Freaks of the Storm
From Flying Cows to Stealing Thunder: The World's Strangest True Weather Stories
By Randy Cerveny
(Basic Books, Paperback, 9781560258018, 304pp.)
Publication Date: December 2005
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In the course of his numerous talks and presentations to college and grade school students, civic clubs, and nursing homes, climatologist Randy Cerveny found that people of all ages are fascinated by the "unusual"and he seized on that fascination to tell them about strange weather. Now, in his first book, the rest of us can learn of real, documented stories such as these:
Odd occurrences of chickens losing all their feathers during tornadoes (so-called "chicken plucking");
Strange stories of finding lightning victims who have been completely stripped of all of their clothes (through a process known as "the vapor effect");
Weird stories of how past powerful hailstorms have both led to the ending of one warand the complete prevention of another;
Bizarre uses of weathersuch as the strange contraption called a windwagon” that literally "sailed" nearly 500 miles from Kansas to Colorado;
Each chapter in Freaks of the Storm encompasses the oddities of a specific type of weather, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, and hail. The author also divides specific conditions into a set of categories associated with the overall phenomena.
A contributing editor of the popular national weather magazine Weatherwise, Dr. Cerveny is a professor who specializes in weather and climate at Arizona State University, where he is one of four professors out of a faculty of 1,700 honored with the title of President’s Professor.” He has studied weather on all seven of the world’s continents. His research has ranged from studying the weather associated with prison escapes to computing the weather of the next 10,000 years (used in the design of the nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain). For his research demonstrating that it rains more on weekends than on weekdays, the BBC, CNN, ABC News, NPR and others interviewed him, and he has appeared live on the NBC Today” show and on the CBS Morning Show.”
His research has been discussed in such diverse publications as People, USA Today, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated, and in numerous newspapers around the country, as well as in a recent documentary by the BBC. He is the author of over ninety technical articles on weather and climate in journals such as Science and Nature.