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Lightning, Hurricanes, and Blizzards: The Science of Storms (Weatherwise)

Lightning, Hurricanes, and Blizzards: The Science of Storms (Weatherwise)

By: Paul Fleisher
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: September 2010
ISBN: 978-0822575368
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010

Around the world people experience many different kinds of weather. Some of the weather people experience can be extreme while other weather events such as mild rainstorms can be useful and life giving. With advances in technology, scientists are better prepared to predict severe weather than they ever have been. For example, people who live in areas where hurricanes occur are able to evacuate early because advances in technology let meteorologists predict these storms several days in advance of landfall. One thing you may not realize is that “a storm’s energy comes from the sun’s heat.” In order to understand how storms develop we need to look at the “four Cs: convection, condensation, convergence, and the Coriolis effect.”

After you read about the four Cs, you will get a crash course in many facets of natural phenomenon that create weather you see or hear about. Examples of such phenomenon include air pressure, air masses, fronts (warm, cold, occluded, and stationary), zones, the thermal, currents, and you’ll learn several other interesting facts that will help you understand how weather works. Once you have a basic understanding of these concepts, you’ll be able to take a closer look at lightning, hurricanes, and blizzards. This book also gives you a glimpse at ice storms, dust storms, sand storms, dust devils, and water spouts. Did you know that there was a massive sandstorm in 2001 that “covered an area larger than the state of California?” You’ll just have to read the book to find out where it was.

Thunderstorms are storms that many young people have experienced, but may know little about. A careful look at exactly how these storms form and many interesting facts about them make for a very fascinating read. After learning about how these storms are produced you’ll learn about lightning. For example, one very interesting fact is that “Lighting bolts seem to strike in an instant. But they actually move in steps.” They give off “tremendous heat” and the air in a lightning channel can reach an unfathomable 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This entire process is spelled right out in language you can understand. Similarly, you will learn fascinating facts about tornados, hurricanes and blizzards.

This book will excite the young student who is fascinated by weather phenomenon and wants to know more about it. The writing was very clear, concise, and easy for the average student to understand without dumbing down any of the concepts. What I especially liked were the diagrams that accompanied the discussion of certain topics. For example, when lightning bolts were discussed, a three-stage diagram showed the process of a stepped leader and illustrates how a flash of lighting is created. The material is presented in such a way that it is almost exciting to read about and learn how storms are formed. There are numerous informative sidebars scattered throughout the book that add a lot to the text. The student can read detailed information about such things as the Fujita Scale, the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale, and the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: This is one of four in the “Weatherwise” series, an amazing series that parents, educators, and librarians should consider adding to their shelves!

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