Freaks of the Storm: From Flying Cows to Stealing Thunder: The World's Strangest True Weather Stories

Randy Cerveny, Author . Thunder's Mouth $16.95 (371p) ISBN 978-1-56025-801-8

Fish falling from the sky. Tornadoes plucking chickens. Lightning welding an unfortunate soldier into his sleeping bag when it struck the zipper. Weather is not only powerful and dangerous (as we've seen all too clearly of late) but just plain strange. This compendium of the weird drawn from climatologist Cerveny's database describes over 500 incidents, from lightning strikes to hurricanes, blizzards to dust devils. Cerveny groups the incidents by type of weather and then by type of occurrence. He gleefully jumps from the past (lightning burning the rings of six gold coins into the skin of a 19th-century victim) to the present (a young woman temporarily blinded when lightning struck her tongue stud), with little attempt to explain how weather works. This book is good for a quick read in a spare moment, but without any narrative to drive it, it turns into a mind-numbing procession of bizarre facts. But bring on tales of cross-shaped hail and a heat wave that roasted a town from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees in a matter of minutes: Cerveny is here to remind us that if you need something interesting to discuss, you can indeed just talk about the weather. Agent, Andrée Abecassis. (Jan. 9)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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