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05 July 2013

Isaac's Storm

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson is the story of man's quest to understand (and conquer) weather.

In September 1900 a massive hurricane hit Galveston, Texas killing over 6000 people and destroying most of the island. At the time, the US Weather Bureau was not doing much more than recording daily weather around the country. It was not issuing predictions or forecasts because of past criticism. So even though there was some forewarning in the skies around Cuba and in the view from the shore of Galveston, the people were not told of a likely coming disaster.

Larson uses the 1900 Galveston Hurricane (they were not yet given names unless someone famous was associated with them) as the focal point to look back and forward in time in man's struggle to understand weather. Told in a flowing narrative that reads like fiction but is packed with information, Isaac's Storm is a fascinating read for anyone who have ever experience extreme tropical weather. This book is informative and gives readers a basic, if essential, understanding of the forces that combine to create our world's deadliest storms. And now that those storms are reaching new and terrifying locations, everyone should read it. (A new edition including Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy would be greatly coveted. Hint. Hint.)
Larson, Erik. (1999). Isaac's Storm. New York: Vintage Books.

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