA CITY THIS EVENING.
WARM FRONT EXTENDS EAST FROM THIS LOW
ACROSS THE NORTHEAST GULF TO THE FLORIDA WEST COAST. RADAR
INDICATES A LARGE AREA OF MODERATE TO HEAVY STRATIFORM RAINFALL
COVERING MOST OF THE CWA WEST OF TALLAHASSEE WITH A LINE OF
THUNDERSTORMS EXTENDING FROM NEAR PANAMA CITY SOUTH INTO THE GULF
OF MEXICO.

THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE EVENING...EXPECT MESOLOW TO CONTINUE
ON A GENERALLY EASTWARD TRACK WITH THE WARM FRONT REMAINING
ROUGHLY STATIONARY. THIS SHOULD KEEP THE BULK OF INSTABILITY
OFFSHORE AND PREVENT ANY SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER OVER LAND.
WILL HAVE TO MONITOR CLOSELY...IF THE WARM FRONT PUSHES NORTH AND
INLAND...SHEAR PROFILES ARE MORE THAN SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS
...WITH MODELS SHOWING A 40 TO 50 KNOTS LOW LEVEL JET
SPREADING ACROSS THE BIG BEND DURING THE NEXT 6 HOURS.

HAVE UPDATED THE GRIDS TO RAISE POPS TO AFTER MIDNIGHT OVER THE
EASTERN 2/3S OF THE CWA GIVEN THE RELATIVE SLOW MOTION OF THE
RAIN SHIELD. HAVE ALSO ADJUSTED THE THUNDER...WITH COVERAGE
REDUCED TO ISOLATED ACROSS SOUTHEAST ALABAMA AND SOUTH GEORGIA.
WILL ALSO REMOVE SEVERE WORDING FROM INLAND AREAS...WITH ISOLATED
SEVERE POSSIBLE ALONG THE COAST.
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354. hydrus
4:10 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
I know that early season or late season landfalls from tropical cyclones in this part of the world is quite rare.I have lived in florida a very long time and cannot remember any.
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353. JLPR
12:06 AM AST on December 21, 2007
no problem hydrus
=)
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352. JLPR
12:03 AM AST on December 21, 2007
yeah BahaHurican its a rare fact indeed for a rare December storm to move in the direction of a September-October system
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351. hydrus
4:00 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
Thank you JLPR for the reply.
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350. BahaHurican
10:55 PM EST on December 20, 2007
What continues to fascinate me about Olga is her direction of movement. The average December storm, even if it is found anywhere near the Caribbean, is usually moving N and NE away from land. Olga followed the path of other systems this year, right into the Caribbean and across to the Yucatan. I'm very interested to see what NHC has to say about that. . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21899
349. JLPR
12:00 AM AST on December 21, 2007
thanks KoritheMan for completing the answer =)
my memory is not great =P
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348. JLPR
11:49 PM AST on December 20, 2007
sorry for answering a little late I wasnt at the computer hydrus but I dont remember any the only one that comes to mind is Alice in 1954 and it didnt directly affect the island
Hurricane Alice
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347. BahaHurican
10:38 PM EST on December 20, 2007
The last time I heard, a season with well over 15 storms was not called a "dud"; it was called above-average, if anything.

While some news agencies and personalities may have overhyped the season early in the year, I don't think the Doc's discussions have been overhyped. I don't think because the effects of the season were not experienced in the locations people expected (or were led to expect) the season should be called less than what it is. The science tells us that 15 systems in the ATL basin fit the criteria at some point in their lives to be classified as tropical cyclones of some degree. This is more than the mean or mode average for the observed period. Therefore 2007 had an above average season. No amount of downplaying will negate the simple facts.

Now, if anybody has something else to add or contribute on WHY storms were so shortlived or how the location of the high contributed to short storm life, we would be pleased to hear it. If someone wants to hypothesize on new ways storms should be classified so that a more accurate view of their effects can be provide, go right ahead. Otherwise, this discussion of views and opinions is not advancing the SCIENCE of either climatology or meteorology in any meaningful way.
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346. KoritheMan
3:48 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
JLPR how many tropical cyclones have effected puerto rico in the month of december?

I may be wrong, and I know I am not JLPR, but I'll help as best I can. From what I know of Atlantic hurricane history, only Lili (1984), Odette (2003), and Olga (2007) have affected Puerto Rico during December.
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345. lindenii
3:48 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
342. extreme236 3:16 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
Well if this season is called a dud then most other seasons ever would have to be called duds. 2004 and 2005 were not normal years and therefore seasons should not be compared to them.


So the season was a dud...big whup.

Now lets try to determine WHY...Did the storms actually form normally only to be prematurely extinguished or did they form because of unusual wind patterns that encouraged formation yet fell apart quickly afterward.

Two Cat5's and yet an ACE of only 70??? Whats wrong with that picture? There is much more to what happened than meets the eye and that is why we need to focus on the seemingly inconsequential data for an underlying reason. Something buried...something hidden. What puzzle piece are we missing?
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344. Patrap
9:24 PM CST on December 20, 2007
Bill Parcell's Xmas

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343. extreme236
3:17 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
Good night all!
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342. extreme236
3:15 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
Well if this season is called a dud then most other seasons ever would have to be called duds. 2004 and 2005 were not normal years and therefore seasons should not be compared to them.
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341. hydrus
3:02 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
JLPR how many tropical cyclones have effected puerto rico in the month of december?
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338. JLPR
10:50 PM AST on December 20, 2007
why try to make Olga sound like nothing?
it brought some decent winds and gusts here in PR and the strongest side was the north side so I actually think that it was a underestimated storm
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337. Weather456
10:48 PM AST on December 20, 2007
Gnight all
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
336. lindenii
2:46 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
BahaHurican...Re:Naming all low pressure areas in the Atlantic basin etal.

To paraphrase Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean...At least then you could blame it all on the weather.

I believe that we have a responsibility to use our new-found electronic gear in a manner that serves the better good. Simply because 'we can', do not necessarily translate into 'we should'.

Case in point. Recently I bought what I thought was a great tool...a digital caliper accurate to 1/1000 of a milimeter!! I was so impressed with my purchase until...heck, I have a hard time simply setting the darn thing to within a hundredth, much less one thousandth.

Same thing with temperature measurement. Accuracy to 1/1000 of a degree? No problem if you make observations that relate to readings taken after the introduction of the equipment. Where we go wrong is when we attempt to look back decades, even centuries and claim to be able to make serious correlations and still keep a straight face while doing it.

Likewise, sensationalizing the weather, such as was and is being done with the 2007 Hurricane season is little more than a smoke screen to hide the difficulty in keeping a straight face.
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335. Weather456
10:27 PM AST on December 20, 2007
In my view he wanted to make it appear that the 2007 Hurricane season was something that it was not. Was it deliberate or was it a subconcious thing...I do not know.

You are doing the same thing. You are trying to make the 2007 Hurricane Season something that it was not and that is a "dud". But heck...they will always be educated jackasses.
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334. lindenii
2:17 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
323. extreme236 1:04 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
But I agree, if deaths in DR resulted from a dam release, then it shouldnt be counted in the Olga deathtoll...only the other 21+ people should


extreme...No, I am not picking on you...It is just that Dr. Masters claimed, in the same post I referred to, that 19 people had been killed in the water release and 5 others were killed elsewhere. People dying is a terrible thing to happen and it is my contention that sensationalizing such an event in order to substantiate a particular position is wrong. And, I beleive, that is what Dr. Masters appeared to be attempting to do by the headline on that post. In my view he wanted to make it appear that the 2007 Hurricane season was something that it was not. Was it deliberate or was it a subconcious thing...I do not know.

In the final analysis it was done.
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333. BahaHurican
9:18 PM EST on December 20, 2007
Dead is dead. Deadliest is deadliest.

I'm not seeing much absurdity there.
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332. Weather456
10:14 PM AST on December 20, 2007
Moderate Tropical Storm Dama

0130 UTC DEC 21 2007

Pattern: Curved band decrease to about a 0.50 arc in visible images.

Current Intensity: 2.8

Adjustments: None

Final Estimate: CI 2.8

Dvorak Trends:
0030 UTC DEC 17 - CI 1.5
1030 UTC DEC 17 - CI 1.7
1500 UTC DEC 17 - CI 2.2
2300 UTC DEC 17 - CI 2.5
1030 UTC DEC 18 - CI 2.5
1430 UTC DEC 18 - CI 2.5
1955 UTC DEC 18 - CI 2.5
0100 UTC DEC 19 - CI 2.7
0830 UTC DEC 19 - CI 3.0
1630 UTC DEC 19 - CI 3.5
2200 UTC DEC 19 - CI 3.0
1200 UTC DEC 20 - CI 3.5
1630 UTC DEC 20 - CI 3.5
2000 UTC DEC 20 - CI 3.5
0130 UTC DEC 21 - CI 2.8

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331. lindenii
2:11 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
321. extreme236 12:59 AM GMT on December 21, 2007
lindenii, low pressure areas are named when they meet the requirements of a TC


extreme236...I meant that 'tongue in cheek' in order to accentuate the absurdity of making storms like Olga more than they were, ala the heading posted by Dr. Masters where it called Olga the 'deadliest' December storm on record.

I was contrasting absurdity with absurdity. (grin)
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330. Weather456
10:01 PM AST on December 20, 2007
I cannot believe what I am reading. Katrina was in the same category as Olga. Poor levees broke by katrina storm surge on the lake and ppl drown becuz they did not evacuated. That means that all the ppl who drowned in NOrleans shud not be counted within Katrina's death toll.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
328. BahaHurican
8:30 PM EST on December 20, 2007
I don't think people "gave false importance" to Olga. I got the impression most people found that storm "important" because it occured after the end of the official season, thereby meeting the La NiƱa criterion of late season close. It certainly wasn't worse than Noel, which brought much more torrential rains to the same area[s].
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21899
327. BahaHurican
8:26 PM EST on December 20, 2007
extreme,

The dam release victims sound like they fall into the indirect category. Other deaths I've heard fit into such a category are those killed when cleaning up debris, e. g. electrocuted by downed wires, etc., heart attack victims, etc. I can't remember whether such victims end up in the overall total for deaths or not.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21899

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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.