Forecasting the Deadliest Storms on Earth
Publication Date: July 31, 2001
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The ultimate guide to the ultimate storms, Hurricane Watch is a fascinating blend of science and history from one of the world's foremost meteorologists and an award-winning science journalist. This in-depth look at these awe-inspiring acts of nature covers everything from the earliest efforts by seafarers at predicting storms to the way satellite imaging is revolutionizing hurricane forecasting. It reveals the latest information on hurricanes: their effects on ocean waves, the causes of the variable wind speeds in different parts of the storm, and the origins of the super-cooled shafts of water that vent at high altitudes. Hurricane Watch is a compelling history of man's relationship with the deadliest storms on earth.
- The story of the nineteenth-century Cuban Jesuit whose success at predicting the great cyclones was considered almost mystical.
- A new look at Isaac Cline, whose infamous failure to predict the Galveston Hurricane left him obsessed with the devastating effects of storm surge.
- The story of the Hurricane Hunters, including the first man ever to deliberately fly into a hurricane.
- A complete account of how computer modeling has changed hurricane tracking.
- A history of Project Stormfury: the only significant, organized effort to reduce the damaging strength of severe hurricanes.
- A unique firsthand account of Hurricane Andrew by both authors, who were at the National Hurricane Center when Andrew struck.
- A listing of the deadliest storms in history.
Dr. Bob Sheets grew up on a small farm near Fairmount, Indiana, and attended Ball State Teachers College (now University). Upon graduation in 1961, he was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force and was sent to the University of Oklahoma to study meteorology. After finishing his Air Force tour of duty, he joined the National Hurricane Research Laboratory (NHRL), co-located with the National Hurricane Center (NHC), where he studied hurricanes, directing field operations and making more than 200 flights through the eyes of hurricanes. In 1980, after more than 16 years at NHRL, he moved into the National Hurricane Center, serving as a Hurricane Specialist, Deputy Director and finally, its Director from 1987 to 1995.
Since leaving the NHC after 33 years of government service, he has been a meteorological consultant where he provides on camera services for the Florida News Network and affiliates and the ABC network. Non-television work includes lectures and workshops on hurricane threats and preparedness, and serving on advisory boards at Florida International University and the University of Oklahoma. In addition, he has and continues to provide technical guidance for films and books concerning meteorology, with specializations in hurricanes, and was featured in the IMAX film entitled STORMCHASERS.
He received his B.S. degree in Mathematics/Physics from Ball State (1961) and his M.S. (1965) and Ph.D. (1972) degrees in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Sheets has authored dozens of published articles on hurricanes. He also has frequently been an invited lecturer at numerous Universities and other forums around the world.
His major honors include being an elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society; the recipient of the U.S. Navy Distinguished Public Service Award; the U.S. Air Force Master Meteorologist Award; Life Time Achievement Awards from the National Hurricane Conference and the South Florida Hurricane Conference; the Governor's Award from the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference; an EMMY award from the National Academy of Television Arts Society; Executive Excellence Award and Presidential Rank Award of the U.S. Senior Executive Service; citations from the governors of Maryland and Georgia; the ABC Person of the Week; the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold and Silver medals.
Jack Williams was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school. After his military service, he attended Jacksonville (Fla.) University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and government in 1962.
He began his journalism career at the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville while attending college, and subsequently worked at the Jacksonville Journal, the Rochester Times Union, and Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle. In September 1982, when USA Today began publication, Jack Williams served as the weather page editor.
In 1992, as Hurricane Andrew battered Dade County, Jack Williams was in the National Hurricane Center, which was on the fringe of the strongest winds. He has flown into three hurricanes, and has chased tornadoes with researchers on the Plains. In January 1999 Williams was one of the half dozen journalists selected that year by the National Science Foundation to report on research in Antarctica.
He is also the author of THE USA TODAY WEATHER BOOK, which won The American Meteorological Society’s Louis J. Battan Author’s Award, and THE USA TODAY WEATHER ALMANAC.