‘What starts as a breeze…can turn into a monster’. And the monstrosities that begin as a breeze are what this book is all about. The full title of the book ‘Into the Storm: Violent Tornadoes, Killer Hurricanes and Death-Defying Adventures in Extreme Weather’ certainly gets you etching to start reading this book.
For a weather nut like me this was a must read. Not only does this book deal with severe weather but also Reed Timmer’s unending fascination with science. How he started off struggling at university and then eventually achieving his PhD. It delves into how he was suddenly thrown into the media spotlight after some video footage of a destructive tornado and how he comes to make money out of sending these videos to news centres. Reed developed a new storm chasing style, much appalled by conservative storm chasers, that pushed him into the core of storms and eventually right inside a tornado. Reed risks relationships and exams to chase and it deals with the horrific effects of a tornado destroying entire towns, the emotional problems that develop as a result, but also how storm chasers are helping to better forecast tornadoes, increase warning times and ultimately save lives.
As the title suggests though, this isn’t just about tornadoes. I found that some of the most exciting reading was during the chase of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the costliest natural disaster in US history.
Reed doesn’t only describe to you what he’s see’s and what he feels though. He describes what’s going on and explains, in uncomplicated detail, how these storms start and end up producing tornadoes. You can garner his infectious (sometimes mad and bonkers) enthusiasm and lust to know more about these incredible phenomena.
This book left me much more informed about tornadoes and severe weather and how they operate, and further enhanced my love for the weather. Our atmosphere can do truly extraordinary things. The book has even left me contemplating traveling to America later in the year to go storm chasing. It’s expensive, but I just want, I need, to see one of these things up close.
Reed also features in the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers. If you’ve never seen it take a look at this YouTube clip. It’s just the opening titles, but it’s still exciting.