Do you have a friend or relative who is obsessed by the weather? Who won’t go out without a raincoat if the Weather Channel is predicting precipitation sometime during the day? Who calls to express worries about you driving “in all that snow” when you haven’t seen the merest hint of frost on the pumpkin? My sister is like that. She needs this book. It explains weather.
The terms it uses are sometimes violent, as weather can be. You have to be warned; this is not a weather book for people who love weather, who leap into the day no matter what the color of the sky, who have no natural fear of lightning or dropping, not to say plunging, pressure in the atmosphere. This book tells weather like it is. Here’s an example I particularly like because I do live a region prone not to snow but to ice:
“You look out your window and everything – everything, every possible surface – is covered in a layer of glistening, gleaming, twinkling ice. Does that sound beautiful to you? Well, you’re wrong. It’s not beautiful. It’s disgusting. All the trees and bushes in your yard sag under the weight of the ice. Power cords and telephone lines, also sagging to their breaking point, often reach that breaking point and snap, so electricity and phones go out. Walking out your front door and down your porch steps is suddenly the most difficult, dangerous, impossible thing you’ve ever risked your life doing,,, You don’t want to drive anywhere. You don’t want to put that car on any road that has any other cars anywhere near it.” I concur.
If you like to sit on your front porch and watch a good thunderstorm develop, just remember how bad it can get, according to DiClaudio (whose name might have impelled him from an early age to study meteorological phenomena – but actually he’s a comedian): like “grape-fruit sized hail landing on your head bad. Or like tornadoes picking up your car and dropping it off in another neighborhood bad.” And as much as you’ll love the charming story of the North Carolina hurricane that lifted up a church and deposited it just where the parishioners were thinking of moving it anyway, you have to remember that a hurricane killed 6,000 people in Galveston and gave New Orleans a kick in the butt that we’re still recovering from, no matter where we live.
But the purpose of the book is not to make you fear weather. Its purpose is to explain weather in a simple way that will make you respect it. We all need to learn not just how to protect ourselves against bad weather and take advantage of good, but to protect ourselves against the useless fluff of poor weather prognostication and learn to understand what the weather person is saying instead of just looking at her chest (or is it just my husband who does that?). As the author of this highly readable, exceedingly gift-able book states plainly, “Weather is out there. And it is waiting for you.”