Storm Warning: The Story of a Killer Tornado

Nancy Mathis, Author . Touchstone $24 (237p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8053-2

On May 3, 1999, a series of 71 tornadoes blasted Oklahoma. The biggest of them all spanned a mile—making it the largest in recorded history—and delivered ground-level winds of over 300 mph. In her exhaustively researched book, journalist Mathis brings the Tornado Alley calamity to life. A native Sooner who spent many hours crouching in fear in her grandmother's root cellar, Mathis has a visceral connection to the region and its heavy weather that she supplements with the expert use of interviews and historical research. Mathis introduces readers to the slow development of weather science, to the families of the victims and to such unique individuals as Tetsuya Fujita and his Fujita Scale for measuring tornado strength. Although her initial, century-spanning onslaught of science and characters can be overwhelming, the story lines eventually coalesce, and by the time the tornadoes touch down on or near Oklahoma City, the reader is engrossed. In an era of Weather Channel "Torn Porn," tornado chasers and even "tornado tours" at $3,000 per person, Mathis has written a book that helps readers locate the story behind the spectacle. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4165-3921-6
Paperback - 237 pages - 978-0-7432-9660-1
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